Élan Hotel

Élan Hotel

“Mitsubishi Electric offers great pricing for what they deliver.”

Project Location: Los Angeles, California
Completion Date: September 2010

Selecting a super-quiet, efficient HVAC system to ensure true comfort for hotel guests in an eco-friendly environment

Mitsubishi Electric VRF and Lossnay ERVs

Easy operation and reduced utility bills

The Élan Hotel (Élan), a part of the Greystone Hotel family, is consistently ranked as one of the top five hotels in Los Angeles. Guests rave about its personal touches and modern look, as well as the comfort they experience relaxing after a long day of shopping in all of the nearby stores. For years, though, the hotel experienced comfort issues that challenged its ability to provide a truly extraordinary stay for every guest. Those issues were solved by installing a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system from Mitsubishi Electric.

Élan opened in 2000—a process that converted an old retirement home into a two-story, 20,118-squarefoot boutique hotel with 49 guest rooms, an oversize lobby, a conference room and several other departments. As the hotel’s general manager, William Rabanalez oversees the day-to-day operations across all these spaces, and is responsible for preventative maintenance. Or, as he said, “My job is to make sure all our guests are happy.”

Unfortunately, some guests were not happy. The previous HVAC system— four Carrier packaged rooftop units—wasn’t meeting the hotel’s needs. “The system didn’t allow for room control. We had maybe five rooms per zone, so there was no flexibility from room to room. We’re also dedicated to sustainability and green initiatives, so we wanted something that was a better fit,” said Rabanalez.

There was one other big problem: noise. Randy Scholnick remembers it well. As the Sales & Products Manager of Sirius Mechanical, Inc., Moreno Valley, California – a Diamond Contractor™—Scholnick was called in to design and build the hotel’s new HVAC system. He said, “The Carrier units were not efficient and they were noisy. Part of the noise issue was that they had been installed improperly with no vibration isolation. The rooms directly below those units—people complained and the rooms couldn’t be rented. It was a real emergency issue. The hotel was losing revenue. So they needed two things: a quieter solution—whatever goes on the roof has to be practically silent—and something more efficient.”

Scholnick had previously done a number of Mitsubishi Electric VRF installations and thought it might be a good fit for Élan. “Obviously you need heat recovery in a hotel, so that brings you to VRF. And then Mitsubishi Electric is a true two-pipe system. Plus Mitsubishi Electric systems just do what they’re supposed to do. They’re efficient and quiet, and you get such good diagnostics. William said he wanted something that’s trouble free and that will diagnose itself. Well, that’s CITY MULTI®.”

He continued, “With Mitsubishi Electric, the people are also great. We work with US Air Conditioning Distributors and they’re good to work with. They go out of the way to get us what we need.”

Élan Hotel Case Study image

Such a strong recommendation caught Rabanalez’s attention, and he was curious to explore further. He said, “Sirius Mechanical provided us references at other properties, including hotels that had used Mitsubishi Electric VRF. We reached out. We heard really good things— low noise, high energy efficiency, reduced impact on the environment and minimal maintenance. Also, very importantly, Mitsubishi Electric VRF would provide our rooms the flexibility we want. So if one room wants heat and another cooling, we could offer that. Picture if Room 101 wants it to be 65 degrees and Room 102 wants 85 degrees. We see this all the time; we have a guest from New York who likes it refrigerator-cold.”

With the system selected, installation began. The team installed new units for the second floor first, since that was the problem area. Then, they installed new units for the first floor. The ability to split the installation in half reduced any disruption to business. The team also installed three Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilators. Scholnick said, “The rooms were not smelling good over time. We ducted from each Lossnay to get fresh air in through each one-way [ceiling-recessed cassette indoor unit]. We then did a return duct in each room back to the Lossnay core. It worked well, and it’s all programmable now through the centralized controller—so we’re doing things like monitoring and making adjustments.”

Since the installation, it’s been all good news. Rabanalez said, “The Mitsubishi Electric units have been a major improvement. They’ve by far exceeded our expectations, and they work really nicely for our property.” Part of that good fit is the ease of operating and managing the system. “The back office has control panels of all the HVAC units. We’re able to see every room’s unit. If a unit isn’t working, we’d see it right there. But we’ve had no major issues. And we’ve seen a reduction in our costs—about 10 percent. It’s a great product.”

Rabanalez was also pleased that Élan has received attention for its sustainability efforts. “We’re doing everything in our power to be efficient and eco-friendly. VRF helps in that. We also use LED lighting and recycle or donate everything not used by guests. I’m proud to say that we’re now certified California Green.”

The biggest reason Rabanalez is pleased with the system—his guests are finally comfortable. “We have loyal fans—so, repeat guests who have been staying with us since the beginning. They saw the change when we went to VRF. They now have control of their room. We’ve received very positive feedback.”


Project Team

  • Owner, Manager: Greystone Hospitality, San Francisco, California
  • HVAC Contractor: Sirius Mechanical, Inc., Moreno Valley, California
  • Distributor: US Air Conditioning Distributors, City of Industry, California

Equipment Installed

  • (4) PURY R2-Series Outdoor Units
  • (1) PLFY 4-Way Ceiling-recessed Cassette Indoor Unit
  • (51) PMFY 1-Way Ceiling-recessed Cassette Indoor Units
  • (3) LGH Lossnay Energy Recovery Ventilators