As green builders in Brooklyn we are always looking for small heating and cooling units for green, well insulated, brownstones. You don’t need something super large if the brownstone is built along the Eco Brooklyn lines. Just something to take the heat away during the couple days in August.
And because many of the good HVAC units also offer heat it becomes a realistic consideration for heating too. A well sealed brownstone really needs very little heating to stay warm in the cold winter months.
Here is an email from a fellow green builder that I thought was worth sharing. We actually just had this installed on one of our jobs this summer.
I’ve been hawking the Fujitsu RLQ mini-splits for years: they were 21
SEER long before anyone else was close, as far as I could see.
I went to pick one up the other day, and they gave me a different unit:
the RLQ’s had been “superceded”. I later panicked that they had
downgraded me to a low-SEER unit, to get rid of stock. Then I looked it
up when I got home.
Fujitsu now has the RLS line, rated at 25-26 SEER in small sizes. Holy
cow! 12 HSPF (heating efficiency). Both those numbers are very, very
good, for those not familiar.
The efficiency of mini-splits typically goes down with larger sizes, so
these are for the 9 and 12 kBtu sizes. The RLQ line was offered up to a
30 kBtu, dropping all the way down to a 15 SEER for the largest unit. I
don’t see anything bigger than 12 kBtu (one ton) in the RLS line.
Note: I don’t work for Fujitsu or anything, and I’ll actually note that there are some leakage problems the RLQ’s were susceptible to (condensate: the problem is they have a very shallow internal drain pan). Still, very solid units that operate (heat) all the way down to below 10F. No backup resistance heat offered or required.