The new Homewood Suites hotel in Brighton, MI, installed vertical terminal A/C units (VTAC/vertical PTAC) because they have the look and feel of residential systems. Additionally, each suite has individual guest temperature control, which is expected to reduce energy consumption for unoccupied units.

Brighton, MI is the newest location of a Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel Corporation. Homewood Suites is a national brand of an all-suite, residential-style hotel that caters to travelers who are on the road a few nights or longer.

The hotels feature spacious studios, one- and two-bedroom suites with amenities such as fully equipped kitchens and complimentary in-suite, high-speed Internet access. Guests have access to restaurants, shopping plazas, and a golf course, all within walking distance, which complements the resort-style concept. This location was chosen for the hotel because there is a high demand for an extended stay facility as the area boasts over 5,000 acres of woods, meadows, and lakes. This construction project is unique because the actual site is close to natural wetlands in the heart of Michigan. Special care had to be taken in grading and filling the area prior to construction to minimize its environmental footprint.


This construction commenced in August of 2005 and wrapped up this month. The 78,000-sq-ft, three-story building features 92 suites, with studio suites measuring 375 sq ft, and two-bedroom suites at 468 sq ft.

The HVAC system was specifically chosen for this project because the Hilton Hotel Corporation prefers vertical terminal A/C units (VTAC/vertical PTAC) since they have the look and feel of residential systems. Architect Ramsay Sadek of Design Engineering Group, LLC, chose Skymark's VTACs for the suites and a Reznor makeup air system for the common areas. Sadek noted that when he chooses an HVAC system, the most critical considerations are energy efficiency and performance of units based on previous installations. Moreover, since the building is a wooden structure, the use of a roof-mounted central A/C system was neither practical nor cost effective. Sadek compared a traditional console type, window air conditioner, with a newer VTAC system.

"With a traditional system you'd run into the problem of hot and cold spots in the suite and furniture has to be placed strategically as not to be in front of the unit ... traditionally most units are placed by a window (and) you often have curtains blowing from the air movement," he said.

"I've found the VTAC has directional (ducting) capabilities which reduce hot and cold spots in the room and with the closet installation you have a lot more flexibility when placing furniture." Sadek also said that the VTAC unit is less intrusive on the architectural design than outdoor equipment. According to Sadek, he was able to strategically place over 95% of the grilles on the wing walls of the building instead of the front.


Since each VTAC unit arriving at the jobsite from Skymark is pre-piped, pre-charged, and tested, the contractor does not need to trouble himself with labor intensive installation of refrigerant line sets, pump downs, refrigerant fills, or the logistics required to move large equipment. This is one feature that impressed Mickey McEnvoy of Liberty Total Comfort Systems, the project's mechanical contractor. McEnvoy pointed out, "I like this product [VTAC units] because it's quiet and I'm very satisfied with the design [installation] ... what's nice, too, about these units is that they have a fresh air damper which meets the building code requirements."

The hotel owner, Malick Abdulnor, said the fact that since each suite has individual guest temperature control, he can reduce energy consumption for unoccupied units, resulting in lower utility bills, energy efficiency, and cost savings. He said that some other benefits of using an indoor self-contained system include, "there will be less wear and tear on the equipment from the elements, and less risk of vandalism. I'm also very pleased with the interior and exterior look."