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Customer Stories

VRF System Upgrade at CORE Fitness Studio

September 30, 2021

Project Highlights

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Industry: Commercial Real Estate

Products Used: Air Handling, Controls, Split Systems,

Services Used: Upgrading,

Topic: Optimal Comfort,


In the world of upscale fitness, a studio’s offerings and experience are equally vital to gaining and retaining clientele.

When CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree decided to relocate and build out a refurbished brownstone on the east side of Providence, Rhode Island they saw an opportunity to enhance the overall experience for their members. With humidity and temperature problems at previous locations, owner Denise Chakoian and her team knew they wanted to prioritize their HVAC system capabilities to provide a comfortable, high-end boutique studio experience.

Because of the many classes and amenities they offer in close proximity the ability to control the temperature and humidity of each zone independently and quickly was key. It was also important to have a clean look and feel so the studio’s design was fresh and modern.

“It’s not ideal to have an industrial dehumidifier in your classroom or an AC unit hanging out of your window,” says Tiffany Costa, CORE’s General Manager. “And it became a safety issue. We had condensation dripping down the walls as well as on the floors.”


Early in the process, CORE’s mechanical contractor, Coldmasters, knew that incorporating a VRF system was the ideal way to address these design challenges. Coldmasters has a long-standing relationship with the local Trane office, built over years of collaborative projects; but they’ve also come to trust Trane® / Mitsubishi Electric VRF equipment and regard it as the best product in the market when it comes to quality and ease of installation.

“The Trane® / Mitsubishi Electric VRF system is always our first choice,” says Tony Grillo, Coldmasters Field Supervisor. “We have very minimal issues and if there are any, Trane is only a phone call away.”

Coldmasters installed an HVAC package built around a CITY MULTI® Heat Recovery System to provide simultaneous heating and cooling, giving CORE the flexibility it needs.

The system offers extended operating temperature ranges — ideal for the cold northeastern winters — while operating at ultra-quiet noise levels — a must for CORE.

Four-way ceiling cassettes, which can be located in the middle of a room to provide air flow in multiple directions, were used because of their slim, minimalistic design that allowed more room for soundproofing, and paired nicely with CORE’s ceilings, lighting, and overall design.

Control and Efficiency
For CORE, VRF was by far the most cost-effective way to provide the zoned control they needed. Previously, instructors would come into a room right before a class and turn the air conditioning up as far as it would go. Not only was their previous system slow to react, but it also wasn’t a very efficient use of energy.

With the VRF system, CORE management is able to pre-program the climate for all of their rooms, which is vital for a business built on a complex schedule and rooms that turn over frequently.

Without traditional HVAC ductwork, CORE also had more control over the aesthetic of their studio, keeping a cleaner look. Because this VRF system requires less overhead space, they were able to include a stadium-style spin room without any building code issues while maintaining high ceilings throughout the building.

Comfort and Flexibility
Maintaining an optimal indoor climate isn’t easy in a location like CORE’s, but the Trane® / Mitsubishi Electric VRF system is up to the challenge.

While aesthetically beautiful, Rhode Island brownstones don’t provide ideal building envelopes and Providence is known for hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters. Additionally, CORE wanted to be able to achieve and maintain precise conditions from room to room — creating an inviting environment in the lobby as customers enter from the frigid outdoors, while creating a comfortable climate of 68° F and 45% relative humidity in a busy group fitness studio.

“VRF was a great fit for CORE because one studio can be in heating and another studio that’s packed with people can be in cooling,” says Ben Dionne, Trane Ductless Technical Specialist. “Without any problems the system can do that. It’s what it’s designed to do.”

The system also makes it easy to quickly turn over a room, which is vital for a fitness studio that relies on a stacked and varied schedule to appeal to its customers.

“You ask it to do something and it does it in five minutes. Literally, if you ask it to be at 65, it will be at 65,” says Costa. “If we need changes, it can be done with the touch of a button.”


While providing a high-end experience is vital to the operation of CORE, ensuring the comfort of their customers and staff is equally important.

“It’s really just night and day,” Costa says about the climate in their new location. “Being able to provide that clean, fresh, comfortable air…it’s just been a different experience.”