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  • Lowered maintenance budget with VRF system
  • Reduced mechanical footprint and maintained structural integrity
  • Improved dormitory and learning center air conditions for of 334 students 
  • Boosted focus and concentration in the school
  • Simplified remote HVAC controls for buildings on campus


“I would not hesitate to recommend AMSI to any colleagues, they’ve been a pleasure to work with through and through”


On a sprawling landscape overlooking the Potomac River sits the Madeira School, a campus dedicated to preparing exceptional young girls for secondary education and overall success. The school relocated from Washington D.C. where it was founded in 1906 to Mclean, Virginia in 1931, where it has endured for over 90 years. 

The current campus has several original buildings still in use, including the main schoolhouse, multiple dormitories, and a dining hall. In 1954 a sum of land was donated to Madeira and new structures were built for a chapel, gymnasium, and dedicated library. Multiple buildings from different eras with varying heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technologies makes managing this property  a unique challenge for Director of Facilities, Jim Pollack. When Madeira needed to update the HVAC systems for several buildings on campus, he found Anderson Mechanical Services was the team to get the job done right.


The dormitories at the Madeira School are some of the oldest structures on campus, and while they needed renovation after nearly 100 years of use they also had to maintain their historic framework when all was said and done. The preexisting HVAC network was a mix of traditional duct systems and window units that gave varied temperature results in each room. 

The school would hear complaints from students and teachers alike about the lack of predictable air conditioning, and in many cases the problematic temperature would disrupt the students ability to effectively learn. The old system was also prone to failures and left the students without adequate air comfort when they needed it most.

Jim and the Madeira team decided something finally had to be done and began to research the best HVAC system for the historical school. After careful consideration they decided the innovative Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology would be the perfect HVAC system to give highly customizable temperature control to the old building while minimizing the mechanical footprint of the machinery involved.

During the renovation project  several companies who were initially contracted began to perform their VRF work inconsistently and not up to standard. In some cases, the HVAC companies went out of business and vanished from the job site altogether, leaving Jim in a difficult spot to get the project completed on time. 

He pivoted his search to an HVAC company that specialized in variable refrigerant flow technologies, betting the extra technical prowess necessary to work on the system would garner him a more sophisticated and easier contractor to work with. Mr Pollack learned about Anderson Mechanical through an industry colleague’s personal referral  and found them to ultimately be the perfect fit to work at the Madeira School.


Mr Pollack connected with AMSI and after learning of their expertise in VRF decided they were the team for the job. 

With the renovation requiring a more consistent contractor, Jim hired AMSI to finish the VRF installation and perform the preventive maintenance service going forward. Now the Madeira School and Anderson Mechanical Services Inc. are in contact at least once per month regarding the school’s multiple VRF units, technical dehumidifiers, and overall building management systems that control most aspects of the campus’s electrical configuration. 

Anderson Mechanical Services Inc. stepped in and completed the VRF retrofit for multiple buildings on campus that were being remodeled at different times. They were able to confidently manage the project, which had proved difficult for other less qualified  contractors, while meeting contract deadlines and budgetary limitations. 

AMSI sent technicians who had deep experience with the specific model and manufacturer of the VRF and humidifier units that were installed. This helped minimize start-up times, avoid confusion, and expedited any trouble shooting. It was an added bonus that the techs were able to confidently educate Jim and the Madeira staff on how to best use the devices.  

When asked if anyone on the AMSI team stood out, he said, “Bill the Field Tech does – his knowledge and professionalism specifically. He helped diagnose a problem with our pumps and was able to troubleshoot it in a timely manner and get it back up quickly.” 

In Bill’s mind, the highlight of working with Anderson Mechanical Services Inc. is the ease of communication and scheduling of service as well as the professionalism and quality of service. Now Jim can’t imagine working with any other HVAC contractor other than AMSI, and both entities look forward to a continued partnership for many years to come. 


After the Anderson Mechanical team completed the project there was an immediate sense of improvement in the Madeira School buildings’ function of their mechanical systems. 

Most thankful for the new HVAC outfitting in the classrooms, dormitories, gym, and theater are the students. Now that a mess of contractors are out of their learning areas and living spaces they can feel more comfortable to do what they came to Madeira for – to learn and grow in a comfortable environment.

The optimized system will greatly help save the school on air conditioning costs. VRF technology is known to eliminate up to 30% of waste that can often be lost through duct HVAC systems. For Jim, the icing on the cake was the future reduced repair and maintenance costs attributed to the newer, more efficient technology. 

The Madeira School now has a simplified and easy to manage heating, ventilation, and air conditioning structure, making life easier for facility  manager Jim Pollack and his staff. Now they are able to adjust and set climate controls for individual zones and rooms, making climate management 2nd nature, and not a first degree problem. Their VRF HVAC units are fully integrated with their building management system which is used for several other electrical systems including lighting, fire, and security systems. 

It is safe to say that a substantial amount of energy costs will be saved with the more optimal VRF ductless system compared to the previous outfit. Factoring in reduced maintenance costs and regular inspection and repair from Anderson Mechanical Services Inc. that will add many years of additional service life to the new system For Mr. Pollack this will lead to many stress-free years ahead of him at Madeira.

If you’re looking for a seamless working experience with an educated and tested HVAC contractor who specializes in VRF and VRV technology, look no further than Anderson Mechanical Services Inc. We’re available 365 days a year to help you and your tenants when you need it most. Call us at 703-404-0303 or contact us here to get a quote or ask questions today!

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