VRF Systems and their use in Commercial Buildings
A “VRF” (variable refrigerant flow) system is essentially a more sophisticated version of the existing multi-split HVAC systems used throughout the world today. These highly efficient units are typically all electric and use refrigerant to move heat throughout a building as opposed to water or air. This process allows them to utilize their energy much more efficiently.
Did you know that VRF systems can easily condition multiple zones in a building, even if those zones have different heating and cooling needs? Due to their ability to more accurately control each zone, these systems can effortlessly provide unparalleled temperature control.
VRF systems work by varying the amount of refrigerant flowing to a series of evaporation coils in a “common” refrigeration piping system. This means the system will allow for some evaporators to be in cooling mode while others are operating in heating mode at the same time. One of the many benefits of VRF technology is this key feature.
What Separates VRF Systems From Other Commercial HVAC Systems?
- Refrigerant only – Refrigerant is the only coolant material used in this system.
- Inverter compressors that lower power consumption with partial cooling/heating loads.
- Multiple air handlers (indoor units) that run on the same loop/circuit.
- Ability to offer modular expansion. This is especially true for large projects where growth is likely to occur in the future.
Keeping Your Building Comfortable On Every Level!
While the initial costs for VRF systems are an average of 5 to 20 percent over the cost for chilled water systems; a VRF system is generally 30 percent more efficient than comparable HVAC systems. It is also important to note that while the initial equipment cost is a bit higher, the installation cost is generally lower due to the two-pipe distribution system.
What exactly is a VRF system?
To understand the direct benefits of a VRF system our team at Air Dynamics has compiled a brief list noting a few key benefits to consider:
- Consistent comfort
- Quiet operation
- Energy efficiency
- Installation flexibility (great for tight spaces)
- Heats & cools simultaneously
- Zoned heating & cooling
- State-of-the-art controls
- Fewer breakdowns/less downtime
What does all that mean for you, your business and your comfort?
Benefits of VRF Systems for Commercial Buildings
1. Consistent Comfort
The experts at Air Dynamics note that the compressor unit of a VRF system works somewhat like the circulatory system in our bodies. It has the ability to accurately identify the requirements of each zoned area and in response will send the exact amount of refrigerant needed to meet the individual needs of each air handler. This ability to consistently provide precise flow effectively eliminates hot/cold spots while kicking humidity issues to the curb.
In turn, providing you and your employees with consistent comfort you can count on!
2. Quiet Operation
The condensing unit of a VRF system (usually the most noise bearing) is located on the outside of the building. While the quieter air handlers do their part inside; these air handlers are typically smaller than the ones often found with a large central unit & bulky ductwork. Translating to a quieter workspace and better productivity with fewer distractions.
3. Energy Efficiency
One of the most appealing benefits of switching to a VRF system is that it promotes energy efficiency. Due to the systems well-engineered design and ability to provide only the precise amount of refrigerant necessary to cool a room based on its individual needs. This allows the system to operate at a lower capacity and lessens the frequency in which it needs to run overall. Better yet is the forward-thinking design that allows VRF systems the ability to capture heat as part of the cooling process and then channel that same heat to other locations in the building, which may require heating.
4. Installation Flexibility
Since VRF systems use relatively small air handlers and do not normally require ducts there is no need to take up unnecessary ceiling space. Giving you greater installation flexibility and more options when choosing air handler locations. A professional from Air Dynamics can evaluate your space and help you determine what placement and type(s) best suit your building’s needs.
Take back your space!
VRF systems are touted for their compact & space-saving design. Meaning, there’s no longer a need to lose that valuable space to your building’s HVAC unit. Eliminating large distribution fans, bulky ductwork, hefty pipes and water pumps that are required by some of the other HVAC systems available today.
5. Heat & Cool Simultaneously
As we previously mentioned, one of the coolest features of a VRF system is that it can deliver heat to one room while simultaneously providing cooled air to another. Due to its specific engineered ability to capture the heat recovered from the cooling process rather than waste it. Instead, the unit is designed to redistribute that excess heat to an area of your building which may be needing it.
6. Smart Technology
Featuring a key combination of state-of-the-art controls & smart technology VRF systems are a clear no-brainer. Besides their ability to supply the proper flow of refrigerant to each air handler based on its individual operating conditions; a VRF system is able to track system conditions & provide maintenance alerts when they are needed. This monitoring capability means you will know exactly when it’s time to call in a pro from Air Dynamics to maintain or service your unit in order to continue to ensure it provides exceptional comfort time and time again.
Did you know… You can even use your smartphone or other mobile devices like your laptop or tablet to control the temperature settings of each of your zoned areas?
7. Fewer Breakdowns = Less Downtime
By far what Air Dynamics considers to be the biggest benefit of a VRF system is its reliability! As this type of system tends to break down less frequently than other more traditional HVAC units. Let’s face it, no one wants to be without air conditioning during those “dog days of summer” or without heat in the dead of winter. With the need to run only when needed VRF systems are putting a lot less stress on their parts when running under partial load conditions. Less stress on them means less stress on you too!
Don’t overlook the LG MULTI V5
If you own or manage a small office or business in PA or NJ and are keeping your fingers crossed that your AC system makes it through another summer or if you are currently experiencing less than optimal climate control conditions, a VRF system might just be the right solution! When it comes to providing consistent comfort, Air Dynamics highly recommends the LG MultiV 5.
As you may already be aware; LG VRF systems are specifically engineered to significantly reduce the costs associated with operating traditional HVAC systems. Allowing you to finally say goodbye to large ductwork, distribution fans, water pumps, water piping, cooling towers & complex controls. The ultimate goal of VRF technology is to continue to strive to virtually eliminate the high initial costs and headaches associated with traditional HVAC systems while lowering the overall long-term costs of ownership.
The Multi V IV is no exception to this standard as it aims to effectively eliminate efficiency losses experienced by most current HVAC systems while providing more sustainable energy benefits.
The LG Multi V 5 system can help building designers achieve as many as 16 LEED* points. According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC)
“LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement”.
A Stand Out Product
The LG Multi V IV clearly separates itself from the competition with a number of key features building owners, architects & commercial contractors are sure to appreciate. including:
- AHRI 1230 Certification – Multi V IV is performance-certified. This ensures building owners receive verified ratings that comply with national energy codes.
- Enhanced Energy Efficiency – A newer compressor design & optimized heat exchanger contribute to an enhanced AHRI certified efficiency of up to 28.2 IEER.
- LG Inverter Scroll – A high side shell innovation offers a more compact size while effortlessly providing the same capacity output and greater reliability.
- Low Ambient Heating – Heating operating range as low as -13F providing optimal comfort while saving on the unnecessary installation and operating costs of additional HVAC systems.
- HiPORTM – High-Pressure Oil Return removes efficiency losses & Smart Oil return eliminates timed oil recovery cycles.
- Higher Elevation Piping Distances – Go even further, building owners can reach zones that may be further away while still utilizing the same VRF unit with an enhanced reach of 131′ IDU to IDU.
- Compact and Lighter – More indoor zones, less outdoor space. When space or access is a top priority a VRF system is an easy choice. With its sleek design and space-saving capabilities, building owners could quickly see their savings add up… especially when it comes to larger projects.
Is a VRF System Right For Your Building?
Overall, VRF systems are a great choice for commercial building owners who are looking to save on energy costs without compromising on comfort. These highly efficient units offer the convenience of quiet, comfortable HVAC operation that will surely put money back into your wallet! If you are considering a VRF system for your business contact a professional from Air Dynamics today. Our pros will be happy to assist you in determining if a VRF system is the best choice for you and your structure.
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