In 2015, D.R. Horton announced their plans to move to a larger home office in Arlington, Texas. Now, the country’s largest homebuilder is only a few months away from opening the doors. With this project, D.R. Horton set out to build a huge, highly efficient space that would give their corporate staff a comfortable environment that evokes productivity. They partnered with a top engineer and contractor to design and install an extremely energy-efficient HVAC system utilizing Toshiba Carrier VRF systems, and their team of 500 employees is sure to be impressed with the outcome. Read more
From January 30 to February 1, 2017, the AHR Expo took place in Las Vegas. We attended as representatives of Carrier, and the event was an astounding success. The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerating Exposition is known in the industry as the HVACR event to attend, and it has been taking place annually for 85 years. HVAC professionals representing every single state in the USA, as well as 150 countries, gather to trade ideas, show off new technologies, and garner new business. This year was the biggest AHR Expo yet, with over 2,000 exhibits covering over 50,000 square feet, and nearly 70,000 people in attendance. Read more
If you’re involved in commercial building management or HVAC sales and service, then you’ve most likely heard the term variable refrigerant flow, or VRF. VRF HVAC systems are becoming increasingly popular around the world due to their ability to save energy. In the United States, VRF has only achieved four percent market penetration and is forecasted to grow rapidly in the coming years.
How does VRF work?
VRF systems provide heating and cooling simultaneously through refrigerant piping rather than ductwork. They are comprised of a compressor unit, typically located on the roof, and multiple indoor fan coil units. The system can recover cold air from spaces being heated for use in spaces being cooled and vice versa.
Why should commercial buildings choose VRF?
According to a General Services Administration (GSA) report, about 33% of commercial building energy usage in the United States is used in heating, cooling, and ventilation. When properly installed VRF systems can achieve 30% or higher HVAC energy cost savings (Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report). The systems are also ideal for space conscious buildings since the mechanical room needed is decreased with a rooftop unit and the air is distributed through half-inch piping inside the building rather than 12”+ ductwork.
A VRF system can provide much more than just energy savings. Buildings with VRF have a more even airflow distribution and even temperatures. This improves the overall experience for employees and visitors on property.
Is there ROI in VRF?
The initial costs of a VRF installation can vary from $16.50 to $33 per square foot of heated/cooled space. Most commercial buildings see a five digit savings on annual energy bills within the first year of installation. The systems also reduce maintenance costs as they have less components than traditional HVAC systems and are not as complex to trouble shoot.
What type of maintenance is needed in VRF systems?
VRF systems require much less maintenance than traditional HVAC units. Buildings who choose to use these energy efficient systems will need to perform occasional maintenance of the fan coil unit. This includes filter changes, cleaning of condensate removal systems, and the replacement of fan motors and coils.
As new efficiency regulations take effect in the United States, VRF’s energy saving features will make it the go-to system for commercial buildings. Contractors working in HVAC will require a basic knowledge of VRF systems and should work toward becoming fully trained or certified in VRF.