VRF, or variable refrigerant flow, is a global HVAC technology that is finally gaining increased utilization in the United States and it just may be the perfect choice when a facility is looking for an energy efficient HVAC system. In fact, because of the way it functions, it has been shown to be 30 percent more efficient than traditional technology systems.
In simple terms, a VRF system consists of an outdoor unit and refrigerant piping that connects to each zone. The amount of refrigerant within each pipe can be independently controlled, so each space always has the perfect amount of heating or cooling energy to meet the customer’s thermal needs. That being said, VRF is not the best solution for every situation. Because of this fact, there are four signs that you need to look for as an HVAC contractor to know if VRF is the best choice for your customer.
They Want Different Areas Heated and Cooled at the Same Time
One of the strongest arguments for VRF technology is its Heat Recovery capabilities. Heat Recovery VRF can heat and cool simultaneously and control each zoned area independently. This literally means that one system can heat certain areas while cooling others within interconnected piping. This makes it the perfect choice if your customer has a building that requires heating in one area (like the offices on the exterior of a building in winter) and cooling in another area (like the production line)—traditional HVAC systems just cannot do this.
Their Building Has Continual Temperature Fluctuations
VRF’s technological advantage lies in the inverter compressor and its ability to modulate the flow of refrigerant throughout the system. So, instead of having to turn the compressor on and off like a standard HVAC system, which could constantly be chasing temperature fluctuations, the VRF compressor can instantly adjust its speed to meet current demands. This technology will help keep energy expenses low even while the building temperature changes rapidly, making it the ideal option for buildings with changing temperatures.
They Want to Reduce Their Total Cost to Own
Even though a VRF system has the potential to cost more upfront, its extreme efficiency and minimal required maintenance results in a lower lifetime cost of ownership versus a standard HVAC system. Remember, it can decrease energy usage by 30 percent, which equates to huge savings over time.
They Need an HVAC System with a Minimal Footprint and Ultimate Flexibility
Additional strengths of VRF systems are the size and modularity of the outdoor units, as well as, the relative small size of the refrigerant piping utilized for energy transfer. Unlike other HVAC technologies where outdoor equipment requires large amounts of roof or ground square footage, and large ductwork or larger piping is utilized for chilled water, VRF outdoor units require minimum amounts of rooftop or ground area. The systems can also be separated to maximize available space, unlike the one-size, non-modualar confines of traditional systems. These advantages make VRF systems an excellent choice for projects with very limited available outdoor or indoor square footage for HVAC equipment to reside.
When you are working with a new customer and trying to decipher which HVAC system is the best for their needs, keep these four signs in mind. If a customer indicates even one of these signs, then you can feel confident recommending a VRF system. To learn more, contact CE now.