What is a VRF?
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) systems are typically all-electric systems that use air or water source heat pumps to provide space heating and/or cooling to a building’s spaces. VRF systems can condition multiple zones in a building, each of which may have different heating and cooling needs. Using sophisticated control technologies, VRF systems have the ability to modulate the amount of refrigerant sent to each zone independently and in tune with diverse and changing space conditioning loads, thereby increasing energy savings. VRF systems use refrigerant to move heat throughout a building (as opposed to water or air), which allows them to use energy more efficiently.
When Do You Use a VRF?
Heat pump systems are used in restaurants, lobby areas, clubhouses, or religious facilities where there is a defined cooling or heating mode of operation. All indoor units will operate in either cooling or heating mode (non-simultaneous).
Heat pump systems with heat recovery are used in historical buildings, schools, office buildings, assisted living facilities, hotels, banks, and other commercial buildings where simultaneous cooling and heating is a design requirement.
What Are the Advantages of This Technology?
- Increased energy efficiency and energy savings, for an average of 20% to 30% energy savings relative to variable air volume systems with reheat and constant air volume systems with gas heat
- Very good part-load performance due to inverter-duty variable-speed compressors modulating the capacity from 10% to 100%
- Good zoning control, providing simultaneous cooling and heating with heat recovery
- Reduced ductwork and duct losses are confined to the ventilation air system (approximately 20% of the conventional HVAC system).
However, when using VRF technology, you also need to be aware of the need for a dedicated ventilation system to dliver the outside air to various zones. Also, long refrigerant lines and a large number of branch connections could result in refrigerant leakage, while the need for condensate drain lines for each VRF indoor unit is definitely necessary. On occasion, use of supplemental heat may be required for a quick warm-up. Our experts at AAP will be able to assist you with any questions you have about our products and will get you the exact technology you need for any application.
To learn more about the VRF products Associated Air Products offers, check out our Lennox VRF line.