Heating and cooling a commercial facility can be quite expensive. The same can be said for some of the larger homes. According to the General Services Administration (GSA) heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) use 34% of all electricity used in a commercial office building. But switching to a more efficient system can help reduce energy consumption, and therefore, energy costs.
A multi VRF system is one of the most energy efficient HVAC systems around today. Developed by a Japanese company in the 1980s, multi VRF systems are the go-to HVAC systems in many parts of Asia and Europe. They are becoming more common in the United States as word spreads of how energy efficient they are, but still only account for a small percentage of commercial HVAC systems..
As far as energy efficiency goes, the GSA commissioned a study that found that retrofitting a building with a multi VRF system would result in a projected 34% cost savings when compared to an older code-compliant HVAC system. The same GSA report indicated that buildings between 10,000 and 80,000 sq. ft. had the biggest potential cost savings.
A multi VRF system is a great upgrade when you’re replacing an HVAC system, and is also highly suitable for new construction. Ambient Edge installs multi VRF systems in large facilities, and the smaller mini VRF systems in smaller businesses and large homes.
How a Multi VRF System Works
VRF stands for variable refrigerant flow. These systems are all electric, and use heat pumps, an outdoor compressor unit, and multiple indoor fan coil units (evaporators) to heat and cool your facility simultaneously. A multi VRF system with heat recovery is the most energy efficient system, and the one that allows you to heat and cool at the same time. VRF systems can also help your building become LEED certified.
This simultaneous heating and cooling capability is especially important for:
- Office buildings
- Multi family dwellings
- Manufacturing plants
- Data centers
- Educational facilities
- Any location that needs to heat and cool different zones with one system
Standard HVAC systems heat or cool via a constant flow of refrigerant. But multi VRF systems send a variable flow of refrigerant to evaporators in different spaces. This is because each indoor evaporator can be separately controlled. Thus, you can heat office space, while cooling your data center, all with one HVAC system. Or each guest in a hotel can control whether they want to heat or cool, depending on their comfort level.
Multi VRF systems also provide you with the capability to control all of the individual control units from a central control unit. This enables a facilities manager, for instance, to monitor temperatures in all areas of the building, and adjust as needed. The multi VRF system is also compatible with building automation systems.
Arizona Energy Efficiency Programs
There are several programs in Arizona that offer financial incentives, loans, rebates, and discounts to businesses and residents who become energy efficient. They offer free or low-cost energy audits and help you implement energy efficient technology. Some even offer grants and loans to help you make energy efficiency upgrades. Energy savings can be even larger if you use renewable energy as part of your HVAC system.
You can find a full list of these programs at the Arizona page in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. They also list federal programs.
Higher Initial Cost with Future Cost Savings
If you determine that a multi VRF system may be appropriate for your building, you should know that the initial cost to install a VRF system will be higher than installing a traditional HVAC system. This is mainly due to the complexity of the system. These are complex refrigeration systems that can have thousands of feet of pipe, and hundreds of joints. Quality installation is a must.
But remember that figure from the GSA. In some cases, you could see an immediate savings of 34% on your total energy costs. You will of course have to run the numbers to see if a multi VRF system makes sense for your location.
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Get a FREE Quote on a Multi VRF System
If you’re replacing your HVAC system or have a new construction project, and you’re interested in energy efficiency, a multi VRF system may be a good fit. Call Ambient Edge at (888) 628-5890 to set up a consultation. A site visit may be required. Once we know the size and scope of your project, we’ll be able to provide you with an accurate quote.