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PROJECTS : Chai-jai , Royal Batoo , Shuhul Motors

A new kind of HVAC system is emerging in the World commercial building space conditioning market. This new system utilizes variable refrigerant flow (VRF) or variable refrigerant volume (VRV) technology and uses an evolved heat-pump technology with heat recovery systems and sub-cooling built in, which increases effectiveness and efficiency. The use of this evolved technology makes these systems a good option for certain kinds of commercial construction projects that require high levels of flexibility when it comes to occupant comfort or for retrofit projects. There are many considerations that are important when designing the project, selecting the insulation materials and methods, estimating the project, buying the materials, and planning labor requirements.

Multi-type ductless split systems and VRF/VRV systems have been around for almost 1 decade, we engineers at Continental Heating & Air Conditioning Systems have become familiar with the technology, and  of its energy-efficiency advantages, it has become a more popular option. Market forecasts predict the growth of these kinds of HVAC systems to be as much as 230% from 2013 through 2020. This means more mechanical insulation contractors will be asked to provide pricing and insulation services for these systems as they appear on projects.The only disadvantage it has that it does not work efficiently in sub zero temperatures.

What Are They?

A quick review of air-conditioning principles might be useful in describing multi-type ductless split systems and VRF/VRV technology—the most basic principle being that air conditioning removes heat from the space to be cooled by pushing refrigerant through a cycle. HVAC systems are based on the fluid dynamics that when a refrigerant expands, it becomes cooler; and when it is compressed, it becomes warmer. Changing phases from fluid to gas, or from gas to a fluid, adds to the cooling/warming effect. The cycle is comprised of 4 elements common to all HVAC systems: a compressor, a condensing unit, a metering device (or expansion valve), and an evaporator or heat sink.

VRF/VRV systems are typically distributed systems—the outdoor unit is kept at a location such as the top of the building, and all the evaporator units are installed at various locations inside the building. Typically the refrigerant pipe work (liquid and suction lines) is very long, running in several hundreds of feet in length for large multi-story buildings. This is different from typical split-system or package-unit HVAC systems that have short piping runs to an evaporator coil, and extensive duct runs to convey the cooled or warmed air throughout the occupied spaces.

VRF/VRV systems are also particularly suitable for retrofitting historical buildings without disturbing the structure, or for older buildings with no air conditioning—if operable windows are present and meet code requirements for ventilation. As the condensing units are normally placed outdoors, a machine room is not necessary.


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