A VRF system stands for a Variable Refrigerant Flow system. In short, it is a more sophisticated version of the HVAC system. According to Ferguson, the VRF technology “provides the ability for multiple indoor units or zones to operate on the same system.” It can “either be a heat pump system or a heat recovery system, which provides simultaneous heating and cooling.”
What is Variable Refrigerant Flow?
The term “variable refrigerant flow” refers to changing the flow of refrigerant to each indoor unit, according to JDB engineering. The VRF system distributes “the refrigerant instead of piping hot water and chilled water to each fan coil unit (FCU) or air handling unit (AHU),” according to Buildings.com.
It is able to capture heat absorbed from the air during the cooling process and redirects the heat to other parts of the facility that need the heat. For example, in a restaurant, the VRF system can collect the heat from the kitchen and distribute it to the dining area. Or an office building can have heat in the winter for cooler window offices and air conditioning in the central conference room for a large meeting.
In the energy industry, VRF is the latest and greatest technology in heating and cooling comfort, but it’s actually existed for decades. It has been the top choice for indoor heating and cooling in Europe, Japan, China, etc. In the past 10 years, VRF has steadily gained popularity in the U.S.
Advantages of VRF Systems
Some advantages of a VRF system, according to Arista, included:
- Consistent comfort
- Quiet operation
- Energy efficiency
- Installation flexibility, great for tight spaces
- Heat and cool simultaneously
- Zoned heating and cooling
- State-of-the-art controls
- Fewer breakdowns or less downtime
Is VRF Right For Your Business?
Some ideal places for installing a VRF system are restaurants, retail stores, office spaces and anywhere that requires customized heating and cooling over multiple zones, according to Arista.
VRF systems are actually pretty easy to install, because the equipment weighs less and requires less physical effort than a traditional HVAC system, according to Ferguson. If you are interested in learning more about the VRF system, feel free to contact our certified engineers at EnergyLink.