Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology is increasingly popular for air conditioning applications. The technology works by adding an air conditioning inverter to the compressor driving refrigerant around the system. The rate of refrigerant flow around the system can then be varied, providing more or less cooling as required. You may be familiar with this technology under the name Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) which is a trademarked name belonging to leading manufacturer Daikin.
In VRF zoning, instead of using a single compressor and invertor for a whole building, different areas (or “zones”) within the building are served by individual units. This means the temperature of each zone can be controlled individually. This approach has a number of significant advantages.
With a traditional air conditioning system you have two options – either it is working at full capacity or it is off entirely. This means it will cool your space to the desired temperature, then turn off. Then, when the temperature rises above a pre-determined acceptable level, the AC will come back on. As a result, your air temperature constantly varies up and down and even slight changes can be noticeable and cause discomfort. This can also cause issues for equipment and processes where precise temperature levels must be maintained.
VRF air conditioning allows continuous cooling which can be adjusted very precisely. By varying the level of cooling up and down it is possible to maintain the temperature within a very narrow range, making this technology ideal for applications where reliability is the key requirement. Zoned VRF air conditioning allows you to easily provide different temperatures in different areas as required.
Because each zone has its own compressor and inverter, there is no need for extensive ducting to carry cooled air around the building. A single compressor and inverter designed to serve a whole building will usually be very large and take up a significant amount of space. VRF zoning sidesteps this issue reducing the amount of space needed for your air conditioning system.
Doing away with the need for extensive ducting and wiring through the building can make installation much cheaper. The smaller cooling units required for VRF zoning are also easier to install, reducing equipment and labour costs.
The biggest saving, however, comes from how energy efficient this approach is. Even standard VRF technology is much more energy efficient than traditional AC. This is because getting an air conditioning system started requires a huge surge of energy, so a system which must be constantly turned on and off wastes a lot of energy each time it comes back on. Because VRF zoning delivers cooled air directly to the space being conditioned, less energy is needed to compensate for any rise in temperature that occurs in transit between the compressor and the area being cooled. This can result in significant savings on energy bills, helping to make VRF zoning a highly cost-effective option.
Total Environmental Kooling are one of the UK’s top air conditioning installation companies, having working with high-profile clients across the country in a range of industries. Our experience and expertise means we can always find the most appropriate solution for your needs and budget.
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