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Oct 14th 2015

MEP Engineering Company Defines Variable Refrigerant Flow

What is Variable Refrigerant Flow?


Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services (MEP) design is critical for managing and operating any facility, including the variable refrigerant flow (VRF). VRF heating and air conditioning system is a specific type of HVAC system that uses one outdoor unit that connects to multiple units indoors. These indoor units are controlled by a thermostat in a variable flow mode while the outdoor unit supplies the refrigerant which allows for heating and cooling of individual spaces inside a building.

Utilizing the high efficiency of VRF systems, the cost of operations can be reduced; thus, VRF has been growing rapidly in popularity across the HVAC industry. As a top MEP Engineering Company, KMB Design Group uses our extensive engineering experience to design modifications to existing systems or add additional systems (including HVAC improvements) that will reduce energy usage and costs to operate a facility.

How VRF Works

With VRF HVAC systems, the compressor unit uses variable refrigerant flow and is controlled by a variable-speed drive. Also known as VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume), VRF uses refrigerant as both the cooling and heating medium which allows one outdoor condensing unit to be connected to multiple indoor fan-coil units. Each unit is individually controllable, while modulating the amount of refrigerant being sent to each evaporator. By operating at a variety of speeds, VRF units work only at the needed rate allowing for substantial energy savings at partial-load conditions.

Six Benefits of Variable Refrigerant Flow System

VRF systems are a good option for buildings with varying loads and with different zones (hotels, schools, office buildings, etc). They offer an energy efficient solution (giving points toward LEED certifications) that provides a considerable amount of flexibility. Below are even more great benefits of a variable refrigerant flow system:

1. Energy Efficient
VRF systems greatly reduce (some cases- eliminate) the amount of duct needed to condition a space; therefore, energy losses are reduced.

2. Heat Recovery
Heat recovery systems can be very energy efficient. According to ASHRAE, on average, VRF systems perform at a 25% higher efficiency than conventional systems.

3. Achieve Green Certifications
The efficiency of VRF systems can also help buildings achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Green Building or even ENERGY STAR certifications.

4. Space Savings
Minimal space is required. Because many indoor units can be networked to one outdoor unit, this results in a flexibility in design capabilities both inside and outside.

5. Light Weight
VRF systems are modular and have a lower profile than conventional systems; ideal for retrofit applications.

6. Control
These systems adapt to changes in load requirements quickly and are efficiently designed to meet very specific needs which increased the comfort control substantially.

Knowledgeable MEP Engineering Company

With so many factors to consider in the selection of an HVAC system, including VRF, it’s important to consult with the knowledgeable professionals at KMB. We have the experience and expertise to carefully evaluate your individual system capabilities to advise you on the best options. Contact KMB today to learn how we can put our MEP Engineering expertise to work on your next project. KMB Design Group: Providing success through Engineering excellence, teamwork and integrity.