There are a lot of abbreviations when it comes to the concept of air in the healthy home.
HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning). IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). And then there’s VRF, a lesser known abridgement that’s just as key to providing homes with the best air and highest energy efficiency possible.
VRF stands for Variable Refrigerant Flow, a key concept in HVAC systems and something that is a crucial component of the Healthy Home mindset. It embraces the powers of renewable energy and greatly diminishes costs for builders and homeowners.
The technology has grown in the United States over the past few years after proving to be a popular HVAC option in Europe, Japan and China. It will likely integrate itself more into the industry as we move further into the TecHome’s future and healthier homes are increasingly in demand.
What is VRF?
First and foremost, what exactly is this technology?
In simple terms, VRF technology uses refrigerant to heat and cool respective systems. This refrigerant is conditioned by a single outdoor condensing unit and is circulated within the building to multiple fan-coil units (FCUs). These two major parts (condensing unit and FCUs) drive the entire system.
These systems operate on something different than a typical on/off platform.
By operating at fluctuating speeds, VRF units work only at the rate necessary to allow for substantial energy savings.
All of this allows for better management of clients’ indoor air climate and comfort.
How Does VRF Benefit Builders?
VRF systems have many benefits to help builders save money, conserve energy and construct healthier homes.
For one, these systems are often able to sync up with home automation platforms, and many of these products even work with their own uniquely integrated controls. VRF systems also include self-diagnostics and monitoring points, as well as the ability to communicate with other building systems.
These aspects create ease for the user and builder. Also, with the growing trends in home automation, the ability to integrate technologies such as this into various platforms is key.
It’s also a great way to save money. According to a recent report from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, VRF systems “can achieve 30 percent and higher HVAC energy cost savings relative to minimally code conventional compliant systems, or older inefficient systems and a range of building types.”
And once these systems are installed, the energy savings cut down on bills as well. According to the same report, an energy savings of up to 55 percent is predicted over comparable unitary equipment.
Many major brands—such as Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Toshiba, LG and Samsung—have already dived into the VRF industry. So, when installing HVAC systems, especially for the first time, builders should explore the options offered by these technologies.
When it comes to the healthy home, three letters can make all the difference.