NAHB Best In American Living - Winter 2018 - v2 - 5
QUICK FACTS ABOUT VRF
◾ Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) zoning is a method of
providing precise comfort control to buildings with multiple
floors and areas by moving refrigerant through piping to
the zone to be cooled or heated. VRF zoning systems are the
fastest growing segment of the U.S. HVAC market.
◾ VRF systems were introduced in Japan more than 20
years ago. VRF technology was implemented in European
markets in 1987, but the technology has only become
popular in the United States over the past five to 10 years.
◾ VRF HVAC systems use less energy for several reasons.
The system is designed to provide exactly the amount of
cooling needed for the current conditions, which means
it runs less frequently and at a lower capacity. The system
can also capture heat from the cooling process and reuse it
in other areas that may need heating.
◾ VRF zoning systems can simultaneously cool some zones
while heating others, regardless of season, outdoor
temperatures, or time of day.
Placement of the VRF condensing units in the
parking garages allowed the developer to retain
landscaping of the pool, lake, and green spaces.
delivery to the units. As a result, the apartment units look the
same inside as they would with standard HVAC units.
Outside, the immediate visual difference for residents comes
in the VRF condensing units, which are located in the parking
garages. This allowed the developer to retain the landscaping
of the pool, lake, and green spaces, which would otherwise be
interrupted by the condensers.
Outdoors, the VRF units also are remarkably quiet, so residents don't have to hear them while enjoying the property's
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◾ One of the biggest benefits of a VRF system is that it tends
to break down less frequently. VRF systems have one of the
lowest life cycle costs of any system on the market, while
providing easy design, installation, and maintenance.
amenities. Indoors, Discovery's VRF system, manufactured by
LG, provides consistent air temperature while being virtually
silent and easily programmable, according to residents. It also
provides for individual tenant billing, with a monthly spreadsheet that breaks down energy usage by apartment.
"We have essentially taken the HVAC system out of sight and
off the minds of residents, which is what we wanted to do,"
Collaboration was crucial to the success of the project, Bright
◾ VRF zoning systems can help multifamily buildings achieve
certification from various green-building programs. The
systems are energy efficient and have a system in place to
measure energy usage through the controls network.