ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 6

INDUSTRY NEWS
U.S. Ranks 4th for VRF
Contributed by BSRIA Worldwide
Market Intelligence
BRACKNELL, BERKSHIRE, U.K.-The United
States is the fourth-biggest market
for variable refrigerant flow (VRF)
technology following China, Japan
and South Korea, according to
BSRIA World Air Conditioning Report
2021-102181, which was released
in April. Globally the VRF market
reached U.S. $12 billion in 2020,
with a contraction of 4% compared
to 2019 levels due to the impact of
COVID-19.
VRF traditionally has been
installed in light commercial and
medium-size projects up to 300 kW
(85 ton) capacity range. However,
in the last decade the increase of
mini-VRF sales (<20 kW [6 ton])
enabled its rapid penetration in the
residential market. As of 2020, 55%
of global VRF sales was comprised
of mini-VRF, by volume. This trend
is also seen in the U.S., where today
around 24% of VRF sales are for
residential applications.
The VRF market is a relatively
mature market in Asia and Europe,
but still relatively new in the
Americas and Middle East, India
and Africa.
In the Middle East, VRF units have
been taking market share from rooftop
units where they are traditionally
installed in residential villas.
In Asia and Europe, they have been
taking the market share from multisplits,
rooftops, ducted single splits
and scroll compressor chillers.
The U.S. market reached U.S.
$657 million in 2020 and has seen
6
significant growth in the last 10
years, with 19% growth in value
terms (compound annual growth
rate [CAGR]) between 2009 and
2019. In the U.S., VRF technology is
taking share from traditional U.S.
ducted units, packaged terminal
air conditioner and residential and
light commercial rooftops units,
but less so replacing scroll chillers,
due to the limited significance of
this market.
The global success of VRF products
can be attributed to factors
such as its energy efficiency, especially
at part load compared to conventional
HVAC systems; its flexibility
in zonal control, delivery of
simultaneous heating and cooling;
heat recovery and ease of installation
with no ductwork required.
However, initial capital cost could
be a deterring factor when it comes
to decision making. Therefore, a
life-cycle cost exercise should be
carried out for a better comparison.
The range of applications vary
hugely, from a single-family home
to offices, data centers, hospitality,
hospitals, etc. However, for
VRF systems larger than 20 kW
(6 kW), offices is a significant application.
Outside the U.S., retail and
hotels are also key applications for
VRF, but this is less significant in
the U.S. due to continued success of
packaged terminal air conditioner
units, which is unique to the North
American market. In recent years,
there has been an increasing adoption
of VRFs in residential application
and in the U.S., particularly in
townhouses.
ASHRAE JOURNAL ashrae.org J U LY 2021
U.S. VRF Applications by
Verticals in 2020 (in Units)
The monitoring of single-dwelling
energy use through submetering
allows landlords to charge each
tenant for their energy use and
in China, where the up-market
properties are sought after with
a preinstalled air-conditioning
unit, this has encouraged the
use of mini-VRFs. This trend has
also been seen in other cities, for
example in London. As the effects
of climate change drive change for
shorter and milder winters, a VRF
unit's ability to heat and cool efficiently
meets this demand between
seasons.
VRF is not the only Asia technology
seeing growth in the U.S. There
is also an increase in ductless
split systems replacing traditional
ducted splits technology; however,
this is still from a low base.
Following the financial crises of
2008, several years had fewer large
construction projects where largecapacity
HVAC systems were specified.
During these years, VRF technology
was particularly popular
http://www.ashrae.org

ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - July 2021

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 4
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 6
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 8
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 9
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 10
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 11
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 27
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 36
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - 37
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ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - July 2021 - Cover4
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