How VRF Technology Helps Future-Proof Buildings?
Today, building owners, operators and developers have more to consider than just securing tenants. Rising demand for a more sustainable built environment is driving swift changes in government regulation, legislation and building codes. Buildings currently account for 39% of the carbon emissions in the U.S. Many new requirements are geared toward increasing efficiency while reducing carbon footprints and air pollution. The goal: future-proof the built environment.
What does this mean? Ensuring our current buildings and those in development can measure up to new standards while also being able to withstand adverse events such as power outages or harsh weather. For perspective, many buildings of yesteryear were constructed quickly to accommodate population growth. As a result, these buildings are major contributors to pollution and can only last 10–20 years before requiring major renovations. Future-proofing aims to look holistically at a building as well as the energy infrastructure available. Building systems are selected for their efficient operation, compatibility with the infrastructure and available resources, as well as their impact on tenants.
Tenant satisfaction is key. While owners and operators are facing mandates to lower their emissions, at the end of the day, people and businesses should want to occupy their buildings, too. For most building occupants, this looks like year-round comfort, fresh, indoor air quality and predictable, reasonable utility expenses.
Importance of Efficient System Selection
System selection is critical in meeting these demands. While every piece of the puzzle must be evaluated (from lighting to plumbing to the thermal envelope and beyond), HVAC systems are a significant factor in future-proofing buildings and keeping tenants happy.
Heating and air conditioning systems account for 40% of the average building’s energy expenditure and contribute heavily to carbon emissions. For many owners and developers, Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology has proved to be a preferred, all-electric solution designed to maximize comfort and minimize energy use without using fossil fuels.
VRF for Future-Proven Buildings
VRF systems divide a building into zones customized by usage and comfort needs. Heating and cooling are provided by cycling refrigerant between an outdoor unit and each zone’s ductless or ducted indoor unit(s). While traditional HVAC systems rely on energy-intensive on/off cycles, VRF systems fine-tune operation to meet the desired zone temperature with the least amount of energy.
In terms of comfort, VRF technology is hard to beat. Instead of a centralized air handling unit blowing air through long duct runs, VRF system units are within or in close proximity to the zones they’re heating and cooling. This operation allows rooms to warm up or cool down quickly and helps distribute air evenly. With a wide array of indoor unit styles, tenants can also achieve the aesthetic they’re looking for while reaping the benefits of zoned filtration.
VRF technology is also a solution for all climate zones. Hyper-heating models are available to accommodate cold-climate applications. With continued performance down to -27.4 F, these systems ensure comfort and minimized energy use without the need for auxiliary heat. Water-source models of VRF units can also help owners take advantage of geothermal wells, again maximizing both efficiency and comfort.
In short, when future-proofing buildings for efficiency, resiliency, sustainability and tenant experience, choosing the right HVAC system is crucial. As a leading supplier of mini-split heat pump and VRF systems, METUS can partner with owners, developers and operators transitioning their building to more energy-efficient solutions. Want to learn more? Visit MitsubishiComfort.com or contact a distributor or local representative today.