Heating and air conditioning VAFTM vs VRF
Distribute air, not refrigerant
Most commercial buildings are struggling with problems of general discomfort. If you are a commercial building manager, you probably handle a lot of occupant complaints concerning their thermal comfort.
They often use "stopgap" solutions, such as plugging dampers, adding auxiliary heating units, opening windows, etc.
Obviously, the installation of a zoning system is the real solution to this problem, but the currently available technologies don’t always deliver on their promises. Either because they are not affordable or due to their technical limitations. What you need to know is that the more the number of installed areas approaches the number of occupants in the building, the more you can eliminate discomfort complaints.
There are currently two types of systems that can handle this task. The first is an air station whose distribution is controlled by motorized shutters, the second is what is known as a "VRF" (Variable Refrigerant Flow), a heat pump specially designed to distribute refrigerant to several Indoor units.
The air station type with motorized shutters is limited by the inability of the air conditioning/heating equipment to adapt its power according to the number of areas in demand, or in other words, according to the total airflow requested. As a result, the number of installed areas is very limited and the use of a bypass component is necessary.
The "VRF" type is very effective in terms of comfort for each occupant and is also very energy-efficient, since it recovers the heat from the rooms in demand for air conditioning to redistribute it to the rooms in demand for heating. VRF systems can serve a number of areas well above that which an air station allows. However, the installation of such a system is costly and complex. It must be done by well-trained technicians, experienced with this type of system.
VAF... the simple approach proposed by Calorek
VAF means variable airflow. It is a system similar to a conventional air station, but also has the advantages of a "VRF", i.e. the ability to recover energy simultaneously while heating and cooling, and the ability to serve a large number of areas without taxing the air conditioning/heating equipment.
Each room has its own thermostat and the occupant can decide to request heating or air conditioning at all times. Installation is simple and fast, since it requires a minimum amount of custom tinware; Distribution is through rigid or flexible round ducts, and the air station allows the use of 4-inch diameter ducts in most installations.
VAF... How the idea has progressed
Steps toward a solution:
1 - What are the best HVAC systems available on the market today?
VRF systems are already recognized for their energy efficiency. Featuring all this common point which is the capability of zoning, some of them are even able to heat and cool simultaneously different rooms while reclaiming a maximum of free energy.
2 - How to improve and simplify VRF systems?
Acquisition and installation costs of a VRF system are high because of the technology complexity and installation problems associated with it.
However, these systems already gave proof that they can provide exceptional comfort while operating at minimal energy costs.
So, how did we improve upon the exceptional?
3 - The good idea from Calorek R&D...
To avoid all the technical complexity of VRF while maintaining its advantages, Calorek's proposal is the VAF system.
VAF stands for Variable Air Flow. This system operates by moving constant airflow and supply temperature to each room in demand. No matter how many zones are in demand and without the need of a bypass.
You can now definitively solve comfort and energy consumption issues while avoiding the technical headache of vrf, along with a low initial cost.
*VAF is a trademark owned by Calorek Inc.