Energy laws will boost VRF

The emergence of Energy Performance and Display Energy Certificates (EPCs and DECs) plus the new requirement for mandatory air conditioning inspections will have a positive impact on VRF air conditioning in the UK, according to experts.

The VRF market is looking relatively healthy in the face of the global economic downturn, according to manufacturers like Samsung.

“Systems that provide a flexible approach and can adjust their performance to match the changing demands of a wide variety of building environments can ride out the recession,” said Mark Edinburgh, Samsung’s Technical Manager.

“Building owners and operators are looking for solutions that will not compromise the comfort of occupants, but can also help to deliver the performance benefits energy inspectors will be looking for when preparing certificates.

“Energy certificates will have an increasing impact on the asset value of buildings and, along with the need to comply with tough legislation, will drive the specification market. These requirements will not go away, whether there is a credit crunch or not.”

British legislators are currently preparing the 2010 and 2013 revisions of Part L of the Building Regulations, which will further drive energy targets making it increasingly difficult for less sophisticated air conditioning systems to thrive.

And worldwide, demand is growing for more energy conscious solutions. For example, Samsung recently completed a very large installation at a major apartment complex in Korea. The developers of the Tower Palace scheme in Seoul, which incorporates 17,731 indoor units linked to 3,614 outdoor units, insisted on energy efficient technology with proven power management capability to accurately monitor and report the energy consumption of each apartment.

The Samsung DVM VRF range was chosen for the project as it incorporates centralised controllers with data management servers linked back to the company’s advanced S-Net software.   The system itself achieves very high coefficients of performance (CoPs) thanks to the use of the latest digital vapour injection compressor and turbo intercooler technology.

As well as ongoing energy consumption, more building owners and operators are focusing on whole lifecycle costs. Modulating the output of each outdoor unit reduces wear and tear on individual compressors, while also cutting energy consumption.

“The market will not be easy for the next two to three years,” said Mark. “However, the unique characteristics of VRF technology give manufacturers like us, who have invested in the very latest technology, a fighting chance.”

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