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Multi Split and Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems can help save electricity in offices

By on April 22, 2016 with 60 Comments  

Most offices or commercial spaces in the country these days have central air conditioning, with ducts and vents running across the office, taking cold air to all parts. Such systems make sure that every corner of the office is uniformly cool. But during our recent visit to an office, we observed that a lot of cool air is being wasted in cooling areas that do not require cooling. Some of those areas were unoccupied spaces and some were plain store and inventory rooms. All this resulted in wastage of electricity in cooling areas that do not need cooling and higher electricity bills. So we thought of doing some research and found some solutions.

Multi Split Air Conditioning Units with Inverter technology

Multi Split Air Conditioning systems with inverter technology provide a good way to save space, buying cost and electricity cost in smaller offices. These air conditioners have multiple indoor units connected with a single outdoor unit as shown in the picture below. The temperature control is available at every indoor unit and the outdoor unit adjusts the compressor load based on the heat load coming in from various units.multi-split-system

It saves space: as there is only one outdoor unit instead of many.

It saves buying cost: The combined cost of buying several single split units is more than buying one single multi split unit.

It saves electricity cost: The compressor load is adjusted based on the heat load coming in from various indoor units by the invertor technology. Thus electricity consumption is less. To know more about inverter technology read our article: Air Conditioners with Inverter technology can help save electricity.

These systems are available in sizes of 2 ton and more with 2 to 8 units connected with single outdoor unit. Smaller units can also be used for residential purposes in case air conditioning is required in multiple rooms.

Using multi split system; one just has to make sure that the refrigerant tubing is not long so that there are energy losses during the refrigerant flow. Also a multi split system without inverter technology may not be very useful as the individual room control is not possible without inverter technology.

Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems

VRF or Variable Refrigerant Flow systems are a great replacement for central air conditioning system. Structurally they are similar to Multi Split Air Conditioning system as they have one single outdoor unit and multiple indoor units, but they are designed for larger systems (up to 50 indoor units) and have better tubing for efficient flow of refrigerant so that there are much lesser energy losses. Bigger offices can benefit from VRF because:

  1. Every room can have individual control and cooling of unoccupied areas can be avoided which will save electricity.
  2. Because of individual control, areas requiring lesser cooling can be kept at higher temperature thus saving electricity.VRF-system

It is important to note that although ducts and vents of central air conditioners can be closed to shut off air conditioning of a room, but that is not advisable as it can have adverse impact on the central air conditioning system. Using a VRF system is a better alternative.

References:

http://www.energyrating.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/Energy_Rating_Documents/Library/Cooling/Air_Conditioners/2009-multi-split-fact-sheet.pdf

http://www.bpa.gov/EE/Technology/EE-emerging-technologies/Projects-Reports-Archives/Field-Tests/Documents/E3t_ProjectOverview_VRFOverview.pdf

About the Author:
Abhishek Jain is an Alumnus of IIT Bombay with almost 10 years of experience in corporate before starting Bijli Bachao in 2012. His passion for solving problems moved him towards Energy Sector and he is keen to learn about customer behavior towards Energy and find ways to influence the same towards Sustainability. .

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