“The Hitachi VRF has a recognised pedigree in terms of performance, reliability and economy. It is competitively priced so it meets the affordability criteria as well as my client’s needs. However, what swung the decision was that I knew that with Hitachi’s recent acquisition by Johnson Controls, I could also rely on rapid availability, professional commissioning and ongoing support.”
Flexibility, economy, accounting
“The new office space within the shopping complex allowed for variable partitioning—anything from a 30m2 boardroom to a 3m2 cubicle—to accommodate the needs of different lessees. To service these areas, a self-sufficient, flexible air conditioning system was needed that would not compromise the mall’s adjoining aircon systems,” explains Orso.
The Hitachi VRF offers the latest technology with lower operating costs than previous systems. It also offers design flexibility and, importantly, central management or individual management, as needed. The ability to measure individual unit consumption makes them ideal for accurate billing in multi-tenant office or residential environments.
Energy consumption is efficient and installation is also simple. All these benefits are why VRFs have taken off in the last 10 to 15 years.
What’s so special about a VRF?
Air conditioning has evolved over the last 20 years from central to split and multi-split unit installations. Then VRFs came along. Essentially, a VRF uses refrigerant as the cooling and heating medium. It delivers all the functionality of a chiller for a much lower investment, and capacity can be tailored to meet the needs of a defined area.
A single large outdoor VRF unit typically serves many smaller indoor units. The indoor units can operate at different temperatures with the outdoor unit varying its output load to match communal demand of the indoor units. Thanks to different volumes of refrigerant flowing through the system on demand, changes in temperature in different parts of the building can be catered for at different times of the day. Energy savings come from having optimal temperatures across a varied space using a single system rather than multiple stand-alone units.
In terms of capacity, single condensers can deliver from 8.4kW to 67kW, with combined capacity of up to 268kW. A maximum of 64 indoor units can be combined per system, with a combination capacity ratio between outdoor and indoor unit from 50% and 130%.
An implementation for an office complex may look something like this.
Hitachi in SA
“We believe the Hitachi air conditioning range, especially the VRFs, are very well positioned to grow their share of the South African air conditioning market,” says Nols Lubbe, Sales Manager DX & VRFat Johnson Controls.
“VRFs are excellent as new, replacement or retrofit units, or, as in this example, as a stand-alone solution within a bigger installation, as capacity can be customised to suit the application. In terms of footprint, these VRFs are sized for ease, fitting comfortably into service lifts and into ceilings, which makes them ideal for corporate or residential facilities.”
“We have a strong partner network across South Africa and their support of these solutions speaks volumes. InstallAir, for example, has over 40 years’ experience serving government and corporate clients in Cape Town—they know their stuff and we are proud to be partnering with them in the delivery of these solutions.”