An HVAC system generates and distributes heated or cooled air throughout a building. Commercial buildings require larger systems than a typical home. While an HVAC system for an office, restaurant, hospital, hotel, or warehouse works similarly and serves the same purpose, it must meet a different set of needs. This can be exemplified with a closer look at the HVAC equipment medium and large commercial buildings typically use.
Single-Split HVAC System
Often used in smaller commercial buildings, a single-split system can heat and cool individual rooms. This is ideal for a small office as well as a restaurant, cafe, or shop. Each outdoor unit must be paired with a single indoor unit, each set being self-contained (which reduces the potential for requiring complete system repair after a breakdown).
Easy installation makes single-split systems preferable for both new buildings and renovated spaces. Indoor units can be assigned to individual rooms, improving energy efficiency. A system can also be configured with an indoor unit that serves multiple rooms or larger spaces. Business expansion can be accommodated by continuing to add outdoor/indoor unit sets.
Multi-Split HVAC System
A multi-split air conditioning system, suited for small- to medium-sized commercial buildings, allows you to connect multiple indoor units to a single outdoor unit. Fewer outdoor units are needed, conserving exterior space and aesthetics. The system can also heat and cool individual rooms. This configuration is often used in the retail, restaurant, and medical sectors.
With a multi-split system, there is more pipework, creating additional installation challenges. Any installation mistakes can significantly reduce efficiency, so professional service is strongly recommended. But despite more pipework being needed, buildings do not require ductwork. However, installation costs tend to be higher than with a single-split system.
Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) / Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) Systems
The terms VRF and VRV are interchangeable. Medium and large commercial buildings typically use this type of system with a single condenser that can serve one or more evaporators. Internal units integrate an Electronic Expansion Valve (EEV) to control refrigerant flow; the size and design of the system suit it for use in office buildings, commercial shopping centers, and hotels.
A VRV system can use heat pumps to heat and cool open spaces. It can provide simultaneous heating and cooling to different areas as well. Heat recovery systems can be integrated, which also deliver heating and cooling at the same time, while providing the benefit of recovering waste heat to condition the air in other rooms or even heat water. VRF installation does not disrupt building occupants and is relatively simple in a building undergoing expansion, but installation is expensive and the whole system must be serviced if a unit breaks down.
Constant Air Volume (CAV) System
The system’s compressor runs at full capacity until the set temperature is reached. It is most suited for a commercial building where temperatures remain constant and there’s always ventilation. However, its air volume is fixed, meaning if your building doesn’t require a high level of airflow, energy costs can be high. A CAV system also doesn’t provide effective humidity control.
Variable Air Volume (VAV) System
If your building’s heating and cooling needs vary, a VAV system can cut energy costs. The compressor or fan speed is adjustable depending on room temperature. Refrigerant flow is also regulated to maintain consistent temperatures, while the system also supports variable ventilation loads. Both humidity and temperature are precisely controlled. The downsides are installation is relatively expensive and a fan must be placed within the building.
IRBIS Can Handle All Your Commercial HVAC Needs
At IRBIS, we meet clients’ commercial HVAC needs throughout the San Jose area. We specialize in installing and servicing split systems, VRF systems, packaged units, and rooftop units. Our team assists in HVAC design and factors in size, location, zoning, drainage, and integration of logic controllers and sensors. We install fans and air quality systems as well. To learn more about the HVAC systems medium and large commercial buildings typically use, and to schedule an appointment, book online or call 669-266-5464.