Ten things mechanical engineers should know about VRF systems

The results of this exclusive research study provide insights into the variable refrigerant flow (VRF) market

By Amara Rozgus June 19, 2024
Figure 1: According to respondents of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer HVAC & Mechanical Systems: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) research study, the use of refrigerants is a top challenge faced by survey respondents. VRFs also pose questions about cost and compatibility. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

VRF insights

  • Survey responses indicate that variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are integral to decarbonization strategies and are broadly accepted in the United States, with anticipated future developments in energy efficiency and sustainability enhancements.
  • Despite recent budget constraints affecting system design, there is an expectation of slight increases in client budgets for VRF implementations over the next two years.

The Consulting-Specifying Engineer HVAC & Mechanical Systems: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) research study surveyed the use and perceptions of VRF systems in various building types, identifying key trends and challenges.

Figure 1: According to respondents of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer HVAC & Mechanical Systems: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) research study, the use of refrigerants is a top challenge faced by survey respondents. VRFs also pose questions about cost and compatibility. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Figure 1: According to respondents of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer HVAC & Mechanical Systems: Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) research study, the use of refrigerants is a top challenge faced by survey respondents. VRFs also pose questions about cost and compatibility. Courtesy: Consulting-Specifying Engineer

Ten findings include:

  1. Building types: Office buildings are the most common for VRF systems, followed by educational institutions and mixed-use complexes.

  2. Brand recognition: Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric Trane are the most recognized and considered leaders, with LG and Samsung also noted but less so.

  3. Information sources: Key sources of VRF information include manufacturer events, websites, trade publications and industry associations.

  4. Influencing factors: Brand choice is driven by technical support, product quality and energy efficiency, along with past experiences and project compatibility.

  5. Marketing and education: Effective strategies include detailed product information, reviews, technical articles and webcasts/webinars.

  6. Exploring new brands: Factors encouraging the exploration of new VRF technologies include technical support, brand reputation and project alignment.

  7. Challenges: Major challenges are refrigerant concerns, costs and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

  8. Role in decarbonization: VRF systems are seen as crucial for building decarbonization in the U.S.

  9. Future developments: Anticipated improvements focus on energy efficiency, retrofit solutions, sustainability and life cycle performance.

  10. Industry trends: Recent years have seen a slight increase in VRF project involvement, with budget constraints affecting system design. However, client budgets for VRF implementations are expected to increase slightly in the near future.

Download the complete Consulting-Specifying Engineer HVAC & Mechanical Systems: Variable Refrigerant Flow study by registering for the data.


Author Bio: Amara Rozgus is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader