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Are you looking to air condition classrooms that were originally designed to only be heated? Or do you need to upgrade an existing AC system?

We understand that competition is growing among private and parochial schools. Having a state of the art building with an energy efficient air conditioning system may very well be one of the deciding factors that will help your school attract students and boost your enrollment. Getting your building to this point is not without challenges – but advances in technology have made it increasingly more obtainable using Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems.

Most common obstacles include:

  • General construction costs
  • Space limitations
  • HVAC code restrictions and costs
  • Run away energy costs
  • Heating parts of a building while cooling others
  • Everyone wanting to control the thermostat
  • Noise level of the equipment
  • Maintenance issues

If any of the above items are posing a threat to upgrading, expanding, or installing a new AC system, a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system may be the answer.

One of the challenges to air conditioning a previously unconditioned building or space is the architectural and space restrictions involved. Installing traditionally ducted AC systems can be intrusive to a building’s construction. Because of the building modifications required, it is not uncommon to see the general construction costs exceed that of the HVAC costs.The VRF system is small and will help minimize those general construction costs.With space saving units, no ductwork, minimal electric loads and a single outdoor condensing unit, the VRF system is, at times, the only feasible way to condition an existing space.

With the new provisions required by most jurisdictions, installing or retrofitting an HVAC system usually involves increasing the amount of outside air introduced into the building. By integrating energy recovery ventilators with the VRF system, introducing outside air can be significantly less expensive than traditional methods. You will also improve energy efficiency by taking advantage of outdoor conditions to cool or heat indoor space.

A VRF system provides one of the most flexible, cost-effective and environmentally friendly HVAC options in commercial construction today. According to the EPA, at least 45% of energy used in commercial buildings is attributed to cooling and heating expenses.VRF systems are estimated to achieve nearly 34% in energy cost savings. What this means to you is a minimum drop of 15% in your energy expenses. The VRF system achieves this by having the capability of heating one area of the building while simultaneously cooling another—and transferring heat from spaces being cooled over to spaces needing to be heated, and visa versa.

Another feature of this system is the ability to provide different zones of control. It seems everyone wants control of the thermostat! With the VRF System, each classroom or office can have its own dedicated unit and thermostat control. The system can also be tied into a centralized control system which allows for better management of energy consumption. In either scenario, zone control is accomplished and differing levels of comfort are obtainable.

A noisy air conditioning system can be a bothersome distraction to students and faculty. With a VRF system, the outdoor units range from 19 dB(A) at low speed to 49 dB(A) at high speed – quieter than a refrigerator.  Indoor units are also extremely quite with sound ratings a s low as 29 dB(A) – essentially quieter than a human whisper.

The last point I would like to make is that VRF systems are incredibly reliable and easy to service.  The systems have fewer moving components than traditional HVAC systems which results in fewer breakdowns and repairs needed.

In conclusion, if your building needs air conditioning or an upgrade to its existing HVAC system, the correct solution could be a VRF System.  Designed to blend into your unique environment with multiple styles of compact indoor units, a VRF system offers an energy efficient, versatile, quiet, long term and reliable solution to conditioning your buildings.


Mark Chadwick


Chadwick Service Company