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VRF Systems: The

Good, The Bad and The


Ugly

Mark Hydeman, PE, Principal


Hwakong Cheng, Senior
Mechanical Designer
Taylor Engineering, LLC
http://www.taylor-engineering.com

SYSTEMS
G,OOD
THE
AD T
AND
VRFVRF
SYSTEMS
: THE: T
GHE
OOD
THE, B
AD B
AND
HE T
UHE
GLYUGLY

JUNES2LIDE
2011
1

Logistics









Safety
Restrooms
Recycling
Cell phone etiquette
Lunch
Review forms
Webinar etiquette
PG&E Resources
Rebates
Tool Lending Library
Marlene Vogelsang (mxv6@pge.com)

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 2

Agenda

Topic
Intro and Overview

Speaker(s)
M Hydeman

BREAK
VRF Manufacturer Perspective

R Wilmarth & S Khayatian

BREAK
VRF Design Perspective

H Cheng & M Hydeman

LUNCH
VRF Owner's Perspective

T Rabiah

BREAK
VRF Cx Perspective

D Sellers

BREAK
Discussion and Wrapup

All

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 3

Handouts
 You can get a copy of the handouts in PDF format as
follows:
Type the following link into your web browser:
http://www.taylorengineering.com/ftp/PECClassHandouts.html

Click on the link for VRF Systems to download the


Acrobat file of the presentation.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 4

Speakers
 Mark Hydeman, PE, Principal, Taylor Engineering, LLC






mhydeman@taylor-engineering.com
Ruben Willmarth, Mitsubishi Electric HVAC
rwillmarth@HVAC.mea.com
Sherwin Khayatian, Norman S. Wright
skhayatian@norman-wright.com
Hwakong Cheng, Senior Mechanical Designer, Taylor
Engineering, LLC
hcheng@taylor-engineering.com
Tal Rabiah, PE, Sr. Mechanical Engineer, UCSC
trabiah@ucsc.edu
David Sellers, PE, Facility Dynamics
DSellers@FacilityDynamics.com

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 5

Introduction
 Who are you?
Facility Operations or Engineering
Design Consultant
Contractor
Vendor
Other
 What brings you here?

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 6

VRF Systems: The


Good, The Bad and The
Ugly

Ruben Willmarth, Regional Mgr.


Mitsubishi Electric, HVAC
http://www.mitsubishipro.com

SYSTEMS
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THE
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VRFVRF
SYSTEMS
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AND
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GLYUGLY

JUNES2LIDE
2011
1

VRF Systems- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly




Two kinds of VRF

The Value of Heat Recovery




Piping
Controls

Economizers & Ventilation

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 2

Applications The Bad

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 3

Applications The Ugly

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 4

Two kinds of VRF


 Heat Pump or Heat Recovery?
 Who do you serve?
 Would a 2-pipe Hydronic work here? Or not?
 Is it a cooling only application?
 Different people have different needs
 Small zones?
 Hotel or Assisted Living?

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 5

VRF Heat Pump Technology

HEATING
COOLING

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 6

VRF Heat Recovery Technology


Simultaneous cooling and heating

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 7

The Value of Heat Recovery


 Comfort = Productivity
 The lesser of Heat or Cool is essentially free
 Most often occurs between 35F-65F, or with special
applications
 New options to recover heat for DHW or HHW
 Must always remember it is an applied benefit

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 8

The Value of Heat Recovery

VRF Systems Heat Recovery Operation

COP
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 9

What Makes Heat Recovery Different


Sample Building in Part Load: OA Temp 50oF
3000 BTU

Cubicle Area

Lobby/
Waiting Room

Conference
Room

Elect
Break Room
3000 BTU

6000 BTU

12000 BTU

3000 BTU

Janitor

6000 BTU
Open Work
Room
6000 BTU
3000 BTU

Office #1
3000 BTU

Office #2
3000 BTU

Men

Women

Simultaneous Load:
Cooling: 27000 BTU
Heating: 21000 BTU

6 Ton Heat Recovery System


VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 10

What Makes Heat Recovery Different

Cooling Power Input PURY-P72

72,000
BTUH
6.48 KW

7.00

6.00

Power Input KW

5.00

4.00

3.00

27,000
BTUH
2.38 KW

2.00

1.00

0.00
0

12000

24000

36000

48000

60000

72000

84000

System Load BTUH

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 11

What Makes Heat Recovery Different


Outdoor Temperature Power Input Correction
(For a 68 Indoor WB Temperature)
2.4000

2.38 KW at
95oF

2.3000

2.2000

P owe r Input K W

2.1000

1.87 KW at
50oF

2.0000

1.9000

1.8000

1.7000

1.6000

1.5000
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

OA Temperature FDB

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 12

What does this mean


 Getting 27,000 BTUH of cooling and 21,000 BTUH of
heating, while providing only 1.87 KW to the outdoor unit.
 This savings cannot be realized without the ability to do
simultaneous heating and cooling.

For this scenario,


Calculated Efficiency of 25.7 EER
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 13

Value of Heat Recovery to Hot Water


72 mbh nominal cap. Estimated Incremental Installed Cost $10,000
Assumptions:
Constant Year Round Cooling, Heat Pump Boiler Always Fully Utilized
Example One - Electric Water Heater
72,000 Btu/h=21.1 KW*8760=184,836 KWH savings/year
Electric Water Heater at 100% Efficiency
184,836 KWH x $0.10/KWH x 1/1.00 = $18,484 / year cost savings
Payback is in 6.5 months.
Example Two - Gas Water Heater
72,000 Btu/h x 8760/100000 btuh/therm=6,307.2 Therm savings/year
Gas Water Heater at 80% Efficiency
6,307.2 Therm x $1.25/therm x 1/0.80 = $9,855 / year cost savings
Payback is in 12.2 months
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 14

Piping with VRF Systems


1. Always use type ACR copper piping
2. Always specify brazing with dry Nitrogen
3. Always specify pressure test with dry Nitrogen(550psi)
4. Always specify triple evacuation to <500 microns, and
hold for 1 hour.
5. Always accommodate thermal expansion into your
piping design

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 15

Piping with VRF Systems


 A Good installation

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 16

Piping with VRF Systems


 A Good installation

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 17

Piping The Bad


Poor brazing - oil stains indicate a leak

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY


18

SLIDE 18

Piping The Bad


Pipe has shifted to the right due to thermal expansion

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY


19

SLIDE 19

Piping The Ugly


 No accommodation
for thermal expansion

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY


20

SLIDE 20

VRF Controls
Controls are an integral part of all VRF Systems

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 21

VRF Controls- Which to Use?


All VRF Companies use Pre-Integrated
controls. Reduces cost & commissioning
time
Can be very simple or expanded to
include most normal HVAC features.

Local Zone Controllers


Simplified

Programmable/ Full-Featured

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 22

VRF Controls- Which to Use?


Central Controllers

PC w/GUI
TG-2000

LAN

Touch Screen

Hub

Power Supply

Up to 40
Central Controllers

PC-Based
Power Supply

 Consider when 5-10 Zones or more for easier scheduling


 Use for remote access, alerts, IPhone, etc.
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 23

VRF Controls- Which to Use?


BMS Interfaces

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 24

VRF Controls- Which to Use?


BMS Interfaces
1. Many can interface with BacNet,
LON, Crestron, and others
2. A Controls integrator is a must with a BMS, but
optional with pre-integrated controllers
3. Never specify a system with BMS interface only.
Must have local zone or Central controller as well

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 25

Economizers with VRF


 They are available, but are they a benefit?
 Offsets Heat
Recovery energy
 Can increase
fan energy
 Can Model in
Energy Pro
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 26

Economizers with VRF economizers? Night Setback?

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 27

Ventilation with VRF Systems


1.
2.

Combined Conditioning/Ventilation
Separate Conditioning/Ventilation (DOAS)
15% Distributed OSA
Pair of 12 Dia. Ducts

Air
30 Diameter
Ductwork

15% Central OSA


Single 16Dia Duct
1200 CFM

Space required to deliver 20 tons of cooling


VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 28

Ventilation with VRF Systems


And you dont have to do this to your attic.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 29

Ventilation with VRF Systems


Or this to your lovely old church (now thats Ugly!)

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 30

Questions

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 31

VRF Systems: The


Good, The Bad and The
Ugly

Sherwin Khayatian, MBA


Norman S. Wright MEC
http://www.norman-wright.com

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

JUNE 2 2011

VRF Design Pitfalls


1. Over Zoning the Floor Plan
One Fan Coil, Separate Point of Changeover per Room
2. Heat Pump versus Heat Recovery Applications
Picking the Right # of Changeover Points
Grouping Fan Coils on a Common Point of Changeover
3. Heat Recovery: Establishing Cooling Only Zones
Comfort Cooling and Process Cooling
4. Zone Controller Application and Misconceptions
5. Centralized Controller. The Best Money you ever spent.
Is a Separate BAS even required?
If so, what functions should a 3rd party BAS provide?

VRF Design Pitfalls - Over Zoning the Floor Plan




One Fan Coil, Separate Point of Changeover per Room


This is the Most Expensive Configuration possible
This is usually a requirement for Hotel Guest Rooms

Multiple Fan Coils on a Common Point of Changeover


This can shave some costs and in some cases is an appropriate
solution for Office Spaces A.
o

This can be done so long as the Capacity of the Changeover


Device is not exceeded (i.e. No more than 8 Tons of Fan Coils per
Point of Changeover; Heat Pumps Points can be even bigger)
This is good design practice when you have multiple fan coils
serving a common zone (i.e. Fan Coils should change over from
Heat to Cool and vice versa together as a group)
Can also be considered for fan coils serving partitioned spaces that
share a common load profile (i.e. Individual offices on same
exposure). This will reduce equipment costs.

Single Floor Office Example





10,000 ft office space


4 open plan office spaces, 8 single offices & a server room
Office Space has a peak load of 26 tons & block load of 20 tons
Server room has a 2 ton load
Engineer assumes that customer needs individual temperature control in each room

North
Zone

3 Ton

Server
Room
4 Ton

1 Ton
2 Ton

Open Plan Office


6 Ton

South Zone
1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

1.5
Ton

*Nominal conditions with no correction factors have been used for example purposes only

Typical Office Example




As the customer is looking for temperature control per zone this would mean
a fan coil & branch selector box per indoor unit

This is an effective, efficient solution but can increase first cost

Approximate VRV installed cost 110%


North Zone
FXMQ36

FXMQ48

BSVQ
36

BSVQ
60

Open Plan Office

FXMQ12
BSVQ

36
BSVQ
36

FXMQ36
BSVQ
36

BSVQ
36

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

BSVQ
36

FXMQ18

FXMQ36

BSVQ
36

South Zone

20 Ton System

Typical Office Example


Combining indoor units in the same heat/cool changeover zone onto a common branch selector box
provides the most cost effective solution and meet the customers needs
This reduces overall equipment and installation costs
Approximate VRV installed cost 78%

North Zone
FXMQ36

FXMQ48

FXMQ12

BSVQ
96

Open Plan Office

20 Ton System

FXMQ36

FXMQ36

BSVQ
96

BS

South Zone

FXMQ72

FXMQ18

BSVQ
96

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

FXMQ18

BSVQ
96

FXMQ18




Typical Office Example


The most cost effective solution for this would be to zone the system as you would a VAV system
This reduces overall equipment and installation costs
Approximate Installed Cost 73%
This does not meet the customers requirements of temperature control per zone

North Zone
FXMQ36

FXMQ48

BSVQ
36

BSVQ
60

FXMQ12
BSVQ
36

FXMQ72

Open Plan Office

South Zone

BSVQ
96

FXMQ72

BSVQ
96

FXMQ72




20 Ton System
BSVQ
96

VRF Design Pitfalls




Heat Pump versus Heat Recovery Applications


Picking the Right # of Changeover Points
Grouping Fan Coils on a Common Point of Changeover
 For Grouping, similar concept as Fan Coils on a Common
BSVQ for a Heat Recovery System
Heat Pump Systems can be up to 30% lower cost than Heat
Recovery Systems
Be careful not to cross zones; Think of it as a VVT or 2 Pipe

o
o
o

Do not serve both Interior and Perimeter on the Same System A


Each System is a Point of Changeover; Changeover Routine
should be discussed before hand to insure customer buy-in
Smaller Systems allow for more points of changeover and easier
retrofits

Heat Pumps are typically used for Cool Only Applications


Heating Operation Mode can be locked using Dip Switch Settings
or with Controls

VRF Design Pitfalls Cool Only Zones


Heat Recovery: Establishing Cooling Only Zones
Comfort Cooling and Process Cooling
 Process Cooling
Do you really want your 2 Ton Server Room on your 20 Ton


Heat Recovery System? Think about your House VAV, CW


o
o

Benefit: Can Potentially Recover Heat Absorbed in Process Area


Benefit: Less Equipment
For Colder Ambient Climates, add BSVQ as PRD
Not a given; Each Design and System is Unique
What if majority of Comfort Zones are Interior? After Hours?
Cons: Significant Additional Run Hours on Expensive House
System
Would a separate Split System, VRF, or RTU with Economizer
be a better option with VRF Fan Coil as backup only?

VRF Design Pitfalls Cool Only Zones




Heat Recovery: Establishing Cooling Only Zones


Comfort Cooling and Process Cooling

Comfort Cooling
Is the Makeup Air Tempered or does the Design incorporate
Heat Reclaim Ventilation? If so, ventilation loads are fully or
partially handled elsewhere and only internal loads are
present for certain occupied zones.

Potential for Design without Point of Heat/Cool Changeover


o

Design can eliminate BSVQ Box and save costs, reduce units

With VRF technology, the Expansion Valve can shut in Cooling


so that there is no Coil Capacity when satisfied

This is quite different from the typical Single Duct VAV


installation

Single Floor Office Example






The most cost effective way is to design around heat pumps, right?
This project consists of 4 main heat cool changeover zones

This would mean 3 VRV heat pump outdoor units & a Split System
Approximate VRV Installed Cost = 100% (this will be used as the baseline cost)

A heat recovery system best suits this project as one outdoor unit can be utilized to match the loads

Does this mean we can now connect the server room to the VRV system?
No, this should be connected to a single split system (this is true of all VRV/VRF systems!)
o

A VRV indoor unit can however be used as a back up

North Zone
3FXMQ36
Ton

12
FXMQ12
Ton

48
FXMQ48
Ton

Server
Room
FXAQ24
2 Ton

Open Plan Office


FXMQ36

6 Ton

FXMQ36

South Zone
FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

FXMQ12

*Nominal conditions with no correction factors have been used for example purposes only

Typical Office Example


Eliminating Unnecessary BSVQs reduces costs and equipment
Just Branch off Liquid and Suction Main Only

North Zone
FXMQ36

FXMQ48

BSVQ
36

BSVQ
60

FXMQ12
BSVQ
36

FXMQ72

Open Plan Office

South Zone

BSVQ
96

FXMQ72

BSVQ
96

FXMQ72




20 Ton System

VRF Design Pitfalls - Controls




Zone Controller Application and Misconceptions


Zone Controller is Not Necessary
o
o

Yes, Control can be strictly centralized


However, it is Better to use a Zone Controller (Service Functions)

Functionality can be restricted from the Centralized Device


BAD Idea: Trying to use 3rd Party Zone Controls

This is possible and has been done successfully


o
Most Instances required additional coordination

Unnecessary Costs; Requires Skilled Programmer

Zone Controller is Point of Temperature Sensing


o

Not Always the Case; This is Configurable on Some models

Grouping Fan Coils onto a Common Point of Zone Control


o
o

Simplifies Control and Eliminates Unnecessary Costs


Considerations: How to View at Central Level, How to Sense and
Report Zone Temperature for Control and Monitoring Purposes

VRF Design Pitfalls - Controls




Centralized Controller. The Best Money you ever spent.


Is a Separate BAS even required? It really depends.
3rd Party BAS is very costly especially if full control integration is
required
Can a Central Controller provide enough functionality?
3rd Party Equipment Start/Stop Scheduling, Status, Interlocks
Central Controller is designed by Equipment Manufacturer so
you get all the controllable points and some basic routines

If a requirement, what functions should 3rd party BAS provide?


Scheduling, Monitoring Only? Custom Routines? Interlocks?

Centralized Controllers can provide many beneficial features


Zone Controller Restrictions, More Custom Changeover
Routines, Remote Monitoring/Control and Alarm Reporting

Other Things to Watch Out For When Designing A


VRV Solution
 Things that can lead to Poor Comfort
Poor zoning
Over connecting capacity to an outdoor unit
o

Is there diversity in the building?

Wrong type of indoor units


Over sizing units (poor temperature control)
Return air sensor position
o

Is outside air integrated to the indoor unit?

 Things that can lead to a Project going Over Budget


Too many, or wrong indoor unit type.
Too many zones on heat recovery unit
Oversized units

Questions

VRF Systems: The


Good, The Bad and The
Ugly

Hwakong Cheng
Senior Mechanical Designer
Taylor Engineering, LLC

SYSTEMS
G,OOD
THE
AD T
AND
VRFVRF
SYSTEMS
: THE: T
GHE
OOD
THE, B
AD B
AND
HE T
UHE
GLYUGLY

JUNES2LIDE
2011
1

Designer Perspective

Agenda
System Selection
Zoning and system layout
Pipe Sizing and Layout
Refrigerant Management
Coordination with other trades
Code Compliance
Controls Integration
Limitations
Photos

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 2

System Selection
 Ducted vs Ductless
(but still need ventilation)

 Heat Pump vs Heat


Recovery Systems

 Air vs Water-cooled
condensing units

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 3

Heat Pump System Type

System serves interior zones


zones typically in cooling

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 4

Simultaneous Heating & Cooling


Cool Morning

Extract heat from east zones


and transfer to west zones

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 5

Simultaneous Heating & Cooling


Cool Afternoon

Extract heat from west zones


and transfer to east zones

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 6

Pipe Sizing and Layout


 Pipe length, effective pipe
length, vertical height, and
overall system pipe length
limitations
 Reduced capacity with longer
pipe lengths
 Prescriptive pipe sizing from
manufacturer (selection
software)

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 7

Pipe Sizing and Layout


Hard pipe

Soft tubing

Brazed joints
Higher PD
Higher installation
cost
Tidy installation
with straight runs
and 90s
Not available for
small diameters

Flared fittings
Lower PD
Lower installation
cost
Consistent
insulation from
linesets

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 8

Pipe Sizing and Layout


Pressure testing

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 9

Refrigerant Management
 VRF lots of refrigerant
 ASHRAE Stds 15/34, CMC Ch 11
 R-410A: Safety group A1
25 lb / 1000 cubic feet

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

R-410A

SLIDE 10

Refrigerant Management
Example:
 Ductless fan coils operable
windows
 System charge: 48.3 lb R410A
 Normal room: 16x15x10 = 2400 cf
 Smallest room: 16x10x10 = 1600 cf
 Catastrophic discharge into
smallest room:
48.3 lb / 1600 cf = 30.1 lb / 1000 cf
Above limit of 25 lb / 1000 cf!
Smallest volume
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 11

Refrigerant Management
Possible solutions:
 Permanent openings
Door louver/undercuts
Transfer air grilles
 Transfer fan
 Connected duct systems

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 12

Refrigerant Management
 LEED EAc4 Enhanced Refrigerant Management
R-410 high global warming potential GWP =1890
(GWP of CO2 = 1)

Look at: Lbs/ton, GWP, leakage rate, lifespan


LEED Credit EAc4 difficult to achieve
 Refrigerant in rated corridors

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 13

Coordination with other trades


 Electrical power to each:
fan coil
branch controller / branch selector
condensing unit
 Plumbing:
condensate from each
fan coil, branch
controller
may be over sensitive
ceilings, electrical
equipment
piping may need to be
sloped
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 14

Code Compliance

Title 24 (Part 6)
Prescriptive Path

Performance Path

No testing standard yet for VRF

EnergyPro

(AHRI 1230 in development)

DOE/CEC waivers

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 15

Controls Integration
 Stand-alone controls
Scheduling
Setpoint control
Monitoring / Feedback
Web access
 BMS system integration
BACnet/LonWorks

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 16

Limitations
 Humidity control
 Fan pressure
Limited control of airside pressure drop
Watch PD for ducted systems
Standard filters ~ MERV 4
 Sound

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 17

Limitations
 Airside Economizer
45
45

40
40

Weather Hours
Weather
0 to 1 Hours
0 to117
1 to 105
0 to104
1 to 92
0 to911 to 79
0 to781 to 66
0 to651 to 53
0 to521 to 40
0 to391 to 27
0 to261 to 14
13 to 1

NO

YES

San Francisco
Weather

30
30
25
25

Return Air
Return Air

10
10
00

55

70
70
60
60

20
20
15
15

80
80

50
50

Supply Air

Humidity Ratio, grains/lb of dry air


Humidity Ratio, grains/lb of dry air

35
35

170
170
160
160
150
150
140
140
130
130
120
120
110
110
100
100
90
90

40
40
30
30

YES

NO

20
20
10
10

-10
-5-5 00 55 10
-10
10 15
15 20
20 25
25 30
30 35
35 40
40 45
45 50
50 55
55 60
60 65
65 70
70 75
75 80
80 85
85 90
90 95
95 100
100 105
105 110
110
Chart by: HANDS
DOWN SOFTWARE, www.handsdownsoftware.com
Chart by: HANDS DOWN SOFTWARE, www.handsdownsoftware.com

Dry-Bulb Temperature, F
Dry-Bulb Temperature, F

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 18

Limitations
 Airside Economizer
aftermarket option for
ducted systemsL

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 19

Photos

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 20

Photos

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 21

Questions

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 22

VRF Systems: The


Good, The Bad and The
Ugly

Tal Rabiah, PE
Physical Planning & Construction
UC Santa Cruz

SYSTEMS
G,OOD
THE
AD T
AND
VRFVRF
SYSTEMS
: THE: T
GHE
OOD
THE, B
AD B
AND
HE T
UHE
GLYUGLY

JUNES2LIDE
2011
1

Overview
 1. Existing Installations
 2. Pros and Cons
 3. Outdoor
 4. Indoor
 5. Recommendations
Plumbing
HVAC
Maintenance
Design

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 2

1. Existing Installations (past 7 years)


 University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)
N. Campus Recreational Sports Building
o

2-story building; 32 tons

Central Campus Printing Building


o

3-story building; 64 tons

Central Campus Recreational Building


o

3-story building; 24 tons

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 3

1. Existing Installations (past 7 years)


 University of California-Santa Cruz
Communication Building
o

Cell phone areas; 16 tons

Communication Building
o

Computer areas; 16 tons

UC Santa Cruz Extension


o

Santa Clara Computer Labs; 8 tons

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 4

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Pros:
A VRF system is possibly more suitable for cooling
upgrades in existing buildings than chilled water system
since the VRF has less than 1/4th the pipe size. The VRF
system may even be a preferable alternative to the
extension of an existing chilled water system to a new
building or building addition.

VRF is possibly the best option for systems with fewer than
100 tons of cooling capacity.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 5

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Pros (con't) :
The new 100% outside air fan coil unit for VRFs is a
significant advancement in the application of VRF system
in make-up air and laboratory HVAC applications where
100% outside air is required.

VRF when compared to central chilled water system is


simpler to design, operate and maintain by eliminating
cooling tower, boiler, pumps and chemical treatment.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 6

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Pros (con't) :
VRF offers simultaneous cooling and heating on the same
piping network through the use of heat pump and heat
recovery systems with automatic changeover.

All brazed cooper piping system for more corrosion and


leak resistance compared to steel piping.

Long refrigerant piping lengths to accommodate many


types of applications.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 7

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Pros (con't) :
Low operating sound levels-58 dB at full load for outdoor
unit and 25dB for indoor unit.

Water balancing is eliminated and air balancing is


simplified.

Suitable for LEED credits on energy efficiency and Title 24


compliant.

Capacities are AHRI certified.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 8

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Cons:
VRF is a proprietary system. Mixing of parts from different
VRF manufacturers is not possible.

Operates at 530 psig which is considered very high


pressure piping system inside a building, which makes leak
protection essential.

Is suitable for certain heights and sizes of buildings.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 9

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Cons (con't) :
Occupancy sensors are not provided as part of the
system.

Maintenance accessibility for Branch Selectors and


Branch Controllers is required.

Can only be installed and maintained by VRF trained


personnel.

Few manufacturers are available which leads to lesser


competition.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 10

2. Pros and Cons of VRF Systems


 Cons (con't) :
System lifetime is not yet as predictable as the hydronic
systems.

Is not widely known by U.S. HVAC designers.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 11

3. Outdoor Installation
 For roof installation provide spring-type vibration isolators
with lateral restraints. Bolt isolators onto a 4 thick
concrete pad and onto bottom of condensing unit.
 Do not use wooden or sheet metal roof curbs under
units.
 On grade, install unit on a 4 concrete curb with
neoprene or cork isolators bolted to bottom of unit and to
concrete curb.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 12

Outdoor Installation cont


 - Use vibration isolators
Roof: spring-type
Grade: neoprene

 Bolt to concrete pad


 NO wood curbs
 NO sheet metal curbs

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 13

Units shall be braced so that they will not


laterally tilt due to high winds.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 14

Piping through roof should be run


through a pipe roof curb with flashing
around it.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 15

Flexible Connection

 When vibration isolators are provided,


provide 6 long flexible braided copper
connector on refrigerant piping that connects
to the unit. Do not bend flexible connectors
excessively.
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 16

Provide a services ball-type shut-off valve


with a charging port at the connection to the
unit.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 17

Insulation refrigeration lines with


thick closed-cell foam insulation.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 18

Piping should be supported every 6 feet or


less without pinching insulation.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 19

H. Follow manufacturers instructions regarding the amount of


required open space around the units to allow for adequate air
movement.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 20

Do not allow suspension rods, ducts, or conduits


to touch the piping (to avoid electrolysis).

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 21

Weather coat the outdoor insulation of piping with a


weather-resistant PVC coating. Valves should have
removable and re-installable covers.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 22

Labeling

 Label piping on roof with weather-resistant


pipe labels including directional arrows. Also
label condensing units with the equipment
numbers of the indoor evaporator units that
they serve. Follow ANSI A13.1 standards.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 23

Clean condenser fins where there is vegetation


buildup on the condenser tubing fins.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 24

Indoor Installation

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 25

Connect the ceiling supported unit to duct through a 4


long flexible connection. Do not allow kinks in the flexible
connection.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 26

Seismic Supports
 See manufacturer instructions
 See local codes

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 27

Condensate Waste
 Prefer gravity flow
 Use a trap
 Provide secondary
drainpipe

 Or: heavy-duty with


redundant pump

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 28

Connect the ceiling supported unit to duct through a 4


long flexible connection. Do not allow kinks in the flexible
connection.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 29

Condensate Drain Pan


 Provide drain pan
under unit separate
from the evaporator
unit drain pipe.
 If condensate pumps
are used put in drain
pan.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 30

Example of unit discharge ductwork from a


plenum box.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 31

Assure that filters, unit control panel, and fan


motor are all easily accessible for periodic
maintenance or replacement.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 32

Recommendations

Plumbing

HVAC

Maintenance

Design

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 33

Plumbing Recommendations
 Read the fine print with regard to limitations of piping
length. The length specified is the total equivalent pipe
length.
 Confirm pressure testing of pipes at 600 psig for 24
hours.
 3. The VRF system typically operates in the 300-400 psig
range, making leak protection essential.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 34

HVAC Recommendations
 A BacNet or Lonworks device is required to connect the
VRF controls to the rest of your building or campus
control system. This device will allow you to monitor the
VRF system, but not control it.
 If there are many confined spaces served by the VRF
system, there is a possibility that refrigerant detection
alarms may be required in order to meet ASHRAE
standards 15 and 34.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 35

Maintenance Recommendations
 The VRF system is a complete proprietary packaged
system, including its own related controls, except for the
refrigerant piping.
 You cannot intermix parts from the different
manufacturers of the VRF system.
 System maintenance requires an experienced refrigerant
technician who is familiar with applicable codes related to
refrigerants, leak detection, and ventilation requirements.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 36

Maintenance Recommendations
 When selecting a VRF system for your building, select
contractors that are trained and qualified to install this
system. Select a contractor who has experience
pressure testing refrigerant piping which has been
pressurized up to 600 psig.
 Keep in mind that the VRF system is all site-connected,
therefore quality of brazing, evacuating, and pressure
testing can affect the VRF system performance

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 37

Maintenance Recommendations
 Provide easy access to units on roof (not through an
access hatch or a catwalk).
 For the maintenance program, allow inspection of units
every three (3) months.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 38

Design Recommendations
 When comparing a VRF system to other air conditioning
systems, compare it to the 4-pipe fan coil system, or to a
water source heat pump system. Keep in mind the
systems lifetime and maintenance costs.
 If outdoor installation is within a mile of the ocean, or if
the air is otherwise salty, specify salt air resistant
coatings on unit exterior finish and on condenser copper
tubing and fans.
 Coordinate unit color selection with the architect.
Aesthetics can be especially important at some
installations.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 39

Questions

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

SLIDE 40

VRF Systems: The


Good, The Bad and The
Ugly

David Sellers, PE, Senior


Engineer
Facility Dynamics Engineering
NW Satellite Office
www.FacilityDynamics.com

The Commissioning
Perspective

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

JUNE 2 2011

The Commissioning Providers Perspective


Corporate Perspective
Limited VRF Exposure
Some Daikin and some Mitsubishi
No tests developed in our
commissioning database
One system designed by a senior
engineer in a past life (about 15
years ago in the Air Force)
Several people can hardly wait to
get inside a branch controller/point
of change-over
On person about to take factory
training

Early Commissioning Providers


VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

The Commissioning Providers Perspective


Personal Perspective
One new construction and one
retrocommissioning project with
Mitsubishi VRF equipment (both
current projects)
Exposure to built up direct
expansion systems since 1976
o

Dual mode system serving an


ice rink in winter and building
loads in the summer (See
Mentoring Field Technicians; A
Learning Experience for
Everyone Involved;
Proceedings - NCBC 2009)

Various commercial and


process projects

Early Commissioning Providers


VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Commissioning Process Goals


New Construction
s

Retrocommissioning* (MBCx
program context)

Verify:

Develop facility baselines

Installed performance
Design intent achieved
Enable persistence
o

Documentation
Commissioning record
System Manual

Train the staff

Identify and assess energy


efficiency opportunities
Coordinate with the Owner to
implement improvements
Verify goals are achieved
Enable persistence
Documentation

Try not to go crazy

Pre and post baseline reports

Have fun

Train the staff

Have Fun
A.K.A. Existing Building Commissioning, EBCx, RCx,
Recommissioning, Monitoring Based Commissioning,
Building Tune-up, and, when I first started, operating the
building properly

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Typical Issues
Cx/EBCx

VRF Experience to Date

Access/Serviceability

Access/Serviceability

Occupant satisfaction

Occupant satisfaction

Installation does not comply with


Manufacturer or industry standards

Installation does not comply with


Manufacturer or industry standards

Implementation of complex
technology difficult to achieve in
real world environments

Implementation of complex
technology difficult to achieve in
real world environments

Installation does not reflect design


intent

Installation does not reflect design


intent

Integration

Integration

Optional/2nd party equipment

Optional/2nd party equipment

Other HVAC processes

Other HVAC processes

Control systems

Control systems

Persistence

Persistence

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Access and Serviceability


During Construction

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Access and Serviceability


After Construction

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Simple Constant Volume AHU System Diagram

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

VRF System Diagram

Electronic expansion valve, variable speed


fan, filters, economizer dampers and related
controls above a 10 foot semi-hard ceiling

Ceiling plenum, shafts, and other


building structure provide relief
path

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

The Actual VRF System Diagram

To existing constant
volume reheat
zones
10

Filter Access

Filter Access Door:


Typical access interval
Open once every
6 to 12 months to
change filters

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

11

Filter Access

DDC Panel:
Typical rewire and/or
recommission interval
Once every 6 to
12 months if
mounted on filter
access door
Once every 6 to
12 years if
mounted
somewhere else
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

12

Branch Controller Technology


http://www.mylinkdrive.com/CityMulti/Software/CM_Refrigerant_Flow/

Image courtesy Mitsubishi Refrigerant Flow


Demonstrator; Used with Permission

13

Branch Controller Technology


http://www.mylinkdrive.com

Image courtesy Mitsubishi PRUY Service


Instruction; Used with Permission

14

Branch Controller Technology


http://www.mylinkdrive.com

Recommended
access opening
nominally 18 x
18

Small to medium
technical person - 20

Image courtesy
Mitsubishi
PRUY Service
Instruction;
Used with
Permission

15

Branch Controller Installed Location

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

16

Branch Controller Installed Location

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

17

Branch Controller Installed Location

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

18

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image courtesy Mitsubishi PRUY Service Instruction; Used with Permission

19

Branch Controller Service Procedures

20

Branch Controller Service Procedures

21

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image courtesy Mitsubishi PRUY Service Instruction;


Used with Permission

22

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image courtesy Mitsubishi PRUY Service Instruction;


Used with Permission

Typical service welding equipment


23

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image courtesy Mitsubishi PRUY Service Instruction;


Used with Permission

24

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image
courtesy
Mitsubishi
PRUY
Service
Instruction;
Used with
Permission

25

Branch Controller Service Procedures

Image
courtesy
Mitsubishi
PRUY
Service
Instruction;
Used with
Permission

26

Installation Practices
Refrigerant piping installation practice critical to short and
long term system integrity
General requirements no different from those employed
with any built up refrigeration system

Details associated with R410 systems may vary from


standard practice in the field at this point in time

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

27

Cleanliness Is Essential
Cleaned and Capped

Used to be Cleaned
and Capped
Cleaned to an ASTM
established limit for residue
Purged with dry nitrogen
Sealed with rubber plugs with
positive nitrogen pressure
inside the tuber

Continuous nitrogen purge


necessary during installation
Maintains factory cleaned
and capped integrity
Prevents contamination by
the oxides and residuals
produce by brazing
Mitsubishi recommends
brazing temporary caps on
pipes that are not connected at
the end of the day

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

28

Cleanliness Is Essential

Cleaned and Capped


Used to be Cleaned
and Capped

Moisture and refrigerant dont work well


together
Corrosion
Ice
Refrigerant oil problems
Motor problems
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

29

Cleanliness Is Essential

Cleaned and Capped


Used to be Cleaned
and Capped

Dirt and precision machinery dont work


well together
Moving parts in compressors
Small orifices in metering and control
valves and lubrication system
Chemical reactions with oil and
refrigerant
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

30

Field Joints
Field joints are made using a frustum of right circular

cone

Image
courtesy
Mitsubishi
PRUY
Service
Instruction;
Used with
Permission

31

Field Joints
Field joints are made using a 45SAE Flare joint

Operating Pressures
Refrigerant
Low Side
R22
55-70 psig
R410
95 - 135 psig

High Side
180 - 260 psig
305 - 410 psig
Image
courtesy
Mitsubishi
PRUY
Service
Instruction;
Used with
Permission

32

Field Joints

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

33

Field Joints

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

34

Flaring Tools; Theyre Not All Created Equal

Conventional flaring tools


press the flare onto the end of
the tube

Recommended flaring tool rolls


the flare onto the end of the
tube

Either way:
Metal to metal sealing mechanism
Lubricate flare before tightening
Images courtesy www.ridgid.com/; Used with Permission

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

35

Tightening the Connection

Lubricate with a refrigerant compatible oil


Use two wrenches
Use specified torque values

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

36

Torque Wrenches, Flare Nut Wrench and Crows


Foot

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

37

Tightening the Connection

Easier accomplished on the bench than in the air


Factory line sets minimize field flares
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

38

Vibration and Stress Relief


Branch controller support per
Mitsubishi requirements

Flare

Flare

Rigid support nominally with-in


20 per Mitsubishi requirements
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

39

Vibration and Stress Relief

Relative motion still possible


with out sway bracing

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

40

Refrigerant Oil
R22 systems use mineral oil as a lubricant
R410A systems use an ester oil, either ether oil or
alkylbenzene
Using the wrong oil can cause sludge and other problems
leading to failure

Tools use on R22 systems can be contaminated with


mineral oil and should not be used on R410A systems

Contamination can lead to sludge and other problems


R410 oil is an order of magnitude more hygroscopic than
R22 oil

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

41

Connecting to Existing Branch Controllers


Concern on the part of the new project contractor
regarding unknown quality of the previous contractors
work
Pipe installation practice
System evacuation and charging practice
Low charge in existing system due to leakage
Near Azeotropic refrigerant compounds the problem

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

42

Azeotrope
A mixture made up of two or more refrigerants with
similar boiling points that act as a single fluid. The
components of azeotropic mixtures will not separate
under normal operating conditions and can be charged
as a vapor or liquid

Definitions from the National Refrigerants web site; http://www.refrigerants.com/frame.htm

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

43

Near Azeotrope
A mixture made up of two or more refrigerants with
different boiling points that, when in a totally liquid or
vapor state, act as one component. However, when
changing from vapor to liquid or liquid to vapor, the
individual refrigerants evaporate or condense at different
temperatures. Near-azeotropic mixtures have a
temperature glide of less than 10 F and should be
charged in the liquid state to assure proper mixture (nonazeotropic) composition

Definitions from the National Refrigerants web site; http://www.refrigerants.com/frame.htm

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

44

Zeotrope
A mixture made up of two or more refrigerants with
different boiling points. Zeotropic mixtures are similar to
near-azeotropic mixtures with the exception of having a
temperature glide greater than 10 F. Zeotropic mixtures
should be charged in the liquid state

Definitions from the National Refrigerants web site; http://www.refrigerants.com/frame.htm

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

45

Control Sensor Installation

Damper face velocity = 800 fpm


Mixing plenum depth = 39

Do you think the mixed air


Sensor is really measuring
The mixed temperature?

Outdoor
Air

VRF Fan Coil


Single Point Mixed Air
Sensor Location

Dampers

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Return
Air

46

Economizer Outdoor Air Enthalpy Changeover Sensor

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

47

Economizer Outdoor Air Enthalpy Changeover Sensor

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

48

Economizer Outdoor Air Enthalpy Changeover Sensor

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

49

Economizer Outdoor Air Enthalpy Changeover Sensor


Are there any issues with this enthalpy
sensor installation given:

The duct is the outdoor air duct


The sensor is lying
on the bottom of
the duct,
unsecured

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

50

The Improved installation


Image courtesy Brian Nixon
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

51

The Improved installation


Image courtesy Brian Nixon
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

52

The Improved installation


Image courtesy Brian Nixon
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

53

VRF Unit Economizer Design Intent


Provide an economizer cycle
No mechanical cooling until the
economizer is on 100% outdoor air
(Code requirement; integrated
economizer)
Supplement the outdoor air cooling
as required (Code requirement;
integrated economizer)
Continue to use outdoor air until the
outdoor air is not suitable for cooling
(Code requirement; integrated
economizer)
Use minimum outdoor air if the
outdoor air enthalpy is not suitable
for cooling (Code requirement;
integrated economizer)
Do not heat until the economizer is
on minimum outdoor air (i.e. no
simultaneous heating and cooling)

Position to full return air if the VRF


system is off (critical given the OA
source)
Use no outdoor air in warm-up mode
if the space is not occupied
Use outdoor air in the cool-down
mode only if outdoor air is suitable
for cooling
Minimum outdoor air flow matches
contract document requirements for
minimum occupancy and maximum
occupancy
The demand controlled ventilation
system can over-ride the
temperature based control of the
economizer cycle if necessary to
maintain adequate ventilation.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

54

Design Intent Documentation


Required accessory on the VRF unit schedule
Code compliance required
Economizer supplier uses Honeywell W7212 which:
Can perform integrated economizer cycle (but also can do
a non-integrated economizer cycle

Can do warm-up/cool down if configured properly


Can close the dampers when the system is off if configured
properly

Can do either/or demand controlled ventilation cycle


o

Minimum occupancy air flow if CO2 below threshold

Maximum occupancy air flow if CO2 above threshold

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

55

Design Intent Documentation vs. Intent


Covered
by Documents
Provide
an economizer
cycle
No mechanical cooling until the
economizer
is on 100%
outdoor air
Covered
by Code
(Code requirement; integrated
economizer)
Supplement the outdoor air cooling
as required
(Codeby
requirement;
Covered
Code
integrated economizer)
Continue to use outdoor air until the
outdoor air is not suitable for cooling
Covered by integrated
Code
(Code requirement;
economizer)
Use minimum outdoor air if the
outdoor air enthalpy is not suitable
Covered
Code
for cooling
(Code by
requirement;
integrated economizer)
Do not heat until the economizer is
on minimum outdoor air (i.e. no
simultaneous heating and cooling)

Position to full return air if the VRF


Covered
W7212
Implemented
system by
is off
(criticalif given
the OA
source)
Use no outdoor air in warm-up mode
Covered
by W7212
if Implemented
if the space
is not occupied
Use outdoor air in the cool-down
mode only
if outdoor
is suitable
Covered
by W7212
if air
Implemented
for cooling
Minimum outdoor air flow matches
Covered
Documents;
Probably
contract by
document
requirements
for
minimum
occupancy
maximum
requires
TAB RFI and
to clarify
occupancy
The demand controlled ventilation
system can over-ride the
temperature
based ifcontrol
of the
Covered
by W7212
Implemented
economizer cycle if necessary to
maintain adequate ventilation.

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

56

Economizer Procurement
VRF Fan coil unit provided by
1st party
Includes wiring harness for
economizer interface

Economizer mixing box


installed by a 4th party
Economizer controls installed
by a 5th party

Includes generic wiring


diagram

Economizer must interface to a


building wide automation
system by a 6th party to do
demand controlled ventilation

Capable of a number of
change over strategies

Verification of design intent by


a independent 7th party

Economizer package provided


by 2nd party

Economizer mixing box and


controls provided by a 3rd party
Includes multiple product
specific data sheets with a
wide range of capability
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

57

The Result: The Economizer Doesnt Work


Confusion regarding the pre-functional testing
requirements
Must reference:
Contract documents (contractor charged with developing
and executing start-up and functional tests with spot
checks by the Cx provider after completion)

Economizer package documents (generic in nature)


Economizer controller documents (product specific in
nature but no project specific details)

Control system submittals (retransmits demand controlled


ventilation signal and BACnet interface)

California energy code (very thick book)


VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

58

Generic Economizer Package Documents

No wiring or check out information in one set of instructions


but a lot of product specific information
Generic wiring and a cut and paste check out procedure in a
different set of instructions but no product specific information
Both use a clicks on economizer change over switch as a
basis of design
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

59

Generic Economizer Package Documents


In the normal Berkeley
climate, it would be
possible for a clicks-on
with the tolerances
shown to disable the
economizer in the
afternoon of the first day
of August and not reenable it until September
some time

60

Generic Economizer Package Documents


There are many days in
many other months were
the same thing could
happen (the light green
band on the graphs is
the normal range)

61

Product vs. Project Specific Wiring Information

Honeywell documentation includes wiring diagrams for 9


applications
None are Mitsubishi systems
None are VRF systems
2010 Honeywell International Inc.; Used with permission
62

The Actual VRF System Diagram

Outdoor air provided by an economizer


equipped constant volume reheat system
VRF zones are variable volume and require
system control strategy change
VRF zones potentially interactive with each
other and constant volume zones
Must balance economizer benefits with
reheat penalty
VRF dampers currently not interlocked to
close with VRF shut down

To existing constant
volume reheat
zones
63

Conflicting Sensor Location Information


Discharge air vs. mixed air
Either will work but discharge air
location will cause the
economizer to generally
function like a non-integrated
economizer

Bad for maximizing energy


savings

Good for compressor


replacement costs in
packaged equipment with
limited or no turn-down
capability

2010 Honeywell International Inc.; Used with permission

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

64

Economizer Controller to VRF Control Integration


W7212 designed
to interlock with
the mechanical
cooling and keep
it off until the
economizer has
a chance to work
Economizer
package wiring
diagram shows
no interlocks
Field wiring for
intelock is there,
but wheres it
going?
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

65

Economizer Controller to VRF Control Integration


W7212 is
capable of a
warm-up and
cool-down cycle
(design intent)
but currently is
not wired for it

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

66

The Actual VRF System Diagram

Main AHU schedules are provided by the


building wide control system
VRF schedules are provided by the VRF
control system
Currently no communication of schedules
between the two systems

To existing constant
volume reheat
zones
67

Occupant Satisfaction

Space temperature
drifts up 2F in about 1
hour and 30 minutes

then is
driven
back down
2F below
set point
in about
20
minutes

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Three out of four


zones sampled at
random so far are
doing this

68

Occupant Satisfaction

Throttling Range

Meanwhile the pneumatic and chilled


water technology that is being replaced
by the VRF systems floated around within the throttling range of the controller
during the same time period

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

Two out of two


pneumatic zones
sampled at
random were
working this way

69

Technology Can Have its Limitations


VRF systems have turndown capability but not below
about 20-25% of capacity
Subject to issues related to over-sizing just like any
other approach
If the peak load potential in a zone is unknown, then
you know what you dont know
o Consider the minimum load potential
Seasonal load profile
Daily load profile
o Address the current reality with provisions for the
future potential
o Make sure you understand the details of the
technology you are about to embrace
VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

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Occupant Satisfaction

Comfort aside, this could


be costing energy in the
form of unnecessary
dehumidification

Note room dew point


dropping below
outdoor air dew point

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

71

The Machinery Can Be Made to Work

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

72

But it Requires Attention to Detail

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

73

And Taking the Time to Integrate Things

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

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Integration; The Commissioning Perspective


Integrate the equipment into a
working system
Verify design intent in the short
term
Ensure its persistence in the
long term
Integrate all the players into a
team to identify and solve
problems
Bring new technology into the
mainstream
Understand how it should work
Address prototypical issues
Early Commissioning Providers

Ensure it things keep working


for the life of the system

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

75

National Refrigerants
www.refrigerants.com

76

Principles of Refrigeration by Roy Dossat


Complex principles in understandable terms

VRF SYSTEMS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY; THE COMMISSIONING PERSPECTIVE

77

Other Resources
Trane Refrigeration Manual
http://www.trane.com/Commercial/Dna/View.aspx?i=492

Copeland Refrigeration Manual


http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-us/brands/pages/copeland.aspx
http://lvhvac.com/cope_bulletins/aeIndex.pdf

Sporlan Valve
http://www.sporlanonline.com/literature.shtml

Mueller Brass
http://www.muellerindustries.com/

ASHRAE Journal
Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems by William Goetzler, April 2007;
www.ashrae.org

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Questions

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