Industry News

How VRF Addresses Educational Facilities’ IAQ Challenges


Mitsubishi unit improving the indoor air quality

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is especially important in educational facilities. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, dust, gases and other contaminants circulate inside, creating breathing hazards and bad odors. As a result, schools face a host of mandates and codes relating to IAQ. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) zoning systems address this challenge in four ways:

Offering advanced filters. VRF’s indoor units have filters that capture and remove contaminants that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, spread illness and impact IAQ. Some manufacturers offer platinum deodorizing filters, which use nanotechnology to absorb odors to neutralize the worst smells. VRF’s filters are easily accessible and washable, and last up to 10 years.

Offering zoning abilities. Isolating air handling within a classroom helps contain a sick student’s germs — a boon to IAQ. Otherwise one child’s sneeze can get passed along to many people.

Continuously providing comfortable temperatures. With traditional, non-inverter technology, the HVAC systems tend to cycle a lot — turning on and off repeatedly. The frequent cycling causes major temperature swings and, potentially, health concerns. VRF meets the load of a space and maintains that load.

Integrating with ventilation systems. Schools typically have a high outside air requirement. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to address these needs while still maintaining, and even adding to, the energy efficiency of a VRF system. The approach considered will vary based on the project’s climate, but common solutions include bringing outside air into the VRF indoor units via inline fans, adding an Energy Recovery Ventilator or adding a Dedicated Outside Air System.

As VRF has continued to innovate and improve, it has evolved from being a good solution for educational facilities to the solution. Read more in our K-12 Educational Facilities White Paper.