What are the Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioning System?

    Air conditioning is used in most commercial properties, ranging from small shops and cafés to large office buildings and public spaces.

    To meet these diverse applications, air conditioning systems have different heating and cooling capacities and come with various setups and layouts.

    There are almost infinite configurations within each category, but the main types of commercial air conditioning are:

    • Single Split System
    • Multi-Split System
    • VRF or VRV System

    They all use the same basic technology and identical wall- or ceiling-mounted indoor units. However, they have very different applications, so it’s important to find out which is best for you.

    Types of Commercial Air Conditioning System SplitSplit System Air Conditioning

    Single splits are the most affordable type of air conditioning system and suitable for use in small commercial buildings. They provide heating and cooling to individual rooms, making them ideal solutions for small offices, shops, cafés and server rooms.

    They can also be used in combination to serve larger spaces and multiple rooms. The only downside is that you need enough external space to have one outdoor unit for every indoor unit.

    However, there are advantages to doing it this way. Firstly, it’s often cheaper than installing a central system, and, as each system is self-contained, if one unit breaks down, the others remain fully functional.

    Even though they’re the cheapest type of air conditioning, single splits are effective and energy-efficient systems. Their versatility makes them great for all kinds of applications and they’re extremely popular with small businesses.

    Types of Commercial Air Conditioning Systems Multi-SplitMulti-Split System Air Conditioning

    Multi-splits work in exactly the same way as single splits but, depending on the model, you can connect up to nine indoor units to one outdoor unit. They’re most frequently used in places like restaurants, offices, doctor’s surgeries and shops.

    It’s always preferable to have fewer outdoor units, particularly if you lack space or want to preserve your building’s external appearance. That gives multi-splits a distinctive advantage over several single splits.

    Another selling point is that you aren’t limited to using just one type of indoor unit. If you wanted to, you could have any combination of wall- and ceiling-mounted air conditioning units, along with an air curtain over the entrance.

    However, multi-split systems are slightly more complex and require more pipework than several single splits. That can make the installation more expensive and take longer, particularly if you’re only looking to install a few indoor units.

    Ultimately, the best solution depends on the layout of your building and the heating and cooling capacity you require.

    Types of Commercial Air Conditioning VRF VRVVRF or VRV Air Conditioning

    VRF stands for variable refrigerant flow, while VRV stands for variable refrigerant volume. It might seem confusing but they mean exactly the same thing.

    Daikin originally developed the technology, calling it VRV, but then protected the term to stop other manufacturers from using it. That’s why everyone else calls it VRF.

    VRF/VRV air conditioning is the best solution for medium to large applications, including hotels, retail spaces, larger offices and mixed-use buildings.

    The systems are extremely efficient, reliable and easy to control, capable of meeting larger buildings’ complete heating and cooling requirements. They also come with reduced installation times, minimising disruption.

    There are two types of VRF/VRV system, heat pump and heat recovery. Heat pump VRF/VRV systems can provide either heating or cooling to a building at any given time, making them ideal for open plan areas.

    Heat recovery VRF/VRV systems are capable of providing simultaneous heating and cooling to different areas at the same time, making them perfect for buildings with lots of individual rooms. The most efficient commercial air conditioning systems, they recover waste heat from around the building, using it to heat other rooms and hot water. Heat recovery systems are also more flexible, as you have the option to heat one room while cooling another.

    If you’d like B-DACS to install one of these commercial air conditioning systems, give us a call on 0141 773 3355 to arrange a free site survey.



    16 Responses to “What are the Different Types of Commercial Air Conditioning System?”

    1. Gary Puntman

      It’s good to know that VRF air conditioning systems are the best choice for larger spaces. I’m sure they’re a good option for hotels, like you said. It’s nice that they can simultaneously provide both heating and cooling at the same time too.

    2. Lilia Robberts

      My home never gets cool enough for me in the summer. My family laughs at me and says that I am just overly sensitive to heat, but I really do want to redo how I cool my home. Thank you for sharing the different systems! I didn’t know that there were three main methods of cooling the home: single split system, multi-split system, VRF or VRV system. Thank you so much! I will definitely need to research and look into the best way to cool my home.

    3. Gary Puntman

      It’s good to know that single split air conditioning systems are the most affordable type. It’s good to know that they are a good option for small shops. My friend has been thinking of opening her own coffee shop, so that would be a good option for her cooling.

    4. Taylor Bishop

      Thanks for helping me learn about different air conditioning systems. The VRF one seems interesting especially since it’s good for big applications, like hotels. I’m interested to learn how you can calculate to figure out just how many of these units you need depending on your building.

    5. Taylor Bishop

      Thanks for helping me learn more about different commercial air conditioning systems. The Split systems seem interesting, especially since they are versatile for different applications. You mentioned they are good for small offices and shops, and I wouldn’t mind knowing if they are only ideal for smaller buildings.

    6. Jenna Hunter

      It is good to have this information about the different types of commercial AC. My husband has an office outside our home and needs to have a new AC installed. I will pass along the information so he can pick which one is best for the building.

    7. Melissa

      Amazing post! Your article is full of information. Many people never knew that there are many kind of systems for commercial buildings.
      Thank you for an amazing article,

    8. Jeremy Thompson

      I was looking into some commercial air conditioning as I think one of those at our home would surely be a great help in dealing with the heat during summer. The single split system air conditioning you have mentioned is something that is very likely to fit our home as it fits the needs of small commercial buildings, such as small offices, shops, cafes, and server rooms. I’ll try to read more on these air conditioning before trying to see if they’ll suit my needs. Thanks!

    9. Deb Pearl

      I have always wondered if stores and offices had different air conditioning systems than a home does. That is really cool that there are refrigerant systems that are very reliable and easy to control, that help meet cooling requirements for larger buildings. From the picture it looks like they can have the system as big as they need it too. That is really cool.

    10. Ashley Turns

      Thanks for pointing out the fact that multi-splits are a great choice since you are able to use up to nine indoor units for every outdoor one you have. The company I work for is planning on installing some new commercial air conditioning units and are wondering what model would be best for them. Since I’m sure they would prefer to save room outside, I’ll tell them that they should get multi-splits for their commercial air conditioning system.

    11. Ibraheim M.Ali

      Great enlightening post , amazing thing that the differents which appears when the heat is used properly , keep on sharing .

    12. Paul Da Suave

      Thx,,,,very educative article for researcher like me,,,,keep up

    13. Benjamin

      Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.

    14. Paul Langley

      This was a really helpful article full of info about multiple types of commercial AC units. I never knew there were this many kinds of systems for commercial buildings, but I guess there would need to be differences depending on the location, climate, or size of the building. Thanks for writing, this answered a lot of my questions about commercial air conditioning.

    15. Coolnomix

      It’s interesting how many people think air conditioning means that the unit just re-uses the same air from the office all day – when that couldn’t be further from the truth!


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