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.
Split 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.
Multi-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.
VRF 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.
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.