Case Study – Rincon Gardens’ VRF System
A good example of a multi split VRF system installation is the retrofit that ABB designed at Rincon Gardens in Campbell, California Rincon Gardens is a 180,000 square foot, 3 story multi unit elderly housing complex. There are 200 residential units, a dining room, public activity areas and administrative offices.
The original building heating was provided by a hydronic baseboard system, with no air-conditioning. Retrofit of the building posed several challenges: The lack of ceiling space ruled out a ducted HVAC system. Individual room air-conditioning units were deemed energy inefficient, noisy and required exterior wall installation. The work needed to be conducted with continued occupancy of the building.
A VRF heating and cooling system offered an opportunity to achieve the goals of the project within the constraints of the existing building configuration. The outdoor heat pump units were installed on the rooftop. The low profile indoor room fan coil units fit in shallow ceiling spaces that were added to each residential unit. The small diameter refrigerant piping was easily routed through corridor ceilings and down inside standard wall spaces. Phasing of the installation work minimized disruption to the tenants. This was possible with a VRF system because of the independent control zones that could be activated without the entire system completed.
The resultant installation offers a highly efficient heating and cooling system, with individual room temperature control, central controls that offer monitoring, troubleshooting and the ability to track energy use of each tenant.
In summary, the choice of a multi split VRF heat pump system is especially suitable for existing building HVAC retrofit and upgrade projects.