Blatt is an energy utilization consultant based in Mountain View, CA, and has over 30 years experience in commercial building energy efficiency research. His consulting projects have included research on advanced space heating and cooling technology for the DOE, California Energy Commission, and the Electric Power Research Institute. He is an ASHRAE fellow and is active on several ASHRAE Technical Committees.
What was a primarily residential technology is ready for larger commercial settings. What was primarily embraced overseas is building momentum in the U.S. This update traces VRF progress, examines some strengths and weaknesses, and spans the globe in an effort to compile some cost comparisons with other alternatives.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.