Almost twenty years ago, and 10 miles north of Iowa City in North Liberty, IA, we opened the doors of my mechanical and electrical engineering firm, A&J Associates PC. I had always questioned traditional HVAC design concepts, and I knew there were new, exciting, engineering models that went well beyond standard industry practices. Everyone was starting to talk about how to save energy, and I wanted to better understand the benefits of systems like geothermal, radiant cooling and heating, and variable refrigerant flow (VRF) zoning systems.
I originally became interested in VRF zoning technology after reading a magazine article in 2003. The article made the case for extreme energy conservation by combining several energy-efficient concepts into one total building HVAC system. I agreed that a multifaceted approach to HVAC design would overcome the usual shortcomings of using just one HVAC concept (such as VAV):