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Author Gary Fisher
Published Dec 07 2022
Last Updated Apr 14 2023

When VRF Systems make more sense than heating boilers.

What is a heating boiler?

Boilers have been around for centuries, but they came into their own when convection boilers were invented in the 1860s. This kick-started the steam-generating industry, where boilers fuelled the Industrial Revolution. But fast-forward 150 years to the Information Age. Cars are fuelled by batteries, we’re connected by Wi-Fi, and we’re building a station on the moon to eventually explore Mars. And yes, there’s been amazing advances in heating technology, too. But how do you know which heating system is right for you?

Heating boiler, costs and energy concerns.

As energy costs rise and building design becomes more advanced, some governments and large construction companies are moving towards high-efficiency electric solutions for heating and cooling. Meet the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system, an HVAC system invented in Japan in the 1980s to increase energy efficiency and heat and cool separate spaces in commercial buildings at the same time.

Alternative to heating boilers: Meet the VRF System.

VRF systems are either heat pumps or heat recovery systems that heat and cool buildings simultaneously on electricity. VRF systems haven’t been available in North America for long, but they’re already proving to be the system of choice for building owners looking to minimize costs, improve efficiencies, reduce carbon footprint, and provide excellent comfort conditions for building occupants.
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Advantages of VRF Systems vs heating boilers.

Cost Effective: VRF may cost more to install upfront compared to more traditional water source heat pump systems, but it will save you in the long run. With heating and cooling available in one, eliminating a separate heat source also means lower operating costs.
Energy Efficient: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, cold air lost through ducts accounts for more than 30% of our energy consumption.
Low Energy Consumption: A regular heat pump will run at 3 COP, whereas a VRF system runs at 4 to 4.5 COP efficiency while consuming up to 33% less energy.
Diverse Design: VRF systems can be installed anywhere. Piping can be run down a tall building without splitting units up. The compact size and design also mean VRF systems can be installed and retrofitted into small spaces.
Improved Comfort: Localized heating and cooling allow occupants to heat and cool different zones concurrently. It also means they’re not sharing air with anyone else.
Extremely Versatile: VRF systems offer heating and cooling in a single system, eliminating the need for a separate heat source. With the option of having no ductwork and smaller pipes mean VRF systems are highly customizable.

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Is a heating boiler or VRF System right for you?

While VRF systems may be considered the “greener” option, particularly for their reduced carbon footprint, there’s still a place for boilers. Heating boilers are typically lower in cost to install, have a long lifespan, and are incredibly reliable in colder climates. Contact us today to discuss your project needs and determine the best system for your energy goals and costs.

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True Constructible

True Constructible is an in-house approach we created to streamline the coordination of building and trades. This allows us to create buildable solutions while also being effective on-site.

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