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Case Studies of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems

Spring 2011
These links are provided as information only and are not in any way to be considered a comprehensive listing or as an
endorsement by PG&E. All links were current at time of list creation. An electronic version of this list is available at

Related Online Resources:

Air-Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
ARI is a national trade association representing manufacturers of air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration
equipment. It develops and publishes technical standards; supports and assists training; and certifies
performance ratings of products. All guidelines and standards for systems and equipment are listed on the site
ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides
ASHRAE developed design guides for six building types; schools, retail, healthcare, offices, hospitality, and
warehouses. The goal of these guides is to provide users with the tools to achieve building energy savings that
are 30% above the savings of buildings that meet the minimum requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 1999.
ASHRAE Technical Committee TC 8.7 VRF
This ASHRAE committee focuses on the design, performance, and application of variable refrigerant flow systems
in commercial buildings. News, committee meeting information, and a list of published articles are included on this
The 2008 and 2010 California Green Building Standards can be downloaded from this page. New Guides to the
CALGreen Code and other related publications are also available.
California Building Climate Zone Map
A detailed map of Californias 16 climate zones can be downloaded here. A Google Earth version of the map
and lists of climate zones by city or zip code are also available.
California Commissioning Collaborative
The California Commissioning Collaborative is a group of government, utility, and building service professionals
organized to develop and promote commissioning practices in the California. The CCC site includes over 40 case
studies, and a great Library under its Resources heading that contains articles, white papers, guides, and sample
commissioning documents.

Energy Efficiency Class Resources

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California Energy Commission. Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards and Manuals
The CECs web site provides access to the new Title 24 Standards, Residential and Nonresidential Compliance
Manuals, Alternative Calculation Manuals, and the 2008 Reference Appendices. Links are also provided for
information about Computer Compliance Software and HERS regulations.
Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). Commercial HVAC Installation Guidelines
Both the Guidelines for Energy-Efficient Commercial Unitary HVAC Systems and the accompanying White Paper
can be downloaded from CEEs site. The Guidelines provide best practices, selection criteria, and details of
components and systems. HVAC commissioning is also outlined and discussed.
DDC Online. Iowa Energy Center
The Iowa Energy Center provides unbiased information on Direct Digital Controls. This site includes a guide to
controls manufacturers and their products, an introduction to Direct Digital Controls, and an Input/Output Tutorial.
Energy Design Resources. HVAC Design
EDR provides access to resources to facilitate and educate building professionals in the design and operation of
energy efficient buildings. The HVAC Design category includes design briefs, the Advanced Variable Air Volume
(VAV) Systems Guidelines, and design software tools that cover a variety of efficient HVAC design techniques
and technologies.
Energy Star. Tools and Resources for Building Energy Management and Improvement
This is the Energy Star programs gateway to documents and software for measuring, managing, and improving
commercial facility energy usage and financial performance. Among these useful tools are the Portfolio Manager
program and the Target Finder program for assessing and setting targets for building energy performance.
Energy Star also provides a directory for locating Energy Star labeled energy efficient products and services.
Ground Source Variable Refrigerant Flow Heat Pumps: A Solution for Affordable Housing, Assisted
Living, Hotels and Dorms
This 8-page fact sheet from Washington State University Extension Energy Program discusses the use of VRF
heat pumps in multiple-unit buildings. A description of the technology, its benefits, potential energy savings and a
case study are included.
LEED Green Building Rating System Version 3
This newest version of LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations launched in April 2009. Learn about
the updates to this version, opportunities for LEED training, webcasts, and LEED credentials here. The LEED
Reference Guides can be downloaded or ordered in hard copy from this USGBC site. Project Profiles and Case
Studies can be found under the Resources navigation tab.
National Building Controls Information Program (NBCIP)
NBCIP was established by the Iowa Energy Center and provides unbiased information on building control system
products and strategies, including reports that describe the actual performance of products tested by the program.
All publications on the site can be downloaded free of charge.

Energy Efficiency Class Resources

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New Buildings Institute

The New Buildings Institute is a nonprofit group that provides services and resources to designers and operators
of commercial buildings who wish to achieve higher performance from their facilities. Many of NBIs papers and
publications are available for download. A link to the Advanced Buildings suite of tools and publications is also
Tool Lending Library at the Pacific Energy Center
The Tool Lending Library (TLL) site contains images and descriptions for its data collecting devices from over 100
vendors. Application Notes describe measurement techniques and provide step-by-step instructions for using
specific tools. The TLL has a search feature to help you select the right tools for your project. A tool request form
and contact information is also provided.
Variable Refrigerant Flow: An Emerging Air Conditioner and Heat Pump Technology.
This paper by Ammi Amarnath and Morton Blatt was presented at the 2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy
Efficiency in Buildings. The paper discusses the evolution of the technology, its advantages and disadvantages.
Whole Building Design Guide. High-Performance HVAC
This recently updated section of the WBDG presents a comprehensive overview of high performance HVAC
equipment and systems. It also describes practices for reducing HVAC energy use, emissions, and costs.

Building Automation Protocols

This official ASHRAE Web site provides the latest information on BACnet; vendors; a bibliography of articles,
papers and books; ASHRAE SSPC 135 news; and related activities.
BACnet International
BACnet International promotes the use of BACnet in building automation and control systems. The site includes
information about their testing laboratory, testing results, and guidelines.
Echelon LonWorks
The creators of the LonWorks Systems solutions provide product descriptions, information about training
opportunities, white papers, data sheets, manuals, and other technical documentation on their site. Guides for
LonMark are available in the documentation section of Support category.
LonMark International
LonMark is an association of manufacturers and end-users that promote the interoperability of LonWorks based
systems. This site includes product information, design guidelines, news, and white papers.

PG&E Resources:
Business Tools
PG&E Business Tools include Energy Usage, Billing History and Rate Comparison Tools.

Energy Efficiency Class Resources

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Demand Response Incentives

Information on the various Demand Response incentives offered by PG&E can be found here.
Energy Analyzer and Audits
Here are quick on-line tools for identifying and analyzing business energy use. Tools include a Do-It-Yourself
Energy Audit.
Large Business Energy Management Solutions
Here you will find information about cash rebates and incentives for replacing existing equipment with new energy
efficient technologies or purchasing new equipment. Design assistance for a new facility and system process is
also available.
Small and Medium Businesses Energy Management Solutions
Information about rebates, incentives, and resources available for your retrofit or new construction project can be
found here.
Partners and Trade Professionals
PG&E program partners, local contractors and trade professionals offer special assistance in implementing
energy efficiency measures for your business.
PowerPathway offers a Portfolio of programs aimed at building capacity within the state of California to produce
the skilled workers needed by PG&E and the energy and utility industry. The PowerPathway Portfolio includes
four separate but interconnected efforts: Career preparation, Industry workforce challenges, Education, and
Green communities.
Rebates, Incentives, and Resources
Rebate catalog for lighting technologies, incentive information, and other resources are available here.
Third Party Incentive Programs and Fact Sheets
PG&E has partnered with energy efficiency specialists in order to extend the reach and effectiveness of energy
efficiency, demand response, renewable energy, and self-generation programs. A fact sheet describing all of the
specialists and their energy efficiency programs can be downloaded here. Use the search function to find
information about all of the programs that are available for your market segment.

Print Resources Available in the PECs Resource Center:

ASHRAE GreenGuide: the Design, Construction and Operation of Sustainable Buildings. ASHRAE, 2006
ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005: The Commissioning Process. ASHRAE, 2005
ASHRAE Guideline for Commissioning HVAC Systems. ASHRAE Standard 1-1989
ASHRAE Handbook. Fundamentals. ASHRAE, 2009
ASHRAE Handbook: HVAC Systems and Equipment. ASHRAE, 2008
ASHRAE Handbook on HVAC Applications, ASHRAE, 2007

Energy Efficiency Class Resources

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Energy Standard for Buildings except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. ASHRAE/ANSI Standard 90.12007
Engineering Weather Data. Michael Kjelgaard. McGraw-Hill, 2001
Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Design Methods for Architects. Norbert Lechner. John Wiley & Sons, 2000
Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings, 10th ed. Benjamin Stein, ed. Wiley, 2006
Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings. ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard
Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy. ASHRAE 55-2004
Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, ASHRAE 62-2007


ASHRAE Journal
o Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems, William Goetzler. April 2007 issue, p.24+
Energy and Buildings
o Variable Refrigerant Flow Systems: A Review, T.N. Aynur. July 2010 issue, p.1106+
HPAC Engineering

Other Print Resources:

Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings, 11th edition. Walter Grondzik, et al. Wiley, 2009

Energy Efficiency Class Resources

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