Heat Recovery – The Basics

En route to a more sustainable built environment and energy efficient buildings, heat recovery remains an underexplored avenue to energy and operational cost savings. Here are the answers to three important questions that should not leave any building manager looking to future-proof commercial buildings cold.

1. What is Heat Recovery?
In the quest to create a clean and comfortable indoor climate, Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) with integrated heat recovery technology helps to maintain air circulation and effects comfort without wasting energy.

A 3-pipe system simultaneously provides heating and cooling, allowing for zoned thermal control. The heat extracted from zones that require cooling is effectively transferred to the fresh supply air in a highly efficient heat recovery exchanger and put to good use in spaces that need heating. Alternatively, waste heat can be reclaimed to provide low temperature hot water, under floor heating and air curtains.

Cooling or heating individual building zones as required means that building occupants have greater control over the building’s interior temperature and can therefore be sure to experience comfort throughout the seasons.

2. How can heat recovery reduce running costs and CO2 emissions?
VRV heat recovery is not only more sustainable; it is equally a cost-efficient avenue to indoor comfort. VRV solutions can dramatically reduce the cost of hot water and heating by recovering heat and reusing it in a precisely controlled way.

Importantly, VRV heat recovery manipulates evaporating and condensing temperatures to always meet the required cooling and heating loads. Systems are designed ideally to maximise operation in balanced mode, whereby efficiencies exceeding COP 7 can be achieved.

As an added bonus, with the ability to recycle up to 100% of heat, VRV heat recovery does not only reduce heating cost but also cuts CO2 emissions where recovered heat would have otherwise been rejected and given off into the atmosphere.

A well-maintained VRV heat recovery system can last in excess of 17 years and its modular nature supports the replacement of different components, extending its whole life span. This allows the latest technology to be incorporated, which can result in lower maintenance costs and higher energy efficiencies.

The adoption of renewable energy technologies like heat recovery is facilitated by government incentives that allow commercial and public building owners to receive financial support, e.g. through Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA).

3. How can VRV heat recovery meet your building needs?

VRV heat recovery systems can be sized to suit the cooling and heating needs of most commercial buildings, even those over 5,000m², and are designed to seamlessly integrate with existing building systems to maximise cost and energy efficiencies.

The ability to use custom design tools, combined with modular flexibility, total heating and cooling system integration and intelligent controls means that the system can be adapted to changing tenants and occupant levels. This makes VRV heat recovery a versatile whole building solution, enabling it to meet both current and future building needs.

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