Medical Construction & Design

JAN-FEB 2018

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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Page 52 of 62

48 Medical Construction & Design | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2018 | MCDM AG.COM Variable refrigerant fl ow heating and cooling systems are seeing wider use in outpatient service facilities for healthcare providers. VRF system applications in the domestic market have signifi cantly ex- panded over the past decade, predominate- ly in commercial, residential high-rise and industrial facilities. VRF system benefi ts include energy effi ciency, tighter thermal comfort and a lower initial construction cost relative to a traditional chilled water and heating hot water system. Recently, there has been a push to uti- lize VRF in the healthcare market, specifi - cally for outpatient facilities. The services in these facilities are growing quickly and range from primary care to imaging procedures and non-invasive surgery. VRF systems used in outpatient facilities have been successful but have also imparted plenty of lessons for future use. Those considering VRF systems for outpatient fa- cilities should consider the following: How should VRF systems be implemented to comply with the pertinent codes? What are the genuine cost savings? Once these fi rst questions have been answered, it's time to move to the next steps. STEP #1 Determine project goals At the beginning of a project, alternatives are considered, factors are weighed and the concept is formed. During this time, engineers should ask healthcare facility owners and operators specifi c questions. These questions help determine project goals, which can include initial cost, en- ergy effi ciency, maintainability, operations impacts, speed to construction comple- tion and many more. Factors like these determine whether a VRF system may be selected. The engineer must consider these factors, set a priority for each and then dive deeper to fi nd the best way to deliver a successful project. STEP #2 Dive deeper The two factors that have emerged as the most crucial are maintainability and how the owner plans to operate the system once the project is complete and the keys have been handed over. The basic maintenance required for a VRF system is very similar to a standard commercial packaged rooftop or split system DX unit. Therein is the key to a VRF system: the operations and facil- ity staff can utilize the equipment the same as in an offi ce space or even their homes, but there are important operational diff er- ences that the owner needs to be aware of. Unlike a traditional packaged rooftop unit or chilled water fan coil, the VRF system is tied together from zone to zone. This allows the system to share refrigerant and therefore, energy. In many ways, that is the key to the system's effi ciency. The potential downside to this is that issues with one zone can aff ect the others surrounding it, or even zones remote to the aff ected. For example, if there is a refrigerant leak with- in a space on the ground level of a building STEPS TO VRF Variable refrigerant fl ow considerations for outpatient healthcare facilities BY MIKHAIL FUKS $24B Expected volume of global variable refrigerant fl ow systems market by 2022 — 30% Average level of fi ltration in a commercial building with a MERV-8 — P2S Engineering, Inc. Outpatient Care ISSUE FOCUS Variable refrigerant fl ow layout in Autodesk Revit Software. This four-story medical offi ce building features a VRF system with heat recovery.

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