Multifunction Chillers (also known as Heat pump chillers) provide the ability to fulfil not only your cooling but also your heating requirements.
Traditionally, in a chilled water based AC system (as opposed to a DX –refrigerant – based system), a chiller is used to provide chilled water and a gas fired boiler is used to provide the hot water. A multifunction chiller is able to provide both the hot and chilled water in a single package.
If you already have a chilled water system or are looking to install a new system there are some obvious benefits to this type of system:
One piece of plant providing all your climate control needs.
- One piece of plant providing all your climate control needs.
- Potentially making your Gas fired boiler redundant
- Reduced installation costs.
- Reducing your maintenance requirements.
Multifunction chillers have a number of cost saving features:
Inverter driven screw compressors enable the systems to run at partial capacity. This allows the chiller to run at its optimal energy consumption.
Heat recovery allows the chiller to transfer heat from the cooling loop to the heating loop, reusing any heat that would be lost in conventional chillers.
Advanced control interfaces allow authorised users to monitor and fine tune the running parameters of the chiller
A Multifunction Chiller System uses water instead of refrigerant to transfer heating & cooling around a building. This gives it a number of advantages over the alternative VRF (DX) type refrigerant system.
Environmental Impact – using water to transfer heating and cooling means that there is less refrigerant used. Refrigerants are fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gases) that when released into the atmosphere damage the Ozone layer.
Safety – In the event of a leak on a DX system there is potential for refrigerant to escape into the building it is serving. This can become a suffocation hazard if the refrigerant leaks into a small enclosed area (such as a small hotel room).
Scope – DX systems have a maximum pipework length and height, water based systems do not have the same constraint provided the pipework is insulated appropriately and the pump can provide the flow.
Maintenance – The fan coil units are located within the building are less complicated than their DX counterpart. This means the majority of maintenance is performed in a central location rather than in various places in a potentially occupied area.
Depending on your situation, Multifunction chillers may be an option worth considering when replacing your existing chiller or installing a new system. Another option could be a Hybrid VRF system – which we will cover in an upcoming blog.