VRF Fireworks at the DOE

This is some interesting information provided by Taco, concerning the VRF industry’s efficiency negotiations at the DOE:

The VRF industry has started another round of efficiency negotiations at the Department of Energy (DOE). Fireworks erupted during the October 15-16 meeting when PG&E presented two reports (links below) from the California Investor Owned Utilities (CA IOUs) claiming that the VRF manufacturers have been publishing unrepresentative equipment ratings that hurt their ability to cost-effectively serve their customers!

They then went on to present two analyses they conducted which evaluated system ratings and published performance data versus field data they collected and laboratory measurements they undertook through the Applied Technology Services (ATS) lab in San Ramon. They also performed sensitivity analysis on the IEER metric. The key take-a-way was that in both test the measured cooling IEER of the systems was approximately 50% that of the published IEER of the equipment. Stated another way, the published IEER’s are approximately 2X the measured IEER’s. This data corroborates what we have been seeing in the field, had documented at the ASHRAE headquarters building in Atlanta, Georgia, and have been touting at VRFrejected.org.

The testing and rating standards noted at the DOE working group meetings are governed by AHRI, Standard 1230. This standard is also currently under review and open for public comment. On November 19, the Hydronic Industry Alliance-Commercial (HIA-C) submitted comments in regards to the performance rating of VRF equipment [LINK]. Key areas of concern addressed the shortcomings of the standard as it is based on a residential unitary DX standard, which is not suitable for commercial application, highlighted by the testing being based on a maximum of 25 feet of piping, something rarely found in the field. The submitted comments also addressed the importance of accurate comparisons of operating efficiency in the heating mode, recommending that refrigerant piping length correction factors for Heating Capacity, COP, and HSPF must be developed along with adequately addressing what speed the compressor is to be tested at in heating mode.

PG&E VRF DOE Test Report 1

PG&E VRF DOE Test Report 2

Give us a call if you have any questions on this.

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