What’s Dominating Design in Air-Conditioning?
Real Estate

What’s Dominating Design in Air-Conditioning?

The advent of VRV technology in the 1990s was a game-changer not just in terms of economic efficiency but aesthetics. Also, there have been advancements in chiller technology with magnetic levitation chillers—the most economical of all chillers—being the latest addition.

Further, Jamshed Banaji, Director, Banaji & Associates, shares, “There has been a steady rise in the advent and usage of non-conventional AC systems like radiant cooling and heating systems, chilled water beams and geothermal systems, which act as a good hybrid system when clubbed with conventional AC systems giving a whole NES dimension to the economic sustainability of the entire HVAC system as a whole.”

“A centralised cooling system is preferred as it encourages exposed ceilings and gives designers more room to experiment,” says Sapana Jain, Principal Designer, I Heart Homez. The exposed ceiling and ducting trend has surfaced recently not only for commercial spaces but residences as well.

Different segments demand different types of design requirements. Senthil Thangam, Senior General Manager, Commercial Air-Conditioning Division, Blue Star, says,“In general, customers look for energy-efficient system design, inverter technology, advanced controllers with building automation and web-based controls, and ease of installation and maintenance.” In the current market dynamics, he adds that customers need to go for fresh interiors once in three to five years. Hence, they look for machines in a horizon of only five years compared to 15 years in the past. “Customers are also looking for designs that take care of indoor air quality. This has led to the evolution of machines capable of inbuilt air filtration. This may become bare minimum specification in a couple of years considering the rise of pollution levels. Large residential complexes are moving towards more energy-efficient VRF systems from conventional split ACs.”

Special demands from architects and interior designers include low-noise systems, compact and sleek units suited for green building requirements, lower manual intervention and sustainable and eco-friendly systems.

“Customisation depends on the nature of the segments and projects,” says Thangam. “In general, VRF is suited for smaller applications. For projects with large areas, we have to customise the VRF with AHU kits.” He also shares the instance of large commercial applications with multiple users, where the major challenge is to tabulate individual power consumption. “To overcome this challenge, customised advanced tenant billing controllers are developed.”

In the recent past, smaller capacity VRFs have been customised for water-cooled applications to overcome the challenge. In India, Thangam says, “We can customise the right solution for any specific project to the maximum benefit of the customer only if we combine multiple types of products for various applications.” This will not only optimise the Capex but also the Opex of the project.

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