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Understanding Common Types Of Commercial HVAC Systems

When you’re faced with the task of choosing a new or replacement HVAC system for your business, it’s essential to understand the different types of commercial systems you’ll have to choose from. A system that is adequate for your building and the business you conduct is critical for keeping employees and customers comfortable. To go a step further, multiple studies have been conducted that show productivity declines when employees are too hot or too cold

While this may be as simple as changing the thermostat for a lot of businesses, other businesses can’t keep employees comfortable because their HVAC system is inefficient (or an overachiever!). Avoid this by understanding the common types of commercial HVAC systems so you can choose the best one for your needs. 

Types Of Commercial HVAC Systems

Single Split

A single split commercial HVAC system is composed of an indoor evaporator unit paired with an outdoor condenser unit. It is a smaller, self-contained system that is easily controlled with a standard thermostat panel. It is one of the most affordable types of commercial HVAC systems and is ideal for smaller commercial spaces, such as coffee shops, individual retail stores, small office suites, and professional offices like those for private doctors and dentists or lawyers. 


A multi-split commercial HVAC system is similar except that it allows you to pair multiple indoor units to one outdoor unit. This allows you to heat and cool multiple spaces using less energy, preserves the aesthetics of the exterior of your building, and uses low-profile refrigeration piping instead of ductwork. Multi-split systems are ideal for larger spaces like doctors offices, large retail stores, restaurants, and office suites. The main advantage of both single- and multi-split systems is that if one unit breaks down, the others will continue to work. 


Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) or Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) are configured similar to multi-split systems, with multiple indoor evaporator units paired with an outdoor condenser unit. It works by continually varying the level of refrigerant to meet the needs of each indoor evaporator unit, making them more energy-efficient. 

VRVs and VRFs come in two types – either heat pump or heat recovery. A heat pump system heats or cools, but not both simultaneously. A heat recovery system can heat and cool simultaneously. Both types of systems are ideal for larger commercial spaces, but a heat recovery system is generally preferred when there are many smaller rooms within a large building, as is the case in hospitals or hotels. 


Constant Air Volume (CAV) and Variable Air Volume (VAV) are commercial HVAC systems that are ideal for very large spaces where a constant temperature and ventilation is needed, such as stadiums, manufacturing facilities, and warehouses. CAV systems operate at full air volume capacity with variable temperature, whereas with VAVs the air volume varies while the temperature is constant. VAVs are more energy-efficient and can be installed with multiple zones to heat or cool specific areas within a large facility. 

Trillium Facility Solutions Helps You Choose The Best Commercial HVAC System

When it’s time to choose a new or replacement HVAC system for your business, Trillium Facility Solutions can partner you with a trusted local commercial HVAC contractor. They can assess your building and business operations to make a recommendation for the best type of system for your needs and budget. 

Get in touch with any of our team members who are standing by ready to serve! Call (844) 818-5713 to learn more.

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