Hitachi and Johnson Controls: the best of both worlds in optimized VRF systems

Hitachi is the third largest VRF system manufacturer in the world. Johnson Controls has invested $2.8B in acquiring 60% of Hitachi Air-Conditioning division, bringing to the North American market the best of both worlds: unmet VRF technology from a global VRF manufacturer via one of the most respected manufacturers of conventional HVAC systems and controls.

Johnson Controls has recently launched the Hitachi SmartFlex™ Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Gen II, the second generation of VRF HVAC equipment for the North American market.

Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF Gen II offers many significant enhancements, such as a re-engineered outdoor unit line with an impressive operating range and a wider selection of single module sizes, an indoor unit line that includes re-engineered ducted units with greater static pressure, a full range of multi-port change-over boxes for heat recovery systems and improved controllers.

hitachi product line

The cost-effective, energy-efficient choice

Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF systems rank impressively high in the ratings that matter most for VRF technology: simultaneous cooling and heating efficiency (SCHE), and integrated energy efficiency ratio (IEER).

VRF systems effectively address the ongoing challenge of climate control in buildings – balancing comfort and efficiency – by delivering just the right amount of heating and cooling to every space through DC inverter scroll compressors that save energy and avoid the wear and tear of frequent cycling.

VRF systems have the ability to spend the vast majority of time at part load, reaching full load only on the hottest or coldest days. Therefore, the traditional measure of HVAC equipment, energy efficiency ratio (EER)is not appropriate for properly sized VRF systems.

Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF systems excel against truer measures of efficiency:

  • Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF systems carry SCHE ratings as high as 32.2.

    SCHE applies to VRF systems with energy recovery features. It is defined as the ratio of a system’s total capacity (heating and cooling) to the effective power consumption. Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF systems carry SCHE ratings as high as 32.2.

  • Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF systems carry IEER ratings as high as 26.5.

    IEER expresses cooling efficiency based on weighted operation at various part-load conditions.

  • Hitachi SmartFlex™ has COP 47°F and COP 17°F values up to 4.25 and 2.78, respectively.

    The Coefficient of Performance (COP) ratio expresses the efficiency of a heat pump while in heating mode. COP rating according to AHRI is calculated at two different ambient temperatures, 47°F and 17°F.

    hitachi VRF energy efficiencyKey Benefits

    • Exceptional efficiency with an average of up to 39% energy savings for some applications compared to conventional HVAC systems.
    • Flexibility to specify a customized modular system to the exacting requirements of each project, with options that include heat pump and heat recovery systems and a host of fan coil options.
    • Freedom for designers to choose ducted systems with short or long runs, or non-ducted systems that require much lower clearance between building floors (and reduce construction costs as a result).
    • Impressively quiet comfort, with control to deliver precisely the correct amount of heating or cooling to each zone.

    Hitachi VRF Product Line

    Indoor Units

    Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF indoor units operate quietly and are easy to install, service and maintain. A wide variety of non-ducted and ducted units are available in styles and capacities to fit multiple applications. Units operate quietly with sound ratings as low as 26 dBA.

    Hitachi Indoor Units

    Outdoor Units

    Reliable, quiet Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF outdoor units are available in capacities to fit multiple applications and operate multiple indoor units. Heat pump and heat recovery units provide flexibility of design for a variety of building spaces and ambient conditions. Units operate quietly with sound ratings as low as 51 dBA.

    1. Heat Recovery Units

    Heat recovery units can heat and cool spaces simultaneously. Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF Gen II Heat Recovery units offer an extended operating temperature range: outdoor ambient temperature as low as -4°F (-20°C) in the cooling mode utilizing a low ambient kit and as low as -13°F (-25°C) in the heating mode. Simultaneous heating and cooling operating range is from -4°F to 75°F.

    1. Heat Pump Units

    Heat pump units can either heat or cool spaces. Hitachi SmartFlex™ VRF Gen II Heat Pump units offer an extended operating temperature range: outdoor ambient temperature as low as -4°F (-20°C) in the cooling mode utilizing a low ambient kit and as low as -13°F (-25°C) in the heating mode.

    1. Optional Parts and Accessories

    The new Multi-Port Change-Over Boxes provide unprecedented design freedom. And the new low ambient kits enable VRF Gen II systems to offer an unprecedented operating range.

    Taking technology to the next level of performance

    Hitachi now offers a full line of Change-Over Box options. These include Single-Port Change-Over Boxes in two sizes and Multi-Port Change-Over Boxes with 4,8 and 12 ports for ultimate flexibility in system design.

    Our Change-Over Boxes offer:

    • Built-in simplicity

      The Change-Over Box directs refrigerant to the desired zone and indoor unit(s). Since our design does not produce and condensate, no drain or condensate considerations are required.

    • Quieter operation

      Each box has a minimum number of valves that are engineered to minimize noise and condensation. This increases placement flexibility.

    • Reliable performance

      Valves in Change-Over Boxes work according to the cooling and heating demand of each zone. For added reliability, they are protected with a fine mesh strainer in the refrigerant circuit. Plus, an optimized box design enables easy service access if required.

    hitachi VRF II generation

    Game-changing Solutions for Unprecedented Control

    Hitachi SmartFlex VRF systems offer a wide range of control systems to suit multiple applications. The VRF Control Systems include wired and wireless controllers that manage zones and central stations for central control of the entire system. The Johnson Controls VRF Smart Gateway (BACnet)® and the LONWorks® adapter provide control through building automation systems.

    Johnson Controls’ revolutionary VRF Smart Gateway achieves what competitive products only approximate: complete integration of VRF system data with building automation systems such as Facility Explorer® BAS. Unlike other BACnet® adapters, the VRF Smart Gateway makes integration fast and simple.

    Hitachi VRF Smart control

    No special programming or expensive technician time is required because VRF system data is automatically discovered and imported into your BAS, making it possible to install an energy-efficient Hitachi SmartFlex VRF HVAC system without incurring high integration costs or sacrificing data access or equipment control.

    To learn more about Hitachi and its products, contact us or visit Hitachi website.