"Zero Net Energy (ZNE) is the future, and in a growing number of places the present, of building design and energy policy. A growing strategy to get to ZNE is to separate the building’s heating/cooling from the ventilation/dehumidification. Design firms and owners are striving to meet heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) loads with optimum comfort and minimal energy. Radiant systems can provide heating and cooling through pipes while ventilation and any humidity control requirements are efficiently met by a Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS). This guide provides an overview of Radiant Heating and Cooling + DOAS systems."
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In the cold climate of the upper Midwest, air-source VRF systems have difficulty meeting heating loads when the outdoor temperatures drop below -5ºF. Because of this difficulty during common cold spells, they are either oversized (adding to system cost) or supplemental heat is added (adding to operating cost). Cold temperatures can also cause frost issues around outdoor units, as well as compressor failure. A VRF system served by a water loop—in place of air—does not have these issues, making the technology more practical and effective in cold climates such as the upper Midwest. A water-source VRF system can be connected to a boiler and cooling tower or, for even higher performance, a ground heat exchanger.