If you’re trying to choose between commercial air conditioning systems, you may be wondering what the differences are between Constant Air Volume (CAV) systems and Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems. Both are ventilation systems commonly used in commercial buildings, however there are some differences between the two.

CAV systems

CAV systems have two settings: on or off. When turned on, these systems provide a constant stream of air to every part of the building and they are very reliable and durable. CAV systems are an excellent choice for single-zone buildings because they are smaller and more affordable to install, however, CAV multizone systems can be very effective in cooling larger buildings.  

The two most common types of CAV systems are the mixed air system and the terminal reheat system. The mixed air system has one air stream for the coldest air needed in a certain zone, and one air stream for the hottest air needed. These two air streams are combined to create the desired temperature, however this system does not remove humidity from the air. The terminal reheat system supplies a constant stream of air at the desired temperature and is effective in keeping large buildings at a constant comfortable temperature.

Because the air flow can’t be moderated, CAV systems are good for commercial buildings that always need to remain at a certain temperature throughout, and when ventilation requirements are constant.

To recap the pros of CAV systems for commercial use: Affordable to install, very reliable and durable, ideal for single-zone buildings

VAV systems

VAV systems are ideal for spaces that have different cooling needs in different zones. For example, a smaller single room doesn’t have the same cooling needs as a cluster of larger rooms, and a VAV system can accommodate the variations. This system also dehumidifies the air, making it an excellent choice for commercial spaces where humidity levels must remain at a certain level, like libraries or museums, or rooms with a lot of electronics.

One of the biggest benefits of VAV systems is that they’re very energy efficient, even for enormous buildings. Cooling commercial spaces can be very costly, especially during the hot summer months, and VAV systems help keep monthly costs lower. You also get precise temperature control from room to room with a VAV system, as opposed to the CAV system, which is either turned on or turned off.

We recommend speaking with a commercial HVAC company when deciding on an air conditioning system. There are a variety of factors that will determine what’s right for you, including how big your space is, what type of space it is, and average crowd size, to name a few. 

To recap the pros of VAV systems for commercial use: Extremely energy efficient, gives you precise temperature control, removes humidity from the air, great for multi-zone spaces

A commercial HVAC company you can trust

At Tri-Tech Energy we provide a range of commercial heating and cooling solutions. Call our team today and discover why so many people partner with us for commercial air conditioning systems. We look forward to hearing from you.