UK: Panasonic VRF air conditioning systems have played a crucial role in IKEA’s new click and collect city centre store concept.

Derbyshire-based Panasonic distributor Logicool supplied the ECOi and ECO G systems to Wolverhampton-based TSG Electrical Services for IKEA’s new click and collect store in Birmingham city centre.

Designed to save city centre shoppers having to make long trips to its superstores, IKEA’s Birmingham store is the third example of the new format.

Describing the IKEA project as “a very exciting opportunity”, Logicool MD  Karl Richardson said: “It was particularly refreshing that, despite the tight project budget, IKEA worked with us and the contractor TSG to ensure that the quality of the solution remained high, rather than making cuts to the specification, which happens all too often on projects both large and small.”

The gas-fired ECO G system at IKEA, Birmingham

The chosen site in Dale End was formerly occupied by Toys R Us. It was approaching the end of its practical life, and is expected to be demolished in the next four years to make way for improvements to Birmingham city centre. While the short-term lease was seen by IKEA as ideal to trial the new store concept, it meant that the budget was restricted. The additional challenge of working in a city centre environment was the limited electrical power supply, meaning the site did not have sufficient power to deliver heating and cooling – via an electric VRF system – to both the front-of-house retail area and the back-of-house office.

Logicool supplied two Panasonic gas fired ECO G heat pumps to provide heating and cooling to the front of house retail areas.

Logicool and TSG reduced the number of indoor cassettes but increased the size of the fan coils to ensure that the system meet the specification without exceeding IKEA’s budget. In all, Logicool supplied 16 U1 type, 4-way, 90×90 cassettes.

In the staff offices and the collection and returns areas, Logicool used Panasonic’s electric-powered ECOi VRF system and the U1 type cassettes. Panasonic’s heat recovery control box was also used to further increase the efficiency of the system, in addition to CZ-RTC4 controllers.