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HVAC plays vital sustainability role at Chester Zoo

UK: Mitsubishi Electric is to provide heating, cooling and ventilation equipment to Chester Zoo, the not-for-profit conservation zoo in Cheshire.

The partnership will see Mitsubishi Electric’s experts work with the zoo’s facilities and design teams to keep animals – like Chester Zoo’s critically endangered eastern black rhinos – warm. They will also provide heating, cooling and ventilation equipment in other buildings across the 128-acre site while reducing the zoo’s carbon emissions. 

Chester Zoo is a world-leading conservation and education charity that’s committed to preventing extinction and dedicated to raising awareness of conservation and environmental challenges. The zoo is aiming to be net zero in its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and net zero in its scope 3 emissions by 2050 at the latest. As part of this, it is actively working to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

“Right now we’re facing a global biodiversity and climate crisis. The time for action is now. That’s why it’s vitally important that, as a conservation charity that’s working to prevent the extinction of species worldwide, we lift our focus on sustainability to new heights,” said Chester Zoo’s head of sustainability Jennifer Kelly. 

“We know that we can’t be part of the problem that we’re trying to solve, and that’s where partnerships on sustainability are so important; collaborating to showcase best practice and inspiring others to act.”

The partnership was developed following two successful projects utilising Mitsubishi Electric equipment. The first involved air-source heat pumps, air conditioning and ventilation installed in the zoo’s new conference and events venue, The Square.

The second saw one of its rhino habitats, home to the critically endangered eastern black rhinos, heated by six Ecodan air-source heat pumps, which are manufactured in Scotland.   

“We need to keep our indoor rhino habitat temperatures between 18 and 24 degrees, but their home has big open doors, allowing the animals free movement to their outdoor habitat, which can lead to significant heat loss. The air source heat pump solution deployed shows the potential for heat pumps to be successful in challenging and unique environments,” Kelly said.

Each of the zoo’s buildings have very different requirements, based on their use, including the animals and species cared for in them. 

“We’re working with the zoo’s facilities teams to reduce carbon emissions and deliver energy efficient comfort across a diverse range of buildings with internal climates from African savannahs to South American rainforests,” added Mitsubishi Electric’s net zero design manager Chris Newman.

Chester Zoo is the most visited zoo in the UK, attracting around two million visitors each year, and was recently named as the best zoo in the UK by TripAdvisor. It was opened in 1931 and is one of the UK’s largest zoos. The 128-acre site is home to more than 37,000 animals and more than 500 species.  

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