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R32 goes large in commercial air conditioning refurbishment

UK: A former tram station in Bristol has become the first building in the UK to benefit from large scale R32 air conditioning.

The 1930s Art Deco building in Gloucester Road was originally a main station for electric trams, and is now occupied by one of the largest environmental business networks in the UK – Future Economy Network.

Renamed, the Future Leap Hub, the refurbished ground floor now brings together likeminded companies and acts as a showcase for sustainable businesses. It offers a carbon neutral, co-working space, meeting rooms and an event space for hire, in which weekly, sustainability-themed events are hosted.

Future Leap has been very pleased with the end result: “We looked across the market at a whole host of technologies for our heating and cooling and when Mitsubishi Electric’s R32 system was recommended to us by Envira-Mech Services, we quickly realised it was absolutely the right product for us,” said Alan Bailey, Director of the Future Economy Group and Future Leap Ltd. 

Future Leap is carbon neutral in its operation and has incorporated lots of sustainable technologies and solutions, including a carpet made from disused ghost fishing nets that have been reclaimed from the bottom of the ocean and turned into carpeting.

“When I first started talking to Alan about his requirements it was obvious that he wanted a system that would help promote energy efficiency and future-proof the building,” explained Terry Macleod, MD of Clevedon-based contractor Envira-Mech Services.

“Alan was already aware of F-gas and was open to anything, so the idea of highly efficient air conditioning that could simultaneously heat and cool and run off 100% renewable energy really appealed to him,” he added.

Lossnay mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) was also installed in the building. These can recover up to 80% of the energy from outgoing stale air to use on the incoming fresh air.

With a timescale of only three months for the complete refurbishment programme, Envira-Mech Services had a very tight timescale of just five weeks to complete the installation and commissioning. Not only did they have to work around the other trades refurbishing the building at the same time, there was not a lot of room for the services, so they also had to ensure the highest quality of installation for all ducting and pipework as these are all on display.

Envira-Mech Services also had to strip out all the existing air conditioning from the former Maplin electrical goods store.

The three Mitsubishi Electric PURY YNW-A outdoor condensers are installed in a compound in the old Maplin storage yard and these serve 14 PEFY fan coil units throughout the ground floor. The room sizes were considered during the design phase and, due to the level of ventilation, leak detection was not required.

The Future Leap Hub has been open since July and now offers Bristol businesses 70 socially distanced desks as well as an ethical cafe and lifestyle shop.

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