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University graduates to R32

UK: The University of Lincoln has graduated to a Daikin R32-based VRV5 heat recovery air conditioning system for an administrative and services building in its student village.

The building houses three administrative departments – one on the ground floor and two upstairs – in mostly open-plan offices, but with some separate rooms. A launderette, which is not air conditioned, occupies part of the ground floor. Open plan office areas are served by Daikin Roundflow cassettes of four capacities, sized to suit room sizes and occupancies. Two smaller offices have fully flat cassettes, while a meeting room and another small office have wall mounted units. 

The total load of 33.5kW is served via a single branch selector box mounted in a ground floor communications room at the rear of the building. 

The outdoor installation consists of an 8hp primary unit and a 5hp secondary unit. This arrangement makes for more economical operating costs as the secondary unit runs only at times of peak demand for cooling or heating.

The new system was installed over three weeks during the university’s summer recess by Hull-based Airco Refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

“We had earlier been asked to survey the building for replacement of the 15-year-old R410A system. We were asked about the possibility of an R32 system,” Airco contracts manager Rob Murray revealed.

The university’s engineering manager Jason Devlin, himself an experienced refrigeration and heating engineer, said: “I wanted to future-proof the building by not simply replacing the system with another R410A system. “Some students may have climate anxiety, so it is important for us as an estates department to show that we care about the environment and that we’re installing the most energy efficient equipment we can get.” 

The old unit was in a compound near the building, but this was not deemed a good place because it was surrounded by trees. 

“Putting the new ones in a larger area with more airflow and fewer trees is much more advantageous. And as we did not have to start digging up the ground, it made a better installation,” Devlin added.

Daikin’s VAM heat recovery ventilation units were also fitted. These are rated at 350m3/hr with a sound power of just 51dB. 

Indoor units are individually controlled by Daikin white Madoka wired controllers, with overall system control through a Daikin Intelligent Touch Manager and BACnet gateway. 

The Daikin VRV5 systems also incorporate Shirudo technology which ensures safe deployment of refrigerants. Its branch selector boxes – which enable the three-pipe DX system to deliver heating and cooling simultaneously to different branches – have been specially designed for R32 and incorporate automatic shutoff valves for each branch to prevent loss of refrigerant. 

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