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MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC - Holborn R22 Contract Reduces Downtime For Nationwide

Air conditioning specialist Holborn Building Services Ltd is helping the Nationwide Building Society to upgrade the air conditioning systems in several retail branches, removing the old R22 systems, and replacing them with modern R410a units that offer more energy efficiency and central control.

R22 gas is being phased out because it has ozone-depleting potential yet there are still many thousands of systems in operation across a host of UK industries. Companies such as the Nationwide need to find ways of replacing these systems whilst keeping branch disruption and costs to a minimum.

Holborn has been working with Vinci Facilities, the Facilities Management provider for Nationwide’s Retail Branch network, as part of the Building Society’s ongoing program of energy saving initiatives and equipment upgrade.

“In most cases, Holborn has only had to replace the outdoor and indoor units and has been able to keep all of the existing piping and wiring,” explains Project Manager, Tim Smith of Vinci Facilities.

“This has meant business as usual inside the branch for Nationwide as we have been able to minimise the disruption to branch staff and also retain the integrity of existing decoration and wall finishes,” adds Smith.

The use of new R22 gas is now banned and recycled R22 refrigerant is being phased out, so businesses that still rely on these old systems will have to consider ways of replacing these air conditioning units.

Many building and facilities managers will have to factor this replacement into their budgets over the next four years, but as Holborn Building Services Director, Nick Scragg explains, understanding the options available can mean that the impact and costs can be minimsed if the appropriate equipment, installed by an accredited installer is chosen.

“With systems like Mitsubishi Electric’s Replace range, many R22 units can simply be removed and the pipework cleaned and reused. This means that the work can be carried out around retail hours without incurring the additional costs of out of hours working,” adds Scragg. “This reduces the work and helps control replacement costs as well as minimising the impact on the branch, its staff and its customers.”

All of the Mitsubishi Electric equipment that Holborn is installing is listed on the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme, allowing Nationwide to offset the capital cost against its annual tax bill. In addition, Holborn is able to offer extended warranties as it is an Accredited Mitsubishi Electric Installer.

“We are also taking the opportunity to install Mitsubishi’s Procon A2M interface controller, which allows the new air conditioning to be connected to a web-based monitoring system,” Scragg says. “Using GPRS communication, this means that Vinci Facilities can remotely apply time schedules and limit set points for the Nationwide to constantly maximise efficiency levels.”

The web-based controller offers full data logging which means that the Nationwide can see how equipment is being used in each branch and set limits on upper and lower temperatures. This helps to reduce energy use further and minimises equipment wear.

In order to establish what is needed for each individual branch, Holborn staff undertake a survey using a state-of-the-art audit tool from Mitsubishi Electric. This produces an energy/carbon reduction assessment, which highlights ways of reducing energy use further.

Holborn’s energy assessment can also be used as a basis for an application for interest-free funding from the Carbon Trust for new equipment. Holborn, as registered contractors with the Carbon Trust, can even help with that process by submitting the funding application.

“For Nationwide and Vinci Facilities, the upheaval of R22 replacement is being minimised allowing the branches to operate as usual,” explains Scragg. “The added benefit is that with the modern Mitsubishi Electric equipment they also get much greater control and on-going monitoring to ensure the most cost efficient use of energy.”

The Holborn Group website, has details of all the company’s services as well as downloadable case studies, product information and even a film of Holborn at work.

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