Case Studies

 

Air Conditioning Inspections - What you need to know

TM44 Inspection of Air Conditioning Systems

On 4th January 2003 the European Parliament published a directive called the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the EPBD which requires member states to bring in necessary laws on energy consumption and use.  In respect of Air Conditioning, an industry working group was set up and has produced a guidance paper which is effectively used as a bible for the industry.  This paper is known as TM44 and all the Air Conditioning Inspection, ACI, work undertaken in England and Wales is guided by TM44.

The document is produced by ‘CIBSE’ and is available on line.

Those responsible for buildings with systems over 250kw need an assessment now.

Those with smaller systems over 12kw also need an assessment, following the 4 January 2011 deadline.


TM44 defines an air conditioning system so that those who are not sure whether they need an air conditioning assessment are clear.

Key dates for air conditioning Inspections

By 4 January 2009 all air conditioning systems over 250kW should have had their first inspection.

By 4 January 2011 all air conditioning systems over 12kW should have had their first inspection.

Systems over 12 kW installed after January 2008 must be inspected within 5 years of being put into service.

The trigger for an AC inspection is the size (effective rated output) of the system not the type of building and so the measures apply to homes, commercial and public buildings.

The service we offer at Airtech to help you plan future costs savings and efficiency

Inspection is carried out by an accredited assessor and will include an assessment and review of Air Conditioning sizing; advice on efficiency improvements; replacements or alternative solutions.

The government has also produced a DVD to help users understand air conditioning inspections and what they need to do.  This is available on

http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/sustainability/energyperformance/

Many commercial buildings and an increasing number of homes have air conditioning systems. These systems should be carefully maintained and managed in order that they consume the minimum amount of energy possible.

Why are Air Conditioning Reports Required?

This is all part of the European Performance of Buildings Directive and all relevant building owners / managers must comply.  Having your Air Conditioning, AC, system inspected by an approved Energy Assessor is designed to improve efficiency and reduce the electricity consumption, operating costs and carbon emissions from your AC system.  Energy inspections will highlight improvements to the operation of your existing systems or opportunities to replace older, less energy efficient or oversized systems with new energy efficient AC systems.

As the replacement of refrigerant is restricted in older AC systems there is an additional incentive to improve or replace older systems with more modern energy efficient AC units.

Building owners or managers who control air conditioning systems have statutory obligations and duties of care under the new EPBD regulations in respect of the operation and maintenance of their AC system.

Inspection, maintenance and cleaning programmes facilitate the system to provide healthy and comfortable environments for building occupants, limiting the potential for escape of refrigerant gases and ensuring the safety of equipment.  The practices and procedures needed to achieve these aims should be applied more regularly than the time scales set out in the EPBD AC regulations, professional good practice being an important factor in long term maintenance of AC systems.

Systems requiring Air Conditioning Inspection

Only AC systems with an Effective Rated Output of more than 12kw are affected by the EPBD regulations.

NB: The "Effective Rated Output" is the maximum calorific output in kW of a complete system as stated by the manufacturer, deliverable whilst in continuous operation.

The total number of parts of a system within a building must be added together and it is this whole system figure that is considered by the EPBD regulations.  It also considers that the AC system is controlled by a responsible person.  A responsible person being the person who controls the technical function of the AC system; not simply the person who alters the temperature.  

The type of building is also defined.  This is the same definition as within the EPC regulations.  

A building is defined as "a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately".

This is a complex subject as it can lead to multiple AC reports within one building.  Airtech can provide advice on this area.

An air conditioning system refers to any AC system where refrigeration is used to provide cooling for the comfort of the occupants of the space.  This excludes separate refrigeration which is not for the comfort of the occupants such as process applications; computer servers, cold stores, beer cellars in public houses etc.

Air Conditioning inspection Report requirements

If you control the technical operation of an air conditioning system, are a building manager or owner, you are responsible for obtaining an assessment report:

·         With an effective rated output greater than 12Kw inspections should have been completed by 4th January 2011; 

·         With an effective rated output greater than 250Kw, systems should have been inspected by 4th January 2009; 

·         New systems over 12 kW installed after January 2008 must be inspected within 5 years of being put into service;

·         Systems should be inspected every 5 years.

The assessment must be carried out by an accredited Air conditioning Energy Assessor. Accreditation ensures that the Assessors are professional, competent and adequately insured for the work.

What does the air conditioning inspection report cover?

You will receive a report from the assessment, which includes recommendations for steps you could take to improve the efficiency of your system.  These may range from improvements to the maintenance regime, through changes to the way the system is operated, to recommendations on the specification of a new or replacement system.  The report will conform to a CLG approved scheme.

Implementing some or all of the recommendations should reduce your air conditioning energy consumption and could improve the energy ratings for the building, as calculated for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or Display Energy Certificate (DEC).

Portfolio and building owners need to be aware that the lack of a certificate may lead to a fine and Solicitors will start to ask for certification upon building transactions taking place.  Pre planning for this legislation and ensuring compliance is important NOW!

What is contained in the air conditioning inspection report?

The purpose of the AC Inspection and AC Report is to ensure that building owners and managers are given basic information regarding the efficiency of the AC systems they control, together with advice on how the energy efficiency of the system may be improved.

The report will analyse your system based on a set of guidelines produced for CLG, and will cover in the reporting process such items as the potential reduced energy consumption due to the implementation of modifications, identification of inefficient plant, inappropriate user operation and major system and controls defects.  Other items reviewed will be identification of opportunity to renew outdated equipment and control systems and cost effective alterations to the building fabric.

Acting on the advice in the AC Inspection report and rectifying faults or making appropriate improvements, where this is cost effective, should result in immediate improvements to the effectiveness of AC systems or reduce operating costs.

In some cases the costs of providing both heating and cooling may be reduced where the AC report identifies improvements in how the AC System in operated.

In many cases we will find that the AC system is being run well; is commissioned, with all documents in place, with supporting records available showing that the AC equipment has been regularly maintained to a good standard.  In these cases the AC report will be brief with the main content advising on load reduction or on alternative solutions not previously considered.  The AC report will suggest relatively basic maintenance, such as cleaning and repairs to AC equipment whose efficiency has suffered through neglect.

Cleaning operations or adjustments to controls do not form part of the ACI procedure, although they will be advised upon.  The ACI is not intended, or expected, to involve any physical work as this could change the level of professional risk to the energy assessor.  Should the building owner require any physical work to be undertaken, Airtech can do this, by quotation and separate arrangement.

Most reports are likely to contain advice with a combination of simple low or no cost measures and recommendations, which will carry an investment cost, or suggestions to investigate areas in more detail.

Ongoing management of the systems, replacement units and maintenance advice is all available through Airtech technical specialists but will not be part of the initial Air Conditioning Report.

Complying with Air Conditioning Inspection Regulations

Local Authorities trading standards officers are responsible for enforcing the requirements and they have the authority to issue penalty charge notices for non compliance and continued non compliance. 

Fines for non compliance currently stand at £300.00 to £5000.00 per building dependant on building size, with additional fines for continued non compliance.

This is important to note - building owners beware. 

Local authorities are allowed to keep the monies and this is an available revenue stream at the moment.