Ability Projects is a leading manufacturer of fan coil products, recognised throughout the H&V industry as experts in the design, manufacture and the worldwide distribution of energy efficient fan coil units (FCUs).
As part of a programme of extension, 2016 saw the construction of a new factory for the company in Poole, Dorset, a purpose-built facility incorporating a suite of offices that would require zoned control of heating and cooling.
This provided the perfect opportunity for Ability Projects not only to showcase its own market leading FCUs, but to demonstrate the product’s potential for seamless integration with renewable heating technologies for complete control and comfort throughout the office spaces.
Working closely with Dimplex’s in-house heating design team, Ability Projects developed a unique centralised control solution, incorporating Dimplex air source heat pump and solar PV technology.
Offering heating and cooling without any refrigerant pipes passing around the building, the system also includes heat recovery via the use of reversible air source heat pumps, which enables Ability Projects to use waste heat from cooling for hot water production.
Peter Lowther, managing director of Ability Projects, said: “This was a unique opportunity to create a large scale heating and cooling system, which leverages the latest technology to ensure it is easy to control, highly efficient and cost effective – despite its complexity.
“We were able to work closely with Dimplex’s own engineers who recommended the air source heat pumps. They looked at the zoned control we needed, specified and then delivered a robust response that consisted of our FCUs, the PV system we had selected and their heat pumps. The system has worked extremely well, ensuring a comfortable working environment and, together with a performance review which has helped to refine the system, it has really delivered beyond initial expectations.”
Dimplex’s in-house heating design service was critical to the specification, calculating the total heating and cooling loads and zoning the system based on the office floor plan layout.
Tasked with ensuring temperature control in individual zones, Dimplex specified a four pipe heating and cooling system, with two Dimplex LAS12TUR+ reversible air source heat pumps and two Dimplex 500 litre cold and hot buffer tanks.
Ability Projects’ Matrix Fan Coil Units were selected to provide extremely low noise levels, with low velocity grilles to maximise system performance and comfort for occupants. The FCU controls ensure that the air temperature which is discharged above the occupants is maintained within strict temperature bands.
Dimplex’s technical experts commissioned the system, before completing a handover that included user training for staff at the new Ability Projects facility. Installation was completed by SHS Building Services.
Energy efficient specification
A number of considerations were made to maximise the performance and efficiency of the system, including smart controls which enable it to adapt to user occupancy to reduce pumping requirements from the buffer tanks during quieter periods.
The Dimplex air source heat pumps are designed to work with 45 degrees heating flow and 12 degrees cooling flow, maximising the co-efficient of performance (CoP) during both heating and cooling modes. Each heat pump was supplied with integral heat meters and installed in conjunction with a centralised system controller, which allows for the end-to-end monitoring of both energy and occupant comfort.
In order to minimise the pumping and heat losses from the pipework, the heat pumps were also situated immediately adjacent to the plant room wall. This minimised the length of pipe run and the parasitic power consumption related to the system.
In addition, the system performance was reviewed three months after installation and further savings were enabled by optimising the controls. The comfort of the occupants was then surveyed to ensure that the expectations for their working environment was fulfilled.
Christian Hadley, installed product marketing manager, Dimplex said: “This is a unique system which offers heating and cooling without any refrigerant pipes passing around the building. This makes future adaptions to the system easier, allows a plumber to install the system and overcomes the requirements of room size versus practical limit. The Dimplex units also offer heat recovery, so Ability Projects is able to use the waste heat from cooling for hot water production.
“The building also incorporates PV technology and bespoke Ability Projects FCUs which were designed to integrate seamlessly with the Dimplex heat controller.
“By working closely together, Dimplex and Ability Projects have been able to maximise the performance of our own market leading products and develop a bespoke centralised control solution which provides end-to-end controller intelligence.”