Doing air conditioning inspections makes economic sense


As chairman of the HEVAC Air Conditioning Plenary Committee and vice-president of the Heat Pump Association, Mike Nankivell* is closely involved with industry regulation and legislation and here he outlines the law regarding regular air conditioning inspections. The Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) – Air Conditioning Inspections legislation implicates any building with an air conditioning system that has a rated cooling output greater than 12kW. For the UK this means that pre-2008 buildings with air conditioning systems having a rated cooling output greater than 250kW should, by law, have had its first air conditioning inspection by 4 January 2009.

If the system has a rated cooling output greater than 12kW but less than 250kW the first inspection should have taken place before 4 January 2011. The only exceptions to these legal requirements are for systems installed on or after 1 January 2008, which had/have five years to arrange an inspection. A/C inspections are then required to take place at five-yearly intervals. The economic downturn and absence of government-funded publicity or active policing have been blamed for building owners and operators failing to satisfy these legal obligations. At the moment the “spot” fine for non-compliance is £300.

Latest estimates suggest that fewer than 5%, of buildings in scope have had their A/C inspections carried out. However, if non-compliance is being driven by economics, building operators need to understand that this legislation could actually help them make significant savings in running costs and enhance the value of their properties.

Replacement of systems using HCFC refrigerant gas

With so many installed air conditioning systems being quite old and relatively inefficient compared with technology available today, substantial and cost effective improvements can be achieved. Moreover, many older systems operate with an HCFC (R22) refrigerant gas, the use of which, for maintenance and servicing purposes, will be banned at the end of this year and so replacements for these systems really need to be on the agenda sooner rather than later.

Encouraged by industry institutions and associations, the government is actively looking at how to improve compliance with the air conditioning inspections law, as UK plc is a risk of attracting substantial fines in
the event that European Directives are not effectively implemented.

So the watchword is “beware”, 2014 could see much more pressure on compliance with the air conditioning legislation.

Excellent guidance is available from the Space Air website: Click on news/general news/Regulations & Directives

* Mike Nankivell is marketing director of Space Airconditioning.

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