Case study: Basildon Hospital opts for energy-saving climate control system


First installation of revolutionary Daikin VRV IV


The Jubilee Wing at Basildon Hospital is a three-storey extension which was formally opened by HRH Princess Anne in 2003 and named to commemorate the Queen’s 50-year reign. It has 12 wards with more than 300 beds.

The problem

Basildon Hospital has an ongoing programme for maintenance and refurbishment to upgrade and reduce the hospital’s environmental impact and to keep running costs as low as possible.

Eight kitchens throughout the Jubilee Wing were in need of temperature regulation to ensure a comfortable working environment as well as to prevent the spread of bacterial infection. As with the majority of kitchens temperatures tended to increase dramatically when they were in use.

This was particularly problematic in a hospital environment as many people use the kitchens for hot drinks and snacks, and patients who are already ill, or recovering, tend to be more susceptible to further illness than the majority of the population.

The solution

Basildon Hospital is constantly looking to achieve the highest levels of energy efficiency to reduce energy costs. The Daikin VRV IV Heat Pump suited the hospital’s requirements for cooling and provision of a precise level of climate control together with energy efficiency and versatility of operation.

JC Watson Refrigeration, a Daikin D1 Plus contractor, selected and specified the use of the revolutionary Daikin VRV IV for Basildon. This was to become the first installation of the new series IV in the country.

Ajeet Gangadharan, project manager for the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital Trust, said: “We needed to find a system to cool our kitchens, which are spread across the hospital campus, as energy efficiently as possible.

“As well as the energy efficiency capabilities, we required a system that was discreet, had a small footprint, operational flexibility, and could fit into our building’s existing infrastructure. This system did just that.”

The main technology behind the latest VRV IV Heat Pump system is variable refrigerant temperature (VRT) which allows the system to adapt to Basildon Hospital’s exacting requirements for temperature control enabling higher system efficiencies leading to lower running costs. The refrigerant temperature continuously adjusts depending on the outside temperature, actual temperature and capacity needed, thus providing optimal seasonal efficiency at all times and reduced operational running costs.

The default mode is set for UK conditions for maximum efficiency and comfort. The variable refrigerant temperature preset modes mean the balance between comfort and efficiency can be customised in order to optimise the system depending on the application requirements, delivering annual cost savings of up to 25% and increasing seasonal efficiency by up to 28%.

The new heat pump has a continuous defrost cycle which can operate alongside the heating system if required, although use of the system for heating is not normally needed due to the kitchens’ natural heat gain.

The VRV IV Heat Pump has a configuration tool which makes installation and initial set up on single and multiple sites much quicker and easier. The new process also reduced errors and as a consequence reduces costly follow up visits.

The installation

J C Watson Refrigeration worked with the hospital to make sure disruption to staff and patients was kept to a minimum. A programme was agreed to carry out installations to one kitchen at a time with two wards sharing one kitchen while the project progressed.

Jamie Stern of J C Watson said: “We were very pleased to be part of the first VRV IV installation in the country. This is the latest technology available which is at the forefront of heat pump technology and ahead of other suppliers.”

Two VRV IV Heat Pumps with 22.4 kW cooling capacity were installed externally with the help of a crane. Both were connected with piping to six Daikin FXAQ wall-mounted units which have five different air discharge angles. These units have flat, stylish front panels which blend with the existing décor and are easy to clean.

Maintenance can be carried out from the front of the unit, so access is easy and causes little disruption to the busy kitchens.

Each of the heat pump systems is controlled using a wired remote control. Both are also centrally controlled through an integrated control system connected to the hospital’s building management system. The system has been pre-programmed to operate at specific times when the kitchens are in use to save energy.

In the future the system could easily be expanded or replicated across other areas of the hospital as refurbishment or maintenance programmes allow.

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