Air Conditioning In The Workplace Is No Longer a Luxury

Jun 3, 2024 | Air Conditioning, Air Source Heat Pumps, Ventilation Systems

As we head into the warmer months, it’s safe to say that many modern offices are barely recognisable from the conditions experienced as recently as 20 years ago.  One indicator of the changes is that air conditioning in the workplace is no longer a luxury.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations state that employers must maintain a “reasonable temperature” in the workplace but falls short of setting a maximum temperature. This seems a little outdated, especially as our summers get warmer, and the TUC has repeatedly called for an upper limit.

While that remains open to debate, what is not in doubt is that we are all healthier, happier and more productive in a comfortable work environment. And don’t forget that modern air conditioning solutions can also take care of your heating needs and improve your indoor air quality throughenhanced air purification and filtration or ventilation.

So whether your business is looking at introducing a climate control solution for the first time, or you need an upgrade to your existing set-up, what are the factors you should consider?

Understanding your space

Think about the layout of your offices or workplace, including possible changes in the future. For example, if you currently have a large open-plan area and install large ceiling cassettes as part of the system, will those cassettes still be suitable if the space is later divided into smaller individual offices? You also need to consider the number of people occupying the space, along with electrical equipment such as computers, monitors and photocopiers, as they are all heat-emitting.

Understanding your equipment

The size/layout of the space and the number/distribution of employees is likely to influence your choice of system, with Single Split, Multi-Split and VRF available. You can learn more about the different options in our guide to which type of AC is best for commercial use.

There are further choices to make when it comes to the best type of indoor unit for your needs and how to incorporate the latest control technologies, such as energy-efficient sensors which can identify if a space is occupied or not and adjust the cooling accordingly.

Protecting your investment

The installation of air conditioning is likely to represent a significant financial commitment for any business, so it makes sense to look after it. Regular maintenance by a trusted contractor can help ensure your system is performing to its full potential and extend its working life. While the level of service you choose is optional, some equipment inspections are compulsory.

In line with the  Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations, CIBSE TM44 is used as the guidance for air conditioning inspections in the UK. They should be carried out every five years by an accredited energy assessor for systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW. It’s worth pointing out here that this is the COMBINED total output; so three individual 5kW systems would require a TM44 inspection.

In addition, the F-Gas Regulation sets out a range of obligations to minimise the risk of emissions from air conditioning equipment. This includes maintenance, regular leak checking and repair requirements for equipment containing fluorinated gases. Above a certain size, checks for refrigerant leaks should be carried out at least every 12 months, more often for larger systems.

Choosing a contractor you can trust

Navigating the multiple rules and regulations surrounding air conditioning equipment can be a challenge, which is why you need to choose a contractor you can trust. Remember that anyone responsible for the installation, commissioning, decommissioning, maintenance and repair of stationary HVAC equipment containing fluorinated gases must hold a current F-Gas Certificate.

Here at Batchelor Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, we are proud to be certified by the UK’s leading F-Gas register, REFCOM, which was appointed as an official certification body by DEFRA in 2009.

To discuss your air conditioning installation and maintenance needs, contact Batchelor Air Conditioning & Refrigeration. Use the contact form, call 01234 712 901 or email info@batchelor.co.uk.

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