Reception area with wall-mounted VRF unit.
The Basingstoke-based company asked HVAC and maintenance contractor Comfort Building Services to replace its existing air conditioning system, which consisted of independent split systems installed on an ad hoc basis that was proving unreliable and expensive to run. The end user was attracted to the efficiency and performance benefits of the Toshiba heat recovery-based variable refrigerant flow (VRF) whole-building solution. However, full replacement in a single one-off project would have been beyond the company’s budget.
Adopting a creative approach, Comfort Building Services split the project proposal into three-phases, enabling progressive replacement of existing systems with a state-of-the-art Toshiba Super Heat Recovery Multi-e (SHRMe) VRF system over a two-year period.
Kris Carter, service manager at Comfort Building Services, said: “It was the first time we had used Toshiba equipment, and we were very impressed by its innovative features and ease of installation. We also found the company’s DesignAirs system extremely useful as a design tool. It is very flexible and enabled us to plan the replacement system in phases, structured to address the end user’s priorities, with the first phase focused on R&D and customer-facing areas, and then working through back office and production areas. It enabled us to keep costs within budget at each stage, while delivering a total building solution, with all the efficiency and comfort benefits this provides.
“Our customer is delighted with the results. The Toshiba SHRMe system is the perfect balance between price point, performance and reliability, and supported by an extended manufacturer’s warranty. It is excellent at harvesting energy where it would otherwise be wasted for use in areas needing either cooling or heating. The energy savings for the end user can be very significant,” said Carter.
Equipment selection and routing of interconnecting services were carefully planned using DesignAirs, to ensure each stage dovetailed perfectly with future phases and allowed for the final completed system to work without compromise.
Indoor units included a combination of ceiling cassettes, floor-mounted and high-wall units, with hard-wired wall-mounted controllers in each area. Phases one and two of the project have been completed, and the final phase is scheduled to commence in the coming months.
“On the strength of the success with Multitone, we have already secured another Toshiba project,” said Carter. “Many contractors are reluctant to work in this phased way, as it requires detailed planning to ensure everything works as a single combined system when completed. However, Toshiba’s DesignAirs is a great tool and makes this approach pretty straightforward. We will continue to use this approach in the future, as we think it has great potential to win new business.”