Neil is an air conditioning expert with over 30 years of experience in the sector.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) was first adopted in 2002. The recast Directive, adopted in May 2010, replaced the original Directive from 1 February 2012 and was progressively implemented from January 2013.
The Directive required ‘measures to establish a regular inspection of air conditioning systems of an effective rated output of more than 12 kW’. In the UK, separate legislation was introduced. In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, building owners or managers are required to undertake regular (every five years) inspections of air conditioning systems.
The regulations and requirements relating to air conditioning system inspections for England and Wales have now been in place for over six years, and for a slightly shorter period for Northern Ireland and Scotland. The principle guidance for the inspections is contained in CIBSE TM44.
An air conditioning system is defined as ‘a combination of all components required to provide a form of air treatment in which the temperature is controlled, or can be lowered, and includes systems which combine such air treatment with the control of ventilation, humidity and air cleanliness’.
This includes both fixed self contained systems, such as split systems, and centralised systems. Mechanical ventilation systems that provide no mechanical cooling themselves, but serve spaces that are cooled by other means are included. Any components contained in air conditioning systems that are only intended to provide heating are excluded.
Air conditioning systems that provide refrigeration for process applications, such as server rooms, would also require an inspection if that part of the system allows an inspection to be carried out.
If the building owner or manager wants to sell or let a building with an air conditioning system, which should have been inspected, then it is very likely that the legal advisors to the prospective tenant or buyer will require sight of the report during the legal processes prior to exchange of contracts. Failure to have a report, where one is required, may have a negative impact on the transaction process.
In England and Wales mandatory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports on the national database was introduced on the 6th April 2012. Since then, over 55,000 reports have been lodged, and coupled with inspections carried out before mandatory lodgement was introduced we are now seeing a large number of requests for renewal reports alongside requests for sites that are currently non-compliant.
We can now check the national database to confirm if a property has a valid air conditioning inspection and advise on the renewal date.
The challenge for assessors has been to ensure that they identify real energy saving opportunities for building owners and managers.