TM44: Inspections of Air Conditioning Systems
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 will be progressively implemented from January 2013. The Directive requires Member States across Europe to put in place ‘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 has been introduced in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that requires building owners or managers to undertake regular 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 three years, and for a slightly shorter period for Northern Ireland and Scotland.
TM44 provides guidance on conducting an air conditioning inspection to satisfy the requirements of the Directive as expressed in the various regulations in the UK. The focus is on systems that use refrigerants to produce cooling. Some of the guidance may also be applicable to elements of other forms of cooling systems, such as those that use pipes or ducts built into the fabric of the building (e.g. cooled deck or ceiling slabs) or those which use aquifers or local water sources to provide cooling solutions.
Having an air conditioning system inspected by an accredited air conditioning energy assessor is designed to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, operating costs and the carbon emissions of the system. The energy assessor will highlight improvements to the operation of existing systems or opportunities to replace older, less energy efficient systems or oversized systems with new energy efficient systems.
As the replacement of refrigerant is restricted in older systems (as established in other legislation), there is an additional incentive to improve or replace older systems with more modern energy efficient units. The person who controls the operation of the system, such as the building owner or manager, has statutory obligations and duties of care in the operation and maintenance of air conditioning systems. The inspections referred to in this guide are in addition to the normal activities associated with the ownership and operation of air conditioning systems.
With the benefit of the experience gained over the past three years, and to clarify some of the questions about air conditioning system inspections that have arisen over that period, the guidance has been revised. The latest revision to TM44 also takes into account the reporting templates produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government for the production of reports in England and Wales. These templates will also form the basis for statutory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports, which will be required in England and Wales as from 6th April 2012 under amendments to the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2007. The revision has also provided the opportunity to incorporate the separate legislative requirements for Northern Ireland and Scotland in the main text of the TM, rather than as separate addenda.
Inspection, maintenance and cleaning programmes maintain the ability of the system to provide healthy and comfortable environments for building occupants, limiting the escape of refrigerant gases and ensuring the safety of equipment. The practices and procedures needed to achieve these aims should be applied more frequently than the assessment for energy efficiency.
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