According to European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) guidelines, it is mandatory for all air Conditioning systems with effective rated capacity of more than 12kW to have regular inspections carried out by an accredited air conditioning inspector. For all systems, they must have had their first inspection done by the 4th of January 2011.
Building owners and managers who are in charge of operation of air conditioning systems are obliged under EPBD Regulations to make sure that the inspections of their systems have been carried out by qualified and accredited air conditioning systems.
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Getting your air conditioning system inspected by an Accredited Energy Assessor is essential as it helps to improve the efficiency and aids in cutting down your system’s operating costs, carbon emission and electricity consumption. Energy inspections highlight improvement factors that can be applied to your system and identifies older, less efficient or oversized systems which can be replaced by newer and more energy efficient systems.
As outlined by TM44 guideline, replacement of refrigerant is strictly forbidden in older systems, and so there is an additional incentive to replace older systems with newer and more efficient units.
Building owners and managers who are responsible for controlling air conditioning systems are obliged by statutory laws to ensure the appropriate operation and maintenance of their air conditioning systems. The energy inspections of air conditioning systems as discussed here are in addition to the general activities associated with their operation and ownership.
Inspection, maintenance and cleaning programmes assigned to air conditioning systems ensure safety and health of the building occupants and provide them with a comfortable environment. This helps to minimise the escape of refrigerant gases and ensures the safety of the air conditioning equipment. The practises and procedures needed to reach these objectives should be applied at a more regular basis than the assessment for energy efficiency that has been described here.
Air conditioning systems can make up the bulk of a building’s energy usage. Getting your air conditioning system inspected by a qualified TM 44 assessor can help in improving efficiency and in reduction of energy consumption which can consequently reduce capital operating costs and carbon emissions.
Building owners and managers who are in charge of operation of these systems are obliged by statutory law under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to ensure that TM44 air conditioning inspections are conducted by qualified and accredited air conditioning inspectors.
All air conditioning systems with effective rated capacity of more than 12kW regularly needs inspection by an air conditioning inspector.
TM 44 Air conditioning inspection is required when the effective rated capacity of an air conditioning system within a building is more than 12kW
a. For systems with effective rated capacity of 250kW or more, the first inspection must have been done by the 4th of January 2009.
b. For systems with effective rated capacity of 12kW or more, the first inspection must have been done by the 4th of January 2011.
The air conditioning inspection cover the examination of refrigeration and air movement equipment that are part of the air conditioning systems and their controls. It also involves the examination of any documentation which can facilitate the understanding of the system or indicate the level of maintenance the system has undergone. The TM 44 energy assessor also needs to make estimations on whether the system is suitably sized for the cooling loads in the conditioned spaces and suggest ways in which the performance of the system can be improved.
The TM44 inspector needs access to equipment that may be situated in plant rooms, or externally such as rooftops or other locations around the building with limited provision for access. By all means, the building owner or manager should assist in safe access for the energy assessor, complying with relevant health and safety risk assessment of the situation. The energy assessor may need to be accompanied by the person responsible at all times.
The air conditioning assessor might need some additional access, such as the inside of AHUs. While providing this access, the building owner/maintenance agent must prioritise the safety of the energy assessor and the building occupants. This would require the system to be shut down to allow safe access so it is convenient for the building owners to accommodate the arrangement outside of working hours to avoid disruption in their usual function. The energy assessor may also need to access samples of the different components of the air conditioning system, such as fan coil units which are usually concealed inside suspended ceilings. Again, access to these locations should be provided by the building manager.
Air conditioning inspection does not include the identification of hazardous or unsafe aspects of installation, operation or inappropriate maintenance regimes nor does it include fixing any problem that is identified in the inspection. The building owners or managers need to make other arrangements for such issues.
However, if this service is required, the managers or building owners should make sure that the need is clearly stated in the invitation to undertake the work and they should ensure that the air conditioning inspector is competent to undertake the additional work. These aspects should be clearly expressed in their contract or agreement with the air conditioning inspector.
The sole intent of the TM44 inspection report is to make sure that building owners or managers are supplied with the necessary information about the efficiency of the air-conditioning systems that they control and to advise them on how they can minimise the energy costs associated with its operation and maintenance and in turn improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
Following the recommendation of the air conditioning inspection report and making the necessary changes may result in immediate improvements in the way the system operates making it more energy efficient and cost effective.
In certain instances, the costs associated with both heating and cooling can be reduced when both these systems are unnecessarily being used at the same time due to inappropriate time controls and settings.
In cases, where the building and the systems are already well understood, documented and commissioned, with proof of previous maintenance records of good standard, the inspection could b reduced in extent, the report could be made brief with more emphasis on ways to reduce load or alternative solutions not previously considered.
However, in other case, the energy assessor may recommend relatively basic maintenance such as repairing or replacing of equipment which has lost some of its efficiency due to neglect.
The air conditioning inspection procedure does not include any cleaning operations or adjustments to the controls even if it is relatively basic or might significantly improve the system’s efficiency. The TM 44 inspection does not account for any physical work of such nature as this could alter the level of professional risk to the energy assessor.
Such work can only be authorised when the building owner or manager has made a separate arrangement with the energy assessor, provided that he is competent to do this work. However, the building owner or manager may be able to make these changes themselves when the inspection is carried out, provided that they agree with the assessor’s observations.
Usually TM44 reports are likely to contain recommendations with a series of basic, low or no cost measures and some where the building owner or manager might need to make some investments to apply these measures or investigate them in further detail. The building owner should also be provided with access to advice on the continuous management of the systems, particularly the ones that are already there in existing free publications such as the Carbon Trust’s Good Practice Guides.
Local Authorities (generally by Trading Standards Officers) are responsible for enforcing the statutory obligations related to air conditioning inspection TM44 reports.
Failure to commission, keep or produce an air conditioning inspection TM44 report when demanded by the Regulations may result in the issue of a penalty charge notice. Trading Standards Officers may respond to complaints or carry out investigations. You may be asked to provide a copy of your air conditioning inspection (TM44) report on demand. When asked, the report must be produced within 7 days of the request or be liable to a penalty charge otherwise. A copy of a TM44 air conditioning inspection report can be demanded by an enforcement officer at any time up to six months after the last day for compliance with the obligation to make it available.
The purpose of an Air Conditioning Inspection Report is to highlight any area within the operation of all HVAC equipment that may improve in performance and minimise associated energy costs, with the addition of no/low cost initiatives and any capital investment opportunities that may arise. The survey includes the inspection of air conditioning systems, measurement of the performance and powers of fans and the related cooling electrical load and comparing it with industry standards to give energy saving solutions whilst maintaining the minimum performance requirements.
The energy assessor also makes a series of other observations such as the physical condition of the air conditioning systems, appropriateness of the maintenance regimes, cooling/building loads, fresh air volumes, air change rates and the control of ancillary units.
The TM44 inspections are mostly carried out through visual inspections of representative sample of the air conditioning equipment and other apparent indicators such as refrigerant, sight glasses, pressure, temperature or filter gauges. When such visual data are not available, the inspector may have to take some test readings.
The air conditioning survey also covers the examination of records of design, construction and maintenance where they are available. The air conditioning inspectors are required by law to abide by relevant health and safety legislation. This includes drawing the building owner or manager’s attention to matters such as inadequate maintenance or neglect, where they might pose a threat to the health and safety of the building occupants.
The TM44 report also comparisons of size and appropriateness of the cooling system against the cooling loads of the building and the appropriateness of current maintenance regimes. All these factors altogether will enable you to create the optimum setting for your building’s HCAC operations and reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. Air conditioning systems (such as refrigerators, server rooms, etc) which do not provide comfort cooling are exempted from the survey and do not require inspection.