"Once we worked out what we needed to refurbish and what had to be replaced, the challenge was to bring the refurbished services up to the same standard as the new equipment. This means the lifecycle of all the equipment, whether new or old, is the same."

A thoughtful approach is key when it comes to the biggest question in mechanical services: Should you refurbish or replace your equipment?

Sometimes it is more cost-effective to remove all the boilers, condensers, pipes and energy controls and just start again. Other projects can benefit from careful refurbishment and strategic additions. In the case of the University College of Estate Management (UCEM) in Reading, the latter proved the best course of action.

Validation saves money

361 Degrees worked with the main contractor, Overbury, to identify and validate existing services at UCEM and provide a report, with recommendations on how to bring the whole building up to BREEAM standards.

Ian Morren, Technical Consultant on the project, explains a decision on what to retain had to be made before the project could move to the next stage.

"Once we worked out what we needed to refurbish and what had to be replaced the challenge was to bring the refurbished services up to the same standard as the new equipment. This means the lifecycle of all the equipment, whether new or old, is the same."

The Solution

The first step was to strip out and remove the redundant chiller, boilers, 4-pipe fan coil units and extraction systems. These were replaced by a new Daikin VRV air conditioning system that provides energy-efficient heating and cooling to all areas, through ducted fan coil units.

Existing office and toilet supply air handling units were refurbished, including the provision of new DX cooling circuits. We also installed a new gas-fired hot water calorifier, new domestic water services, cold water storage tanks, and hot and cold pipework distribution. Shut-off valves and PIR sensors were also included for BREEAM rating.

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