Comfort for Thames Barrier staff

Staff at the headquarters of the world famous Thames Barrier are enjoying a fully controllable indoor working environment thanks to the installation of a new City Multi heat recovery air conditioning system by MacWhirter Ltd.

The Thames Barrier is run by the Environment Agency and has become one of the Capital’s most famous symbols since its official opening by The Queen in 1984, helping to ensure that London and the surrounding areas are protected from major flooding and tidal surges.

More than 80 staff operate and maintain the Barrier and the associated flood defences and when the control building needed a complete overhaul of its HVAC equipment as part of a refurbishment, Jacobs Babtie were called in to manage the project and deliver an appropriate replacement system. They produced a design based upon variable refrigerant flow technology and then assisted the Environment Agency with a competitive tender for the works contract, which was awarded to MacWhirters.

“Air conditioning has moved on incredibly since the Barrier was first built so we used MacWhirters as experts and they recommended Mitsubishi Electric as the most flexible and energy efficient way of meeting the building’s needs,” explained Stuart Lowe, Jacobs Babtie’s Technical Director.

“As MacWhirters are one of Mitsubishi’s key partners, they are also able to guarantee the system for five years, which provides even more reassurance to our customer.”

The air conditioning serves two open plan offices, three conference rooms, several small offices and the Barrier control centre, in addition to the reception area, lecture theatre, the plant and first aid rooms, and the communications centre.

MacWhirter Ltd replaced the old air conditioning with seven City Multi R410A R2 units, which provide simultaneous heating and cooling to 35 fan coil units over the building’s six floors. “We’ve also installed four Mitsubishi Electric Lossnay units to provide fresh air without wasting energy,” explained Phil Curtis, MacWhirter’s London Manager. “The Lossnays extract energy from the outgoing air and use it to heat or cool the incoming air to cut the energy needed to stabilise the indoor temperature.”

The system is managed by Mitsubishi Electric’s G50 controller and TG2000 software, which allows both the building’s facilities manager and MacWhirter to watch the plant across the internet.

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