What does an Air Conditioning Energy Inspection involve?

The inspection will examine the refrigeration and air moving equipment that are part of air conditioning systems and their controls.  It will also examine any documentation that helps to understand the system, or indicates the extent to which the system has been maintained.  The energy assessor is also required to estimate whether the system is suitably sized for the cooling loads in the treated spaces and to provide advice on ways in which the performance of the system might be improved.

Access will be required to equipment that may be located in plant rooms, or outside the building, including rooftops or other locations with limited provision for access.  In all cases the building owner or manager must agree the means for safe access with the energy assessor.  The energy assessor may need to be accompanied by the responsible building manager or maintenance agent at all times.

Some additional access is likely to be needed, for example to the inside of air handling units or ducts.  This must be provided and supervised by the responsible building manager or maintenance agent with due regard to the safety of the energy assessor and to building occupants.  This would require the system to be turned off to allow safe access, so arrangements may need to be made for this outside working hours to avoid disruption to business.  Similarly, the energy assessor may need to access a sample of components, such as fan coil units, which may be hidden above suspended ceilings.  Again, access should be provided by the building manager or maintenance agent.

The building owner or manager should not expect the air conditioning inspection to identify hazards or unsafe aspects of the installation, operation or maintenance of systems that should be identified and addressed by other arrangements, nor should they expect the energy assessor to fix any problem identified as part of the inspection.

Air conditioning inspections carried out for the purposes of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations are not specifically designed to assess the risks to public health, although the energy assessor is required to inform the building owner or manager, of a potential issue.  The aim of the air conditioning inspection is to address energy performance, but the energy assessor is also required to confirm that the relevant person has undertaken the necessary checks to ensure there is no Legionella risk as required by the Health (Legionella) Regulations 2001.

Source:  Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings – A guide to air conditioning inspections for buildings, December 2012,  Department for Communities and Local Government, ISBN: 978-1-4098-3725-1.

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