Installation of the Unico System Small Duct High Velocity (SDHV) system in the reception area at NSBRC
The National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) is the country’s only permanent venue for independent homebuilding advice and showcases the best building technologies and construction methods. Since becoming an employee owned business in 2014, the facility has been continuously developed to ensure the optimum visitor experience for the 1000s of self-buiders, home improvers and building professionals who attend annually. The most recent initiative has been the installation of a new Unico System Small Duct High Velocity (SDHV) system in the reception area of the venue to welcome visitors with a comfortable indoor environment whatever the time of year or the weather outside.
Air Craft, an indoor air comfort specialist and approved Specialist Partner for the Unico System, were responsible for the design and installation of the system. Managing Director Darren Johnson believes that the all in one cooling and heating solution was the best technology to fulfil the requirements of the project. “ The beauty is Unico’s ability to provide cooling and heating from one compact Air Handling Unit (AHU) and being able to match it with the latest environmentally friendly Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) energy source. In the summer, the 100+ square metre reception area, with its full width glazing, can be affected by elevated temperatures especially when many visitors can congregate there to register. Then in colder months the space needs heat and Unico can deliver that too.” says Managing Director Darren Johnson.
The suspended ceiling above the reception had plenty of space for the installation of a Green Series Unico MB4260H Air Handling Unit (AHU). It features the latest Variable Speed Control high efficiency fan, which is up to 62% more energy efficient than standard fixed speed motors, and Smart Control Board to ensure precise airflow control, easy commissioning and diagnostics.
One of the major advantages of the Unico System is its ability to be adapted for operation with the latest heat pump technology or other energy sources. In this case it uses a Heat Pump coil and a Daikin Heat Pump outdoor unit, using low environmental impact R32 refrigerant with significantly lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared with other refrigerants and A++ seasonal efficiency.
To ensure compatibility between the two technologies, Unico and Daikin cooperated to develop a customised control box interface. Air Craft used their extensive experience to ensure the required loading and technical performance for the AHU and the ASHP were carefully matched.
Aside from ensuring optimum comfort levels all year round, the Unico System also had to meet a number of other specification criteria including low operational noise with minimal disturbance in the reception area, even temperatures and freedom from draughts as well as being a visually unobtrusive installation.
Cooled or heated air is delivered into the reception area through flexible supply tubing which culminates in thirty discreet small round outlets spaced equally across the reception ceiling.
The flow of air through the supply tubing and into the reception through the outlets generates minimal noise thanks to a sound attenuating construction with its nylon tube core wrapped with insulation which also helps to reduce thermal losses. With aspiration technology, once the heated or cooled air enters the space at high velocity it creates a draught free, even environment with minimal temperature fluctuations.
The system is controlled through a standard Daikin thermostatic control which is linked to the control box. “ Multiple traditional air conditioning units would have been a totally impractical solution, because of the number of units needed and the space required to mount them. The Daikin Altherma 3 Monobloc Air Source Heat Pump does not require an indoor unit ,” says Darren.
The installation was completed by Air Craft with minimal disruption in the day to day operation of the reception area. Following rigorous testing it was fully operational in time for the NSBRC’s series of open days in May 2022.