Masterpiece cools the National Gallery

The National Gallery in central London houses one of the greatest collections of Western European paintings in the world and is on show 361 days a year. To replace inefficient R22 chillers, Airedale has designed a highly efficient and reliable bespoke chiller solution to meet the stringent footprint and energy performance criteria of this heritage building.

The Gallery contains over 2,300 works dating from the 13th to the early 20th-century, including many famous masterpieces. Tight control of temperature and humidity in the 72 galleries is critical and maintained by air handling units in the gallery space. 

Airedale has drawn on its ability to provide a bespoke chiller solution integrating new technologies, modern refrigerant and design criteria and increased control into a special TurboChill unit that reduces energy and matches the existing rooftop space and connections.

National Gallery Head of Technical Services, Steve Vandyke says: “The existing R22 chillers had to be discontinued by 2010. They were very costly and not performing. Airedale designed a bespoke TurboChill unit to the existing footprint in the restricted space of the plant area, to supply chilled water to a primary circuit.

“The TurboChill is giving us enhanced reliability and energy performance. The first chillers installed have saved us approximately £16,000 over the last year compared with the R22 chillers. The compressor is maintenance-free and since there is no oil in the refrigeration circuit, the chiller itself requires far less maintenance.”

Four TurboChill chillers are already installed and optimising the performance of the building. Two more TurboChill units will be operational in 2011. In-depth knowledge of integrated part load efficiencies has enabled Airedale to achieve a 25% ESEER rating condition of 5.87 from this particularly small case size. A bespoke sequencing scheme designed by Airedale Controls specialists will then integrate the six TurboChill units into a single, highly efficient operating system.

Mechanical consultants working for the National Gallery is Troupe, Bywaters and Anders. Project Engineer Martin Goswell says: “We undertook an independent study of the market place and Airedale was the only one that ticked all the boxes in terms of footprint, build quality, new technology such as the centrifugal compressor, and high efficiency. The TurboChill is an excellent product. The quality of it was demonstrated when we looked at competitors’ products.”

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