The Co Operative Headquarters based in Manchester have become the home of the largest propane chiller installation project within a building of a commercial nature in the UK.

In total, eight 650kW propane chillers have been installed to provide air conditioning with a cooling output of 3,600kW to the headquarters. It provides air conditioning by using water cooled water chillers, by means of hydrocarbon refrigerant R290 or more simply ‘propane’. It is the first set of water cooled chillers which operate primarily on hydrocarbon refrigerants to deliver a cooling output of 3,600kW.

The building has also been accredited with the highest BREEAM rating (an award which rate the sustainability of a building) of ‘Outstanding’ for a commercial building in the UK. The building is also in receipt of an A rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), as well as on their Display Energy Certificate (DEC), it is the first building in the UK to receive all 3 accreditations at this level.

The chillers are remarkably more environmentally friendly than their previous models. The 8 new R290 chillers minimise the negative environmental impact, as they have a reduced global warming potential (GWP) of just 3 compared to previous models, such as the R407 which has a GWP of 1300.

William Thompson, the Managing Director of FT Refrigeration,  the company who designed the chiller, said that the project has proven the safety of large hydrocarbon chillers, within an inner city environment. Mr Thompson also stated that the chiller provides “reliable cooling and achieve(s) the predicted energy efficiency”.

It is though that over 10 years of usage, the propane chillers will also save the company around £135,000, this installation is therefore cheaper as well as more energy efficient.