EN 378 Realities

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Published: 11 March 2016


Graham Wright - President of HEVAC
Graham Wright - President of HEVAC
President of trade association HEVAC, Graham Wright, comments on an article on the ACR Journal magazine and website which highlights the advantages of a new Hybrid-VRF system.

I read the article on page 20 [ACR Journal  Dec/Jan 2016] issue of the  with interest and was somewhat concerned about the statement that highlighted BS EN 378 paragraph. 

The text is not only incorrect, it is completely misleading in the following aspects: 

EN378 deals with refrigeration safety and installation practices and is used by consultants and installers as good practice, it's worth noting that compliance is not mandatory. The text suggest that building owners will have to keep up to date with the standard and that this will be complex and difficult to do.  
​The fact is  that the process of leak detection in systems has been fixed for many years and as a member of RHE18 (the BSI committee that deals with the standard), I can tell you that the pending changes to the standard will not affect the current guidance, so there is no risk of building owners facing extra cost for compliance. 

Moreover once an installation has been completed it is evaluated at the time of commissioning so there are no retrospective changes to the standard that can be considered unless extensive remedial work is done the system e.g. changing out door units or a change of occupancy criteria (office to hotel). 

Lastly, the technology being discussed in the article delivers refrigerant into a multi box which is located in the building space. Should this box or pipe work run through occupied areas an EN378 evaluation should be carried out and the appropriate measures taken to protect occupants in the adjoining spaces. The same as it would for a VRV/F system so there is no benefit  to end users in this particular aspect. 

Here is some alternative text that could be considered below:
​'EN378 has specific guidance on all systems that distribute refrigerant through a building and this hybrid system helps reduce cost by removing the necessity  of providing leak detection systems in the condition space, where the system charge exceeds the maximum allowed in the space in the case of R410a this is 0.440 kg m3.'