Out and About with Oceanair

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Published: 11 March 2016


Tony Evanson
Tony Evanson
​Will Hawkins and James Knight from the ACR Journal met with Tony Evanson, MD of heating and cooling solutions distributor, Oceanair to learn more about his business.

When you think of a distributor, you'd be forgiven for thinking that a distributor does just that: act as an intermediary between a manufacturer and customers to 'break bulk', making bigger boxes into smaller boxes. That is far from the reality of any distributor that wants to survive in business today.

A distributor has to add value to its customers to survive and compete. That value comes in different forms other than price. The best value in any industry is expertise or knowledge. Help your customers solve their problems using your expertise and support, and they will keep coming back.

​Deep Expertise

Thermal Store at Oceanair HQThe thermal Store at Oceanair HQ
​And, that is exactly what Oceanair brings to its customers: knowledge and expertise. Oceanair is built on knowledge and experience gained by Tony and his team. Tony started the business in 2002 when he decided it was time to go out on his own after a successful career in the industry. In fact, Tony started 'on the tools' as a refrigeration engineer, so he knows the business from top to bottom. 

A sign of a healthy business is how long it retains its staff. Many of Tony's team have been with him since the start. People stay when they are happy, when they believe in what they are doing, when they feel appreciated and when they make a difference. That is how it feels at Oceanair and I expect their customers like working with them too. 

Oceanair distributes Panasonic and Fujitsu heating and cooling systems across the UK. The company distributes both heating and cooling solutions across the UK from its headquarters in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and branch in Crawley, West Sussex.

​As Tony put it, 

​“Air conditioning is our 'bread and butter'. What I get particularly excited about these days are the renewable heating projects.”
​Oceanair has long history with Panasonic, formerly Sanyo, and Fujitsu is an important part of their portfolio too. Tony's team includes people with deep and broad experience of both manufacturer's kit. 

Renewable heating is a growing part of Oceanair's business. Despite the challenges with the domestic RHI in recent months (more like years), Tony and his team have some interesting projects in their portfolio using heat pumps in commercial properties. 

Take, for example, the project with Carluccio's restaurant in the Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield where the company wanted to reduce its energy bills while still providing the volume of hot water needed by the kitchen. The restaurant chain had relied on traditional 12kW boilers to do the job. 

Working with the installer, FWP Air Conditioning, the team specified a Panasonic air to water heat pump to take much of the heat generated by the cookers to produce hot water. (The heat was not taken from the kitchen canopy. That is not clean enough.) They monitored the energy used before and after installing the heat pump and had great results. 

Tony Evanson commented:
Oceanair's VRF rig in its warehouse
Oceanair's VRF rig in its warehouse
​“When Carluccio’s compared the Sheffield site to one of their existing restaurants of a similar size, the energy savings were considerable. To heat the water for their Leeds restaurant cost £3782 whilst at the Meadowhall site the comparable cost was just £951. These sizable savings mean the site will see a return on investment in about 2 years and has achieved a COP of about 3.91.”
​Those numbers are impressive. 

​Walking the Walk

​Tony likes to prove his theories to customers too. In the Mansfield office, the team installed a thermal store, an air source heat pump, a VRF air conditioning system and solar thermal panels. As a result, the company won business off its installations and the data they gleaned from them.

But, that aside, Tony and his team have had their expertise in helping reduce their customers' energy consumption using heat accredited by the Carbon Trust. 
​Oceanair is a company full of experts, no doubt. Yet, they are very approachable. It's not all heat loss calculations and debates about 'refrigerant glide'. If you need a spare part for your air conditioning unit, for example, they are happy to help.