Winners of the 2020 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards


01 June 2020

Judith Evans, ACR Woman of the Year


Sponsored by Women in RACHP


Judith Evans, a director of UK refrigeration test house RD&T, is someone who has consistently made a major contribution to the industry with the minimum of fuss. She has more than 30 years’ experience of working on food refrigeration operations throughout the cold chain. She has carried out work on the frozen storage of meat, consumer handling of food and studies to improve the performance of domestic and commercial refrigerators, energy labelling, instrumentation performance, decontamination of food, cook-chill systems, novel refrigeration systems, optimising refrigeration systems and improving performance and temperature control in chilled and frozen storage rooms.

Judith has wide experience of managing international and national research projects, research teams and consultancy projects. She is also a professor at London South Bank University and an industrial trainer with an extensive publication history. A recent search of the IOR archives revealed 29 papers which she had authored or co-authored, covering topics including air cycle heating and cooling in the food industry, efficiency of doors on commercial cabinets and sustainable retail refrigeration.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), a member of the national IOR Technical Committee, a member of the IIR (International Institute of Refrigeration) C2 (food science and engineering) and D1 (retail display cabinets) committees and the IIR energy labelling working party. She is the UK representative to the IIR and also an editor of the Journal of Food Engineering.


Mitsubishi Electric, Heat Pump Ancillary Product


Sponsored by HRP



MELConsole provides remote maintenance and technical support to anyone using an Ecodan renewable heating system, often resolving any technical issues they may have over the phone. This service is provided completely free of charge with the majority of calls being solved online without a visit from an engineer, saving time, money and fuel.

It provides reassurance to installers, homeowners, tenants and social landlords that the Ecodan air source heat pump they are using can be monitored remotely to help maximise efficiency and often help solve any issues, before an engineer needs to be sent to site.

The MELConsole can also assist the installing engineer to ensure the Ecodan is optimised perfectly for the property, right from the start. It can also interrogate a system remotely so that Mitsubishi Electric technicians can see exactly how the system is performing in each mode, adjusting settings remotely to optimise performance.

MELConsole was launched in June 2019 when Mitsubishi Electric included Wi-Fi as an automatic in-built addition to the Ecodan range. This not only means that all new Ecodan systems installed from June will have access to MELConsole, but that all previous Ecodan systems with Wi-Fi access can now be ‘seen’ by remote monitoring and support.

Highly commended: DNM Engineering, heat pump conversion module


SURE Solutions, ACR Contractor of the Year


Sponsored by Toshiba


Industrial specialist SURE Solutions repeated its 2019 success in this category by again impressing the judges with its growth, development and commitment to customers and employees.

The business was formed in 2016 and in late 2018 moved to new premises in Birkenhead as it continued to grow, both in terms of numbers and significant contracts won. SURE recently completed its biggest project to date, the UK’s first new poultry processing site in 30 years for food producer Cranswick, installing 5MW of process cooling on direct ammonia/glycol, plus 800kW of heat recovery.

Over the past 12 months, the company has expanded its service team to offer compressor repair and overhaul, allowing it to bring more work in-house, and says the next step is to assess/develop in-house capability in welding/fabrication, electrical and mechanical services.

SURE is passionate about developing staff and encouraging progress from within. Six apprentices are currently employed and the vision is to have a pipeline of talented individuals ready to meet the company’s ambitions, emerging technology developments and evolving regulations in the industry. The entry also demonstrated a commitment to customers. It has regular contract reviews with all clients, regardless of value, and feels this enables it to create bespoke solutions.

Highly commended: Star Refrigeration


Eastleigh College, Training Provider


Sponsored by LCL Awards


Eastleigh College strives to provide the training that industry requires and works as closely as possible with the companies who send their employees to be trained. Its main provision within the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Department is the New Apprenticeship Standard and the level 2 NVQ full cost day release and evening courses.

The college works with industry to provide students with up-to-date equipment to work on. Fujitsu UK is now able to provide bespoke training not just for their clients but also students on Fujitsu AC systems after donating several systems. ICS has provided a small chiller system, while Trane is setting up a Turbocor compressor. All of this benefits both the companies who are donating the equipment and the students. Fujitsu now runs training courses throughout the year from the college and ICS and Trane UK are looking at similar arrangements.

Eastleigh was approached by various companies to develop a block release programme for the new RACHP Apprenticeship Standard to fill a void that customers within mostly the bigger companies were looking to be filled. This has been developed to run along with the continued day release and evening courses.

The college is heavily involved in the SkillFRIDGE competition and its students emerged as the National Finals winners in both 2017 and 2018.

Highly commended: Business Edge


World Refrigeration Day, Marketing Initiative



For marketing success in 2019, it is difficult to look beyond the inaugural World Refrigeration Day. The culmination of a decade-long personal crusade by Stephen Gill, the aim was to fix a date to serve as a means of raising awareness and understanding of the role that the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industry and its technology play in modern life and society.

That it happened at all is largely down to the determination and sheer bloody-mindedness of its guiding light. That is achieved such success with no financial backing whatsoever is remarkable.

The decision to launch in 2019 was followed by hundreds of emails to trade bodies and associations and there was a huge boost early in the year when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced it support.

By June 26, more than 200 trade associations and professional bodies representing over 2 million members were supporting WRD, and the WRD logo was translated into 34 languages by volunteers, with requests for 10 more.

On the day itself, physical events occurred in at least 153 countries. Several governments, including Australia and India, posted about WRD on their official webpages, while the UN, the World Bank and the EU Commission where amongst the 4k plus accounts that tweeted about WRD.

Highly commended: JD Cooling, new group website


Fujitsu Engineer Integration Tool, ACR Ancillary


Sponsored by RW



Fujitsu’s Engineer Integration Tool has been designed to be used across the manufacturer’s full range of air conditioning products, with particular emphasis on simplifying more complex systems such as VRF heat pump and heat recovery. It can be accessed and used by anyone working on Fujitsu products, especially installers or service personnel during commissioning, fault finding or system health checks.

The built environment is searching for ways to become more environmentally friendly to reach carbon reduction targets. Such bodies as the Better Building Partnership have identified that correct HVAC system commissioning is a key area of improvement in moving to better building operating efficiencies. It has been Fujitsu’s aim to assist customers in both cost reduction for commissioning and cost incurred through system diagnosis, whilst combating the environmental challenge.

The full functions and features of multiple systems can be set through one point of access, either during commissioning or anytime upon interrogating the system. This includes but is not limited to the hysteresis of cooling and heating thermostat conditions, the external static pressure, and the energy saving modes of each fan coil. These otherwise time-consuming settings are critical to the correct operation of the system for both functionality and energy efficiency.

Highly commended: Toshiba, Mini Touchscreen Controller


Fujitsu JIII-L VRF, ACR Product of the Year


Sponsored by ACR Journal



The Airstage JIII-L is a revolutionary horizontal discharge heat pump VRF outdoor unit, boasting a 50kW capacity from a ‘Mini VRF’ chassis. The product has a profile of 47% less volume to that of ‘Maxi’ heat pump solutions, with a footprint reduction of 46%. It is also 24% lighter, which not only aids with installation but also reduces the load placed upon a roof.

Installation within a building is made possible through external static pressure adjustments, overcoming airflow pressure drops of up to 60 pascals. New refrigerant flow dynamics and control strategies have been applied to remove typical unwanted downtime during oil return cycles, targeting a user’s wellbeing and thermal comfort. Its reduced refrigerant pipework diameters across the system improve refrigerant velocities and reduces pressure drops within the system pipework. High velocity refrigerant flow control is used to return oil when required, rather than a complete reverse cycle.

It was critical that this type of horizontal discharge VRF maintained the design and specification capabilities of an application typical of 50 kW loads. Therefore, the product is designed and tested to elevation differences of 50m, not only between indoor and outdoor units, but also extending to an indoor to indoor elevation difference of 50m.

Highly commended: CIAT Vectios


MHI Q-Ton, Heat Pump Product


Sponsored by REFCOM



The Q-ton heat pump is a water heater which has the unique capacity of providing domestic hot water at 90 degrees Celsius at 300 l/hr. MHI believes it is the only product on the market that can achieve consistent high temperature outputs, particularly when operating in low ambient temperatures.

The Q-ton can operate as a standalone system without additional heat source. It is energy efficient and environmentally friendly as it runs on the refrigerant CO 2 which has a Global Warming Potential of 1 and an Ozone Depletion Potential of 0.

A sealed modular heat pumps system which can provide 30-480kW output from 1-16 units, it is designed to provide high capacity domestic hot water into commercial properties such as hotels, student accommodation, industrial processes and the leisure industry.

A unique feature is that it will provide a full 30kW capacity, even at an ambient temperature of 7˚C. It can also provide CO2 emissions savings of up to 76% compared to a gas boiler and 74% compared to electric immersion heaters*

* Based on conditions as follows: London area, Water stored at 65C, Elec peak tariff: 0.1636 pounds, Elect off-peak tariff: 0.11 5 pounds, Gas tariff: 0.6 pounds, Electricity carbon emissions: 0.233kg/kWh, Gas carbon emissions: 0.210kG/kWh [ref. 2019 SAP 10 document]

Highly commended: Daikin, VRV IV+


Matrix Energy Systems, Air Source Project


Sponsored by the Institute of Refrigeration


Matrix Energy Systems is working with Stuart Dodd and Sheffield City Council to develop a former industrial area on the outskirts of Sheffield with the aim of achieving the passivhaus standard.

For the pilot house on the project, an air source heat pump was specified to work with mechanical ventilation, solar PV and a battery. Matrix chose Viessmann technology as it felt the range of technology would meet all the needs of the property.

Stuart’s daughter has a rare condition where she can overheat if the temperature is not correctly balanced, so an integrated solution was required. Matrix settled on a Vitocal 200 6kW monobloc system, plus a Vitovent domestic MVHR system. Stuart did not want to use underfloor heating because of the thermal lag of the system and heat retention in the thermal mass, as this would not be helpful to his daughter’s condition. A radiator system was designed to run at 35˚C, more than enough in a property aiming for passivhaus standard. The MVHR system uses rigid metal ducting to distribute pre-heated fresh air around the system during winter with a built-in bypass for summer months to allow a cooling effect. A heat exchanger means heating may be applied in the winter months if required.

Highly commended: R A Brown Heating Services


The Hoover Building by Fujitsu, ACR Project


Sponsored by Blygold



The Hoover Building is recognised as one of London’s finest art deco landmarks. Now, behind the 1930s facade is a building operating one of the most advanced renewable energy climate control systems available.

The grade II listing meant conversion to 66 luxury apartments came with a number of challenges. Indoor units could not be visible, outdoor plant could not be visible from ground level or from surrounding residential areas, and pipework could not be visible anywhere in non-serviced areas. The system had to offer all the advantages of a modern climate control system but be almost invisible, whilst still achieving an overall BREEAM rating of Excellent. The equipment installed is Eurovent certified to achieve a seasonal coefficient of performance in excess of 5.81

Compact J-IIS VRF systems were chosen as they offered a chassis 200mm lower in height than the parapet with a height of just 998mm, and therefore met planning regulations for visibility whilst offering either 4, 5 or 6 HP capacity. Indoor units were placed in small ceiling voids, where both pipework and fan coils could be hidden. In areas where no roof void was present, an inverted ducted unit was specified to be floor mounted and surrounded by an art deco style cover concealing the chassis.

Highly commended: Aermec & Optimum Group Services, Telstra


Matrix Energy Systems, Domestic Ground Source Project


Sponsored by Carrier


A new-build property on a small development in Barnsley has taken advantage of technology integration with the installation of a ground source heat pump, a PV system and battery to maximise electricity storage. The customer initially only gave the go-ahead for the GSHP but was quickly convinced by Matrix’s holistic approach.

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The property was modelled to use a flow temperature of 35˚C by using underfloor heating throughout. A bore hole was drilled to 120m, with the added length raising the fluid temperature coming back to the heat pump. For every 1OC above 0OC, the power output of the heat pump increased by approximately 3%, this giving extra output for free.

The GSHP consumes 1.5kW of power when running at its designed output for the system in winter. The solar PV is more than capable of covering this power requirement as it can deliver a peak of 4kW power to the property. The PV system only need to be operating at 38% of its peak capacity to cover the usage of the heat pump.

The specification comprised a Viessmann Vitocal 222-G 6kW GSHP system (7.2kW due to borehole depth), integrated 220L DHW cylinder, Viessmann Vitocell 100-E 200L buffer vessel, Pearlight pplit east/west PV wwin MPPT 4kW, and Sonnen Batterie 9.43 V9.0 5kWhours

Highly commended: Finn Geotherm


Star Refrigeration and Lineage Logistics, Refrigeration Project


Sponsored by Dean & Wood


Star Refrigeration has completed the manufacture and installation of a 75,000m3 cold store facility for Lineage Logistics at its new site in Great Haddon, near Peterborough. The project consists of 15,000 pallet spaces of frozen warehouse capacity as Lineage plans for future growth.

The Peterborough project has seen the installation of a cold store plant with a refrigeration capacity of 600kW. Results from recent energy performance data analysis indicate that the Azanefreezer 2.0’s annual energy usage is set to cut carbon emission by 453 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to the UK’s ‘Best Practice’ guidelines.

Star was able to secure the contract through its offer of two independent AF300-S Azanefreezer 2.0 ammonia refrigeration plants. Star modified its existing AF300 unit by retaining the existing low-pressure receiver and compressors, but upgrading the unit’s condenser and base frame to a larger size. This allowed it to achieve a higher efficiency than that required by the tender, thus reducing running costs.

The use of a larger condenser allowed the facility to operate on 32.2kW for its evaporators, an 8.1% improvement on STS’s requirement, and 12.5kW for its condenser, a 58.3% improvement.

The Azanefreezer 2.0 is a modular, low charge packaged ammonia freezer with patented low pressure receiver design which is unique to Star.

Highly commended: SURE Solutions, Cranswick Poultry.


R A Brown Heating Services, Heat Pump Installer


Sponsored by MHI


R A Brown Heating Services has been installing ground and air source heat pumps since 2007. Prior to this Richard Brown had a successful plumbing and heating business. The decision to install heat pumps came from Richard’s desire to work at the cutting edge of the industry in terms of offering the best technologies to customers.

In 2012 the company moved into showroom premises, having previously been run from a home office, and steadily grew from 7 employees to 21 today. The showroom allows customers to explore working examples of mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) systems, radiators, underfloor heating (UFH), wall heating, ground source heat pumps (GSHP) from Vaillant & NIBE, air source heat pumps (ASHP) from Vaillant, NIBE, Mitsubishi & Stiebel Eltron.

Heat pump installations are now the main source of business, alongside a small amount of gas installations and servicing for long-standing customers. R A Brown ceased offering new oil installations some years ago.

In the last 12 years the company has completed more than 220 air source and 80 ground source installations in Norfolk and North Suffolk. With 56 air source and 5 ground source installations in the last year, it is growing the heat pump market year on year, a further 17% increase.

Highly commended: Matrix Energy Systems


Star Refrigeration Azanechiller 2.0, Chiller Product of the Year


Sponsored by Climalife



Star’s latest air-cooled low charge ammonia chiller, the Azanechiller 2.0, claims efficiency figures up to 146% higher than the European EcoDesign Directive (2009/125/EC) requirement for medium temperature chillers, up to 100% higher for comfort cooling chillers and up to 74% higher for high temperature chillers.

Star has re-engineered the range to help customers reduce energy costs, avoid the uncertainty of synthetic F-Gas refrigerants, and invest in a future-proof solution. A low charge design uses a combined evaporator/separator to achieve refrigerant volumes as little as 0.18kg/kW. As ammonia has zero global warming potential, the chiller does not fall under the European F-Gas regulation, unlike alternative technology using HFC refrigerants such as R134a and R410a. With COPs up to 3.63 at 100% load and 35°C ambient, increasing to 11.9 at 50% load and typical UK ambient temperatures of 10°C, the new Azanechiller 2.0 is 15% more efficient than its screw compressor counterparts at design conditions. Each Azanechiller package is manufactured, charged, commissioned and run tested at Star Refrigeration’s production facility in Glasgow.

Although the first Azanechiller 2.0 was ordered in 2016, Star but held off applying for an award until data was available to demonstrate its efficiency claims. Performance data from a number of sites demonstrate operating costs as little as 20% of those of applications of a similar type and size.

Highly commended: Mitsubishi Electric, i-NX-Q


G S Renewables for Hotel Isaacs, Non-Domestic Ground Source Project


Sponsored by BITZER


GS Renewable was tasked with designing and installing a more efficient heating, cooling and DHW system for Cork’s Hotel Isaacs, a 5-bedroom hotel which also has 11 apartments with 25 additional bedrooms.

A central plant room was used to house the equipment, namely:

•             2 x Viessmann Vitodens 200-W / 150kW gas condensing boilers.

•             2 x Viessmann Vitocal 351-G BW 351.B42 / 52.3kW 70°c flow temperature heat pumps.

This replaced 1188kW of heating boilers and 45kW of chiller split units.

The new system makes use of natural cooling from the hotel’s artificial waterfall water for the kitchen. And when the system is in cooling, it produces DHW as a free by product. Another major improvement saw the apartments provided with cooling, mechanical ventilation and pressurised water for the first time.

The system is constantly monitored with data being logged and transferred to the GS Renewable server. The optimisation of this system is ongoing because circumstances change. GS Renewable says it is about achieving a higher standard by optimising small differences, which all add up to a larger amount of savings and CO2 displacement. This includes looking at using the glycol cooling for beer chilling, as this will eliminate the beer chillers and give additional waste heat.

Highly commended: RA Brown Heating Services


Star Refrigeration Azanefreezer 2.0, Refrigeration Product of the Year


Sponsored by ACR Journal



Star Refrigeration’s Azanefreezer 2.0 has been proven to exceed UK performance guidelines with estimated cost savings of 66%. The air cooled, low charge ammonia refrigeration freezer provides a packaged solution for cold storage and food manufacturing applications, such as blast and spiral freezing. The units range from 111kW to 650kW and are designed for low temperatures ranging from -18°C to -40°C. Multiple modules can also be used for larger applications.

The Azanefreezer 2.0 is charged with as little as 0.52 kg/kW of natural refrigerant ammonia. The low-charge design reduces ammonia charge by up to 96% compared to traditional ammonia systems and avoids the need for complex valve stations. This removes the requirement for leak detection and ventilation, minimising health and safety concerns.

A European study from the International Institute of Refrigeration showed average European energy consumption figures for chilled and frozen storage facilities across Europe were about 50% higher than the figure declared to be “Best Practice” by the UK Government. However, recent energy performance data analysis for Azanefreezer 2.0 indicates its annual energy usage is one-third of that of UK’s ‘Best Practice’ guidelines.

The Azanefreezer 2.0 is manufactured and pre-commissioned at Star Refrigeration's production facilities in the UK. When delivered to site, installation and commissioning time is reduced significantly due to the unit’s plug and play design. 

Highly commended: Flowrite Services, CoolerRESPONSE


Dean & Wood, Wholesaler/Distributor of the Year


Sponsored by Fujitsu


With 212 staff and 15 branches, Dean & Wood prides itself on being a national wholesaler managed by engineers for engineers and believes that this understanding of trade needs strongly supports its day-to-day business.

The 115-year-old company has consistently demonstrated an appetite for change, using the knowledge of experienced employees and listening to and being led by customer feedback. Recent examples include an upgrade of the trade counter experience, including “The Engineers’ Rest” offering hot and cold drinks, free Wi-Fi, and digital screens with news of the latest products.

Spring 2019 also saw the official launch of the FGASManager tool with a series of roadshows around the country to educate customers. FGASManager helps contractors to monitor and manage refrigerant usage and helps compliance with the F-Gas regulations. It provides full transparency of cylinders in their possession in order to avoid unnecessary cylinder charges.

Dean & Wood is committed to developing employees and employs its own in-house training manager. Training is also offered to customers on all products for sale, in Beijer Ref training academies, at customer premises, at training partners and at supplier partner facilities.

Support for retail customers forms a key part of the business, as is the high level of technical support available to customers.

Highly commended: Logicool


ASDA & Partners, Refrigeration Innovation


Sponsored by CIAT



Asda has been working with partners to apply its “Save money. Live better” philosophy to HFO refrigeration technology to ensure an F-Gas compliant and low carbon future. It says it is “incredibly proud of being the first retailer in the world to land HFO refrigerants in a distributed system that serves display cases’’.

Chemours XL40 / R-454A was selected for initial trials in 2017 due its similar thermo-fluid properties to synthetic HFC dominated refrigerants such as R407F, R448A, R449A etc. As well as possessing a GWP of 238, improved system performance has been achieved when compared to mid-range GWP HFC refrigerants.

The first field trial of R454A demonstrated a circa 4.1kWh/day saving (3.65%) over R448A following the refrigerant retrofit works, and the optimisation of suction and discharge set-points. Furthermore, the reduction in GWP between R448A to R454A will significantly reduce system direct emissions to help support our natural environment. HFOs are now deployed at ASDA Trafford Park and a new store in Worksop.

All of Asda's refrigeration plant equipment is independently monitored via CT power-monitoring and is available in real time from a remote platform - Energy ICT.

During the design and development process, a technology and H&S compendium was created by Asda's consultant, Wave. This acts as an HFO “design standard” and is reviewed every month.

Highly commended: DNM Engineering, Criticool


Sainsbury's, Environmental Initiative


Sponsored by Sauermann UK



The facility replaced two existing distribution centres at Stone and Elstree and is now one of Europe’s largest single –22°C chamber coldstores, with a total refrigerated volume of 380,000m3. It has demonstrated significant reductions in power, water and effluent:

  1. Electricity consumption is reduced by 44% relative to the two previous coldstores. This is despite the Pineham coldstore having a 70% larger refrigerated volume than the previous two combined. 
  2. Water and chemical consumption has reduced by 86%, with the annual water saving being equivalent to 11 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Despite being a high-throughput cross-dock facility, Pineham is said to be in the top 5% of coldstores for energy efficiency. 

Lower grade waste heat is used to provide heating and hot water, while high grade exhaust waste heat is used to drive an ammonia absorption refrigeration cycle. The absorption plant has been integrated into the mechanical refrigeration system in order to maximise efficiency. A combination of inverter driven reciprocating and screw compressors in a 2-stage compression system are used to maximise efficiency of the part load condition.

Heat losses through the insulated floor are recovered via an ammonia liquid sub-cooler after the condenser, while all comfort cooling for the site and main electrical switch room is provided via the main ammonia refrigeration plant.

Highly commended: Clade Engineering Systems, Green Business


Stephen Gill, Phil Creaney's ACR Champion


Sponsored by ACR Journal


Stephen Gill’s efforts in making World Refrigeration Day a reality have been recognised elsewhere and this award is a tribute to someone who has now spent 40 years in the industry and rarely misses an opportunity to promote its virtues.

After starting out as a projects/technical sales engineer with BOC Linde Refrigeration in 1980, he went on to work with Hussmann, ABB STAL. Star Refrigeration and Morris and Young, also venturing into Asia with GEA and Johnson Controls alongside a growing role in the world of refrigeration consulting.

Away from the workplace Stephen has made his mark on the industry in a variety of way. He served as President of the Institute of Refrigeration from 2016-2018 as well as being heavily involved with ASHRAE and ACRIB and was among the founders of the IOR’s Women in RACHP group.

Among his most significant achievements has been a determination to raise the profile of the industry and shout about all the things it has to offer, championing the importance of STEM subjects and apprenticeships.

World Refrigeration Day would never have happened without the efforts of Stephen Gill. Hopefully, as others take up the baton, it will go from strength to strength and form a lasting legacy to our ACR Champion.

  • To see all the photographs from a fabulous evening, click here.