First UK installation of Carrier chillers on R515B


09 September 2021

The UK's first Carrier chillers using low GWP refrigerant R515B have been installed at a leading art gallery.

Principal contractor SPIE UK specified two high-efficiency Carrier AquaForce 30XW-VZE variable-speed screw chillers on the new refrigerant to align with the gallery's environmental protection policy. 

It was announced earlier this year that Carrier had become one of the first manufacturers globally to offer water-cooled chillers and heat pumps operating on R515B, which has a GWP of less than 300. In addition, R515B is both non-flammable and non-toxic, and has been given the highest safety rating of A1. 

As an A1 refrigerant, R515B does not require additional safety measures in the plant room. This reduces upfront capital costs while leaving the option to convert the chiller and plant room at a later date without any loss of performance.

Chillers and heat pumps operating on R515B have been shown to be more energy-efficient, with an improvement of up to 5% compared to R513A, a different lower GWP option. This reduces operating expenses over the lifetime of the equipment. Use of R515B rates high under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification process, boosting the environmental rating of buildings assessed under the scheme.

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"A key factor influencing equipment choice was that the Carrier chillers can be retrofitted to operate on the ultra-low GWP refrigerant R1234ze, which has a GWP of less than 1, if this becomes necessary in the future,” said Andy Whitehead, SPIE senior project manager, who headed up the project. “This effectively future-proofs the installation and gives total reassurance to the client."

The equipment switch-out was carefully managed to ensure continuity of cooling to the gallery, with the two existing chillers replaced in stepped sequence, maintaining stable environmental conditions throughout for the gallery's works of art.

"This project was the first time I have worked with Carrier,” added Whitehead. “The company was very supportive and proactive. They ensured that the chillers were on site earlier than expected, enabling us to deliver the project on time for our client."