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An innovative approach to the design of building services has won national acclaim for J&B Hopkins of Fareham, Hampshire with short listing in two prestigious awards.
The mechanical and electrical contracting engineers firm is a finalist in the ‘Innovation’ category of the Retrofit Awards and in the ‘Industrial & Commercial Project’ and ‘Small End User’ categories of the RAC Cooling Industry Awards.
J&B Hopkins entered both awards with a case study showing how it is possible to deliver a highly energy efficient way of controlling the temperature within buildings using low temperature heating and high temperature cooling.
“There is a real focus on minimising energy use in buildings and we have found a way of providing a comfortable internal environment by using the best design and the best equipment,” explains Managing Director, Paul Hopkins.
The company has used its headquarters in Concorde Way, Fareham to demonstrate that this approach can be replicated in almost any commercial building. J&B Hopkins is a Business Solutions Partner with Mitsubishi Electric and offers its services across the UK.
Where Hopkins and his team have been truly innovative is in installing underfloor heating on both floors and also including overhead piping to allow for cooling or heating via the ceiling or floors.
The ground and first floor are designed to accommodate the underfloor heating and the ceilings in both the ground and first floor are a mix of over-ceiling piping in perforated light-weight aluminium panels or pipe work embedded in plasterboard. The combination of underfloor and over-ceiling systems radiates heat from both the ceiling and floor and in summer, the large cooler surface area of both the floors and the ceilings allow both surfaces to absorb heat emitted either through a person’s body temperature or equipment such as computers, giving a steady level of comfort to the occupants.
This enables the building to benefit from what Hopkins calls the ‘Cathedral Effect’ where heat from the occupants and electrical equipment is absorbed by the cooler ceiling and floors.
“It means that the cooling can be provided at much higher temperatures or heating at lower temperatures, we are also only dealing with the sensible heat and not latent heat, saving overall energy,” adds Hopkins. “What we are simply doing is providing a suitable constant internal temperature all year round, rather than continuously trying to combat the different outdoor temperatures.
“We know that we have developed an effective system and it is great to make the shortlist. We are now looking forward to the two finals in September and October,” ended Hopkins.