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Cool Clean Up

07 December 2007

End-of-life fixed air conditioning plant that needs to be replaced by more energy efficient equipment can now be recycled in a new scheme operated by Daikin. Bernard Dehertogh explains how the scheme works

CARBON FOOTPRINT, ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS, energy efficiency and sustainability – these are the current buzzwords for any business operating in the UK marketplace. One of the main reasons for this is the government stepping up its drive to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions. As a result, environmental awareness is increasing, especially as the impact of climate change and the real threat of global warming is constantly in the media spotlight.

The knock-on effect cannot be ignored and has led to many UK businesses look at their own operational procedures and performance to see how efficient and compliant they are. Changing traditional light bulbs for energy efficient ones, for example, is a simple and low cost way that any company can take to make their business more efficient. A range of other simple steps can also be made, such as ensuring all electrical equipment is turned off when not in use and turning a heating system down by as little as 1…C.

More significant strides can also be taken, with many businesses looking to improve their building control and management services, such as upgrading their traditional climate control system with an energy efficient solution. Not only will reducing your annual energy consumption save your business money, thus helping to increase profitability, but by staying ahead of legislation it will help give a business a competitive advantage and protect their reputation.

Whilst the increasing number of air conditioning systems being replaced with new and innovative ones is good news in helping drive up the efficiency of the UK’s commercial property stock, one issue is what happens to the old equipment that has reached the end of its life?

Currently, under the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, the recycling of electrical and electronic goods is enforceable by law. However, fixed air conditioning, which comprises more than one unit interconnected and installed by a specialist, is not yet in the scope of the regulation.

Daikin is raising the bar by introducing a first of its kind recycling scheme, which takes back existing air conditioning equipment at the end of its life. It is all part of our commitment to act in an environmentally responsible way, going beyond current legislation governing the industry and setting the standards that others must follow.

Under the voluntary scheme, Daikin and the project installer will work directly with a customer’s facilities manager to collect the end of life air conditioning, regardless of manufacturer, from the site. It is then transported to an authorised WEEE recycler (Approved Authorised Treatment Facility[AATF]), where it is dismantled in such a comprehensive way that any hazardous substances are destroyed or reprocessed. Thereafter, up to 95 per cent of the residual matter will be reclaimed for further use.

The recycling scheme will be limited to Split Systems, Sky Air and VRV in the first instance, but the disposal of Chillers will be possible on a piecemeal basis until formalised at a later date into the scheme. Daikin is keen to point out that this is not a general recycling scheme and it only applies where an order has been placed for Daikin air conditioning to replace an existing installation (of any manufacture). The equipment being removed must not be greater in size or cover a greater area than the ordered replacement and it must comprise direct expansion system(s) indoor and out door units. A smaller system is acceptable, for example, if a couple of split systems are being taken out when a VRV system is being installed. However, the opposite is not acceptable.

When an existing direct expansion air conditioning system, of any manufacture, is being taken out for disposal and is being replaced by Daikin equipment, Daikin UK will undertake to collect it from site at ground floor level. It will have it transported to the recycling facility to be dismantled in such a way that any hazardous substances are destroyed or reprocessed (such as residual gasses in blown foam, refrigerant oil, lead solder etc).

The dealer/installer that is contracted to ‘rip out’ the old air conditioning in the existing building will have to, under the F-gas regulations, remove the refrigerant from the system, and send it for reprocessing or destruction, keeping a record of the quantity and type removed. Daikin will then collect the equipment for recycling. In order to arrange collection Daikin UK needs to have an accurate description of the types, sizes and numbers of pieces that need to be collected and has created a form for this purpose that can be downloaded from its website. A collection date, giving at least three days notice has to be agreed in advance.

Daikin will make a charge to cover administration, handling and transport based on a scale of 1-9 units ranging from £75 for one unit to £190 for 9 units, with a £250 maximum charge for a consignment of up to nine units. The table (left) shows typical examples of what can be taken into the scheme.

For FMs, the ultimate benefit of this service is the peace of mind that they are acting in an environmentally conscious way. We have all seen pictures of fridge mountains on landfill sites in the national press and this scheme is specifically designed to minimise the potential of this happening in the AC sector.

● Bernard Dehertogh, supply chain manager at Daikin UK,

More info
For the full details of this scheme refer to www.daikin.co.uk


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