A heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrade to a heat recovery system not only produced annual savings of over € 13,000 on energy and 24 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) for the environment; but it also resulted in reduced planned preventative maintenance (PPM) costs.

PPM savings resulted from remote access and monitoring of the heat recovery systems, by accessing the site-based building energy management system (BEMS) through a remote access router. In most cases, this removed the necessity to physically travel to site.

Project background

The heat recovery system installation was a cornerstone feature in achieving energy savings. It formed part of a larger HVAC upgrade in a grocery retail shop. Amongst other things:

  • boilers;
  • air conditioning units;
  • gas detection;
  • air handling units;
  • water services;
  • radiators;
  • smoke extract fans were also installed.

Energy saving project

The environmentally sustainable element of the installation involved taking the waste heat from refrigeration cabinets in the food hall and using the heat’s energy to heat the hot water requirements for the store.

Remote access and monitoring then provided a further monetary and environmental saving element to the HVAC upgrade, by replacing most physical service engineer callouts.

Collaboration and training

While the whole upgrade project was a collaborative effort – between consulting engineer, customer and installer – close collaboration was needed for the heat recovery system.

The customer examined the feasibility of the project, meeting with European refrigeration equipment suppliers to choose the most appropriate product and to ensure the system was feasible.

Once chosen, training was undertaken with the European suppliers of the refrigeration cabinets – Basetec – to efficiently set-up the heat recovery system.

Heat recovery system challenges

1. Health and safety – Legionnaires disease

Whilst the heat recovery system heated the store’s hot water most of the way, it couldn’t quite reach the 60°C required – to protect water systems against Legionnaires’ disease. Therefore, for health and safety and business continuity reasons, gas boilers boosted the water temperature to 60°C. As a fail-safe, an immersion element would kick-in, should any issue occur with the gas supply to the boilers.

2. Heat recovery system wiring

The refrigeration cabinets and heat recovery system operated to certain European standards and by extension, operated to those associated safety standards. Re-wiring of certain controls had to be performed to bring the system fully in-line with Irish fire safety regulations.

For example, in the event of a fire, Irish regulations dictate the immediate shut down of certain mechanical systems, however in other European countries, fire events seek to operate some mechanical systems in reverse to counter fire effects.

3. Graphics

In order to fully understand the system and fully train other service engineers in the mechanical systems’ interdependencies, an online graphical representation of the system was produced. This allowed service engineers at the remote access computer to immediately recognise system elements, their individual live operational settings and view the effects of any adjustments in real time.

Heat recovery system energy saving

Heat recovery system results

The following savings were achieved through operation of the heat recovery system and remote access and monitoring:

  • Energy saving of € 13,445 per annum
  • Energy saving of over 24 tonnes of CO2 per annum – equivalent to removing 10 cars from the roads each year
  • Quick project payback of 1.22 years (or 15 months)
  • Post warranty period savings on physical callouts


An outcome resulting from the environmental savings achieved equated to the removal of emissions of 10 cars from the road per year.

Thermodial’s approach

At Thermodial we believe in high standards and efficient operations in HVAC upgrades – reducing business risk and lowering energy spend. Accordingly, the highest international certification standards oversee our work – ensuring the safest possible practices are adhered to.

Thermodial are certified to ISO 9001, 14001, 45001 and 50001 in quality, environmental, occupational health and safety and energy management respectively.

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