UK: A “wrapping” service which enables condensing units to blend into their surroundings has enabled an air conditioning upgrade to meet modern UK planning requirements.

Faced with replacing an outdated split system with a new upgraded system in the offices of a former early 1900s school building in historic Bury St Edmunds, local contractor Acorn Air Conditioning and Refrigeration came up against more stringent planning restrictions.

The system replacement provided the landlord with an opportunity to improve comfort levels by installing additional air conditioning and extending its coverage to other rooms in the building.

The solution chosen involved R32 solutions from Daikin’s Split and Sky Air ranges – five single split systems with wall mounted indoor units and one with an under-ceiling cassette, and a multi-spilt system serving two wall mounted units.

While installation was relatively straightforward, the real issue was installing them in a way that satisfied modern planning requirements.

Acorn called upon a recently introduced service being offered by Daikin UK which enables a unit to be merged with its background by creating a wrap that is matched as closely as possible, using a high quality photograph.

“The old outdoor unit had been mounted at head-height in a bin area next to the tenants’ entrance at the rear of the building. Installed at a time of less demanding planning controls, the unit was now clearly at odds with current respect for the architectural heritage,” explained Acorn director Hayley Nunn.

“As we were replacing one unit with three, we needed a better location. The nearby wall beneath windows looking out over the bin area was the obvious choice. “There is parking and a modern office park behind the old school building, so the façade we were working on was regarded as another front. While the new units would be mostly screened by the low wall of the bin area, the planners wanted an even better solution.”

Acorn decided to put Daikin’s wrapping service to the test. The outdoor units – including the four installed elsewhere on the property – have been wrapped in vinyl sheeting printed with a brick pattern closely resembling the old brickwork behind them.

The solution offered met the planners approval.

“Our systems are designed to look good in most cases, but we know that some circumstances necessitate special treatment. In addition to our standard colour, we can meet virtually any other coating requirement from an infinite range of colours to printed vinyl wraps as at Bury St Edmunds,” commented Daikin DX product manager Martin Passingham.