What is the purpose of an Air Conditioning Energy Inspection?

Answer: The UK government are committed to reducing the UK's carbon emissions and have set out their commitment in legislation. With Air Conditioning accounting for as much as 30% of a company’s energy costs the government introduced the mandatory inspections to help highlight and promote energy saving opportunities within a business associated to air conditioning.


How often do I need to have a TM44 inspection?

Answer:  An air conditioning energy inspection must be completed every 5 years.


Does my air conditioning system require a TM44 inspection?

Answer: The cooling capacity of an air conditioning ‘system’ is further defined as “the sum of all individual cooling units under the control of one building owner or operator”. All 'systems' with a total cooling capacity of 12kW or more will require an inspection. In practice this is likely to include facilities as small as coffee shops through to power stations.


When does my system require a TM44 inspection?

Answer: For all existing systems over 250 kW, the first air conditioning inspection must be completed by 4 January 2009. For all existing systems over 12kW, the first air conditioning inspection must be completed by 4 January 2011. New air conditioning systems over 12 kW installed on or after 1st January 2008 must be inspected within 5 years of being put into service. New landlords must obtain an air conditioning energy inspection within 3 months if one has not been secured by the previous tenant.


Why do I need a TM44 inspection?

Answer: The purpose of an air conditioning energy inspection is to inform the client of methods to improve air conditioning energy efficiency by reducing plant energy consumption. The inspection will recommend possible alterations to the operation of systems, upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of existing plant as well as highlight opportunities to replace ageing and inefficient equipment. The inspection will also inform the client of their legal responsibilities in regards to refrigerant, their types, quantities and leak detection inspection obligations.


What does a Standard TM44 inspection involve?

Answer: The air conditioning energy inspector will be required to inspect a sample of the air conditioning systems on-site; for split systems this will be 10% or a minimum of 3 systems. For larger complex systems, including plant such as chillers, AHUs, Versatemp or Fan Coil Units, 30% of the chiller & AHU plant must be inspected, with a minimum of 10, as well as 2% of the internal units with a minimum of 5 terminal units. The inspection itself will involve assessments being completed on the maintenance of the systems, including coils & filter condition, sizing efficiency of the systems to the areas that they serve, temperature samples to ensure the systems are operating correctly as well as document compiling and ensuring legislative requirements are adhered to.  To compare the ACE Wizard TM44 Inspection to a standard TM44 Inspection click on this link


Who is policing this legislation?

Answer: Portfolio and building owners need to be aware that the lack of a certificate may lead to a fine and solicitors will start to ask for certification upon building transactions taking place. Building audits will also highlight lack of certification. Local Authority trading standards officers have the power to check certification and issue fines for non-compliance, with additional fines for continued non-compliance. It should be noted that as from April 2012 the lodgement of reports to a centralised registry has been mandatory, this data base enables certification and compliance to be more closely monitored.


What if I do not have the budget to implement the report recommendations?

Answer: The legislation requires that these reports are carried out on a 5 yearly basis, however the findings of the report do not legally require action, and the implementation of any recommendations made is at the discretion of the building owner/manager. The scope of the report, where possible is to highlight simple low cost measures that will maximise efficiency of existing HVAC systems. Although outdated and inefficient equipment will be identified and efficiency will usually be improved by replacing these systems you do not have to take this advice.


Who is responsible for ensuring that a TM44 inspection is carried out?

Answer: The 'responsible' person is described as "the person who controls the technical functioning of the system" not someone who can just alter the temperature! The owner of the system will usually control the operation of the system even where day to day operation is contracted out to another. Where a tenant takes total responsibility for a building and its services (e.g. full repairing and insuring lease), then the tenant will control the system and will be the 'responsible' person.


What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Answer: As legislation currently stands, you can be issued with a fixed penalty notice for non-compliance with the legislation. There are 2 main fines that can be levied £300 for failure to ensure that a system has been inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 5 years (Regulation 21 (1)) £200 for failure to produce a valid air conditioning report within 7 days of being requested to do so by a Trading Standards officer (Regulation 39(4)) Fines are levied per site and can be repeated daily which can be a huge potential liability for multi-site operators.


Who is able to conduct an air conditioning inspection?

Answer: An energy inspection of an air conditioning system must be carried out by an accredited energy assessor who is a current member of an approved accreditation scheme. To become a member of an accreditation scheme, energy assessors will need to: demonstrate their competence, either by having a recognised qualification from an awarding body or approved prior experience and learning equivalent to the National Occupational Standard requirements, maintain appropriate professional indemnity cover, update their skills and knowledge regularly, participate in the accreditation body's quality assurance procedures, abide by the scheme's advice and guidance


What can I expect from my TM44 inspection report?

Answer: The purpose of the AC Inspection is to ensure that building owners and managers are given basic information regarding the efficiency of the air-conditioning systems they control. You will receive a report from the assessment which includes recommendations for steps you could take to improve the efficiency of your system. These may range from improvements to the maintenance regime, through changes to the way the system is operated, to recommendations on the specification of a new or replacement system. The report will be carried out in line with CIBSE TM44 publication. Acting on the advice in the AC Inspection report and rectifying faults or making appropriate improvements, where this is cost effective, should result in immediate improvements to the effectiveness of air - conditioning systems or reduce operating costs. It could also improve the energy ratings for the building, as calculated for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or Display Energy Certificate (DEC). In certain cases, inspections will understand that the AC system is being run well, all documents are in place, with records available showing that the AC equipment has been regularly maintained to a good standard. In these cases, the main content may be advising on load reduction or on alternative solutions not previously considered. The AC Report will suggest relatively basic maintenance, such as cleaning and repairs, to AC equipment whose efficiency has suffered through neglect.

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