Why air conditioning makes the best heating

Sponsored: Roberto Mallozzi, MD of Gree UK, discusses the benefits of air conditioning

I sincerely believe that air conditioning in general and the heat pump in particular is the best, most efficient and most cost-efficient way of maintaining any building’s optimum temperature and environment. One of the reasons this message has not become more widely accepted by end users is the numerous misconceptions with which these products have been plagued since they first appeared.

One of the oldest of these myths is that air conditioning creates draughts.

This may have once been true, but modern systems diffuse the air to avoid this. In fact, the constant circulation of warm air eliminates the draught problem that occurs with radiators below large windows; something that is prevalent in many educational establishments.

Air warmed by the radiators rises up to the, often high, ceiling, where it comes into contact with cold windows on cloudy winter days, cools down quickly and falls as a chilly draught.

Another myth that refuses to die is that cooling on the British climate is an expensive luxury and that any form of heating that uses electricity as a power source must be expensive.

In previous blogs, I think we have shown that there is overwhelming scientific evidence from a number of studies that maintaining classroom temperatures around 22ºC improves learning, so, in our increasingly extreme climate, with added issues of outside air quality in urban locations, it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

We often hear that air conditioning cooling and heating systems will be high maintenance and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth

As far as it being an expensive form of heating is concerned, heat pump heating of all types is the most efficient form of heating available, typically producing 3.5kW of heat for every 1kW of electricity consumed.

While capital costs may be higher than other forms of heating, installation cost is comparable. With modern extremely efficient units, running cost savings are much higher than you would expect.

This myth also ignores the fact that there are a number of better value brands, such as Gree, that are now available, with the same performance as the more expensive versions.

Another misconception is the belief that some buildings would be unsuitable for the installation of air conditioning, and that the units would not blend in to the classroom environment, especially in older buildings. This is to hugely underestimate the variety and style of modern units, and the numerous mounting options.

Many administrators worry that installing new heating systems cause disruption. This does not have to be the case, as installations can take place after hours, during holidays or even at weekends, eliminating the need to move classes/study areas and minimising the potential disruption to the students and teaching staff.

Finally, we often hear that air conditioning cooling and heating systems will be high maintenance and complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth. Maintaining a new system is relatively simple and requires no more visits per year than a traditional heating only system. And with a planned maintenance programme in place, the system will work efficiently all year round while minimising potential issues during critical heating or cooling months.

One of the advantages air conditioning/heat pump systems give users is that they are far more controllable and allow for functions that a simple heating system does not, so it is true that there are more control options to get to grips with, but that does not need to be more complicated. However, these options will be explained in a well-structured hand-over session, with easy to follow reference sheets for the user to keep. Plus, simple to operate, intuitive controllers are available for all good models.

For more info on Gree and their air conditioning solutions please visit their website

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