Individual tenants will be able to control the temperature of their shops and offices once work on a multi-million-dollar replacement of an ageing air-conditioning system at Washington Mall is complete.
Owners Washington Properties Ltd is investing $3.6 million in the upgrade, which is part of an $8 million revamp of the entire property.
Work will involve replacing the ageing chiller plant and air handlers and installing a state of the art VRV system (variable refrigerant volume) which will provide finer control of individual tenant spaces and increase efficiency.
According to Paul Slaughter, Washington Properties’ director and general manager, the current air-conditioning system is more than 20 years old.
“At the moment there are several air handlers around the building and each does a group of tenants, so if a tenant works later it has to be on for the entire group, which is inefficient.
“It also means that one tenant has to have the same temperature as other tenants, which might not suit them,” said Mr Slaughter.
“The new system will mean that each tenant will have greater individual control over the operating hours of the air conditioning, with obvious implications for cost control.”
The upgrade is being managed by AirCare and is expected to last between 12 and 18 months. The work will be done in stages, said Mr Slaughter, starting on the ground floor of the Reid Street entrance.
“There will be some disruption and we do apologise for that, but we believe the much improved, much more efficient end result will be very worthwhile, both for our retail and office tenants, as well as those who use the mall for shopping,” Mr Slaughter added.
Brendan Stones, AirCare’s general manager said: “We are really pleased to be working with Washington Properties on this project. Not only will the tenants have more autonomy on managing their environment, they should experience significant financial savings.
“Environmentally, this is a win-win scenario as well. There will be significantly lower electricity consumption and the refrigerant used in Daikin VRV systems has zero ozone depletion potential.”
As well as the new air-conditioning system, Washington Properties has also invested in a new solar electric system which is now up and running.
It is also replacing shop fronts, coloured ceramic floor tiles, in the older sections of the mall, will be replaced with Travertine tile to match the newer section of the mall and some older elevators will be upgraded with new controls, machine rooms and other hardware.