A foreword by Dave Archer, Business Manager – M&E Contractor Sales Team

The UK’s retrofitting activity has gone into overdrive as buildings from offices to universities and hospitals are updated to meet requirements on carbon reduction and energy performance. HVAC systems are often at the core of these upgrades, particularly where building owners are switching away from fossil fuel systems to modern, efficient heat pump technology.

M&E contractors take a key role in delivering these updates. This means tackling projects that are often complex and challenging, with restricted space in existing plantrooms and tight deadlines just two of the main issues they face.

Mitsubishi Electric has been working closely across the property and construction sectors to help our customers meet the retrofit challenge. Our approach includes adoption of lower-GWP refrigerants to reduce embodied carbon and the application of heat pump technology to provide a range of energy efficient, reduced-carbon applications from heat pump chillers to ambient heat loops. 

Projects we’ve been involved with include Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital, where two ageing chillers on its maternity block were replaced. By using three of our e-Series chillers we were able to reduce the retrofit time (against a like-for-like replacement) by supplying the equipment quickly from our UK warehouse. The e-Series chillers also took up less room than the older units, making the replacement project more straightforward for the installation team.

We have also worked with The Gym Group, the UK’s first carbon neutral gym chain, to help them meet their high hot water requirements with heat pumps, rather than gas boilers. By using our Ecodan QAHV at its Leyland gym in Lancashire instead of a gas boiler, this client saved around 75% potential carbon emissions. In addition, the heat pumps cost 18% less each day to operate than a gas boiler.

Mitsubishi Electric has also been involved with organisations such as the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) on their Commercial Retrofit Task Force. It was an honour to be asked to contribute our technical know-how to their report on building the case for net zero retrofit of office buildings. Sharing knowledge and experience is vital if we are to meet the UK’s carbon reduction target for our built environment.

Retrofit and refurbishment is a growing opportunity for M&E Contractors, and it’s driving change in how things are done. BESA’s Top 30 M&E Contractors report (May 2024) highlights that: ”Building engineering services (will) become increasingly sophisticated and technology-driven to meet net zero targets and because of the growing trend towards refurbishment and retrofit versus new build.”

It's vital to stay ahead of these trends and Mitsubishi Electric has produced a series of guides and case studies to help M&E Contractors understand the issues. Our most recent publication is Considerations for Commercial Building HVAC Retrofit: Setting the Stage for Efficiency and Sustainability (LINK WHEN ONLINE). But our CPD library also provides useful background on areas such as embodied carbon, using the new family of low-GWP refrigerants and applying heat pump technologies as effectively as possible.

I’d like to thank my colleagues across the business for their work on these guides, and the information contained in this pack, including the Mitsubishi Electric Sustainability Team.

An insight into commercial retrofit

This brand-new guide has been put together to highlight the considerations for commercial buildings when it comes to HVAC retrofitting. The focus of the guide is efficiency, sustainability and ultimately improving a buildings performance.

HVAC systems account for around 70% of the energy used in today’s workplaces, so we need to accelerate the retrofitting of our existing commercial building stock if we are to meet the Net Zero 2050 goals, and M&E Contractors are a key component to contributing to the pace of the retrofits required.

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An Insight into commercial retrofit

An insight into retrofitting office buildings

This report has been put together by UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) with support from a commercial retrofit task group that includes Chris Newman, Zero Carbon Design Team Manager at Mitsubishi Electric.

The report covers what the industry needs to do to drive commercial retrofit in the office sector. It specifically highlights where M&E services can and have been improved, including with the use of renewable HVAC systems such as heat pumps and MVHR to decarbonise buildings.

View report
Retrofitting office buildings

An insight into Low-Carbon Retrofit

Low-Carbon Retrofit is the process of improving a building’s fabric and systems with the primary goal of improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.

This graphical overview, highlighting light and deep retrofit, has been created to show M&E contractors the high-level snippets that relate to this important topic.

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Low Carbon Retrofit

Low-Carbon Retrofit solutions

CAHV R Right View transparent

Ecodan CAHV-R Commercial Air Source Heat Pump

This new Mitsubishi Electric air source heat pump uses low GWP R454C refrigerant, offering a robust, low carbon system for the provision of sanitary hot water and space heating


Ecodan QAHV Commercial Monobloc Air Source Heat Pump

Specifically designed for commercial sanitary hot water application, the Ecodan QAHV CO2 system delivers hot water up to 90 degrees Centigrade to provide a low carbon solution for hospitals, hotels, leisure centres and student accommodation.

Eseries Modules Transparent

EACV / EAHV e-series Modular Chiller

The R32 e-series chiller range allows for up to 6 individual units to be connected together to provide a system capacity from 150kW to 1,080kW.

Project insights

Reusing an existing retail outlet, The Gym Group retrofit project delivered carbon-reducing renewable heating, via heat pumps, to its members.

View and download case study

The Gym Group Cardio

With buildings dated from 1839 to 2006, this vast retrofit project allowed the hospital campus to decarbonise, maintain patient comfort and free up space in the plant room and on the roof.

view and download case study

Royal Berkshire Hospital E Series