​An artisan pizza restaurant under railway arches in central Newcastle has solved the problem of summer overheating with the installation of a heat recovery VRF air conditioning system.

The Herb Garden is one of Newcastle’s quirkiest, fine food restaurants, specialising in fresh, stone baked pizzas and rustic Italian salads and sharers. The venue is also renowned for its feature lighting and is tucked away in Arch 8 of Westgate Road, just beside Central Station and Newcastle Castle Keep. 

Siting a pizza oven inside a metal-clad railway arch had previously caused problems with a build-up of heat in the summer and the site had limited space for any plant, alongside restrictions on internal fittings because of the metal cladding.

“We needed a quiet, energy efficient solution that wouldn’t detract from our distinctive décor yet was able to cope all year round”, explained Ryan Darrington, the owner of the restaurant.

“There are also planning restrictions on what can be fitted to the front of the restaurant, so we had to find a solution that could be fitted in the small space at the rear”.

Tyne and Wear-based ADS Air Con Ltd, who operate throughout the UK, were called in to install a system whilst working around the restaurant’s opening hours. 

“The arches are listed and owned by Network Rail and there were restrictions on the type of solution that we could install”, said David Short, Director of ADS Air Con.  “That’s why the two-pipe solution from Mitsubishi Electric has worked so well”.

A single City Multi outdoor unit has been installed in an empty space to the rear of the building and this can send simultaneous heating and cooling to the indoor units installed throughout the restaurant to maximise the efficiency of the whole system. 

“City Multi units can also be installed and commissioned in different stages which meant we were able to work around opening times and keep disruption to a minimum”, added David Short. “Coupled with this is the fact that they are some of the quietest units available on the market and they can also be used to heat the restaurant in the winter”.

The arches are metal-clad to prevent water from the brickwork entering the building, so it was not possible to fix the internal air conditioning to this. The first floor VIP area in particular proved a real challenge due to the curvature of the building.  

Options were proposed for low wall and cassette units however a ducted fan coil mounted on the roof of a storage room was finally selected as it offered easy installation and better air movement for the occupants. 

For the ground floor restaurant, cassettes were hung from the structure for the first floor, however, it also required a unique solution that could cope with the decorative lighting and herb racks.  A ducted unit mounted on the top rack above the herbs provided a solution which didn’t affect the décor and provided comfortable air movement.

The control strategy for the system also had to be user-friendly and cost-effective. Based on those requirements, PAR-31 hard-wired controllers were used for the three control zones.  These are aesthetically pleasing, intuitive to use and offer energy saving functions along with a programmable time schedule.

“We’ve been delighted with the result and found David and his team completely professional and highly efficient”, said Ryan Darrington.  “We now have an energy efficient system that ensures our customers can enjoy their Italian experience in complete comfort regardless of the weather outside”​