The reputation of a restaurant, and the repeat business that it attracts, is built on a number of interacting factors that influence the overall dining experience. Whilst the food is clearly important, the ambience also plays a key role. The expectation by diners is that they will experience a comfortable and relaxing environment irrespective of the outdoor weather conditions. Consequently, restaurateurs need to ensure they are able to control the restaurant’s environment effectively, without incurring excessive running costs.
Where there is a requirement for both heating and cooling through the year, heat pump air conditioners – which are able to provide heating and cooling from the same units – are usually the most cost-effective option. Therefore, modern heat pump air conditioning systems are able to provide energy-efficient cooling and heating to underpin a pleasurable dining experience all year round.
In selecting the most appropriate units it is important to consider the following criteria:
It is clearly essential that the air conditioning system does not detract from the aesthetics of the restaurant environment. It is therefore important to choose air conditioning units that blend unobtrusively with the decor while also maximising space within the restaurant. A comprehensive air conditioning range will include ceiling cassettes, wall-mounted units, ceiling-mounted units and floor-mounted units.
The energy efficiency of the selected units will have a significant impact on the overall running costs of the system. Heat pump air-conditioners are particularly economical for heating as they are able to extract heat from outside air, even at very low temperatures, with minimal power consumption.
Effective control is also important, particularly as the levels of occupancy within the restaurant are likely to vary throughout the day and evening. This means that the heating and cooling requirements will also vary in relation to the number of diners, as well as external weather conditions. For this reason we recommend the use of DC inverter control, which provides a very responsive and highly efficient air conditioning system.
As their name suggests, split system air-conditioners comprise two types of unit – one or more indoor units inside the restaurant and at least one outdoor unit outside the building, the two being connected by pipework. These types of units will typically provide the highest energy efficiency, particularly in heating mode. However, installation can be more complex and must be carried out by a certified air conditioning engineer. In some cases it may be difficult to find a suitable position for the outdoor unit, in which case a packaged air-conditioner (see below) may be a better option.
Packaged air conditioners comprise a single indoor unit with a discrete connection through a wall to the outside. This means they can only be mounted on an exterior wall, thereby limiting the siting opportunities within the restaurant. These units combine a high efficiency heat pump with ceramic heaters to provide year-round heating, as well as cooling in the summer. A key benefit is the minimal installation requirements. Powrmatic packaged units also feature stylish designs to enhance a wide range of decors.