SS Great Britian

Application details: For SS Great Britain Bristol-based contractor H & F Air Conditioning worked closely with Toshiba distributor AMP Air Conditioning to come up with a technologically advanced solution that would not detract from the historic ambiance of her function rooms. The systems operate on R410A non-ozone depleting refrigerant and feature twin-inverter condensers for maximum energy efficiency and flexibility.

Every year more than 16,000 function and venue hire guests are welcomed on board. Brunel’s SS Great Britain also offers dining experiences from Sea Shanty Nights and Murder Mysteries to Christmas Lunches, Parties and Banquets.

Both function spaces were designed for 19th century rather than 21st century requirements – which is where the need for a modern air conditioning system arose. Situated below decks, and with no windows the rooms could become overheated when filled with guests.

The solution was to install two independent systems. The First Class Dining Saloon is cooled by an 18HP SMMS VRF heat pump connected to nine indoor MML-AP 0181 BH floor standing chassis units, while a 6HP MiNi-SMMS VRF heat pump and three indoor MML-AP 0241 floor standing chassis units serve the Hayward Saloon.

A touch of Brunel’s ingenuity was required to install the systems without detracting from the historical ambiance of the surroundings. No new holes could be drilled in the iron hull and no modern equipment could be on public display. To improve efficiency and sustainability, the system also feeds warm air back into the air-handling unit that controls the low humidity environment around the ship that stops her corroding.

The indoor units within the Hayward Suite, for example, are hidden behind oak panelling. In the First Class Dining Saloon the units are mounted with only the grilles visible to diners.

The outside units are cunningly tucked away too – testament to their compact design. One is sited behind the lift to the lower level, while the outside unit for the Hayward Saloon isn’t even outside. It sits in the keel of the ship, hidden behind a recreation of the ship’s new Crimean War horse display – complete with mannequin horses.

The SS Great Britain Trust’s Director of Commercial and Visitor Services, Deborah Germaine, commented: “Brunel’s SS Great Britain enjoys a fabulous reputation within Bristol and the south west for private and corporate functions, weddings and civil partnerships. Steeped in history, the setting is unique and stunning, and we also offer quality service.

“It is important to all the events team that guests have the best possible experience onboard ship, and this new air conditioning system will help especially during warmer weather.

“The company has worked hard to meet the requirements of the SS Great Britain Trust, and to ensure that the modern equipment is hidden wherever possible.”