﻿HMS Belfast is armed with Fujitsu air conditioning
If you are ever visiting HMS Belfast in London give a thought to the air conditioning that provides both heating and cooling in this challenging environment. Because the ship is metal, it suffers extremes of temperature in summer and winter. The preferred installer of air-conditioning systems for the last 17 years has been Sirocco Air, whose brand of choice for the last 15 years has been Fujitsu.
Matt Fisher, founder of Sirocco, gives an insight into what is involved: ‘There is ducting on all decks. When the ship was in service, the heater coils went through the ducting, with the heat being generated from the turbines when the ship was at sea. When it came to be moored in the Thames [in 1971], heating was provided by gas heaters, which meant there was a big main supplying gas from the shore. It was decided that air conditioning was a much better and economic proposition.’
The ducting cannot be altered, and it can be very difficult to utilise it. Another problem is drilling through ‘walls’ — which can be 50 mm-thick steel, a task that has destroyed three drills.
The large selection of Fujitsu units available helps meet widely varying requirements. Matt Fisher tells us, ‘We used the Fujitsu J-series below decks in “Sleepover” — an area used for parties of kids who come to see the ship and sleep aboard as part of the experience.
‘Elsewhere we have used Fujitsu split and multi systems, depending on the conditions.
‘The on-board caterer Sodexo organises events and conferences on board, and we could be called on to install a new unit in the conference or dining room — or it may be for a small confined area at the other end of the ship.’
There are over 20 units on board.
Another problem is siting outdoor units, which, because the ship is basically an historic building, have to be unobtrusive. Solutions have included in a funnel and behind a gun turret.