Heating the Furry Homes of Bristol Zoo

The lemurs at Bristol Zoo are enjoying the warmth and comfort of their new island enclosure thanks to a special new Ecodan heat pump that we installed with the help of Mitsubishi Electric and Bristol graphics company, Hyrdo Wrap.

The Madagascan natives required a new, fully heated enclosure in which to eat and sleep. Equally important though was the need to ensure the technology providing their environment was invisible to both the lemurs and the visiting public.

The solution proved to be an Ecodan PUHZ-W50VHA2 heat pump with a twist.

Richard Blackmore says: “One of the main challenges for this installation was the need to blend the Ecodan unit in with the natural vegetation on the island. We achieved with the help of Bristol based Hydro Wrap who hydro dipped the case of the Ecodan in order to disguise the unit with a foliage print.”

Another key challenge was heat distribution within the 17m2 building.

Richard says: “The building is fully insulated and benefits from double glazing which makes it perfect for the installation of heat pump technology. However, unlike a domestic installation, the animals must be kept at a constant heat of 22ºC and the system must have the capacity to increase this to 26ºC in the event that the animals are sick.

“The base of the enclosure is three quarters of a metre deeper than the finished floor which you can see and it has been packed out with wood chip to serve as the ‘real’ floor for the animals. Our brief was therefore to come up with a solution that would heat the building to the required temperature and that would also be able to penetrate 750ml of insulation.”

In order to deliver the heat in a manner which could not be tampered with by the occupants, we also installed a Perimeter Heating System. This skirting board style solution incorporates large skirting board panels with pipes which are mounted around the inside perimeter of the room just above the level of the woodchip.

An additional shelf and anti-finger rails were installed above the skirt heating to allow the heat to be distributed without the risk of damage by the animals. A room thermostat was also installed in the Keeper’s area which incorporates a feature to boost the temperature for 24 hours should the need arise.

The integration of heat pump technology has allowed Bristol Zoo to meet the precise requirements of the lemurs in a manner which is both controllable and energy efficient.

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