Hopkirk Research Institute

Project Information

Project Location Massey University, Palmerston North
Project Type Chiller Replacement
Building Type 4000sqm
Equipment Used - EWAH600TZ-SRB2 Daikin Air-Cooled Chiller. 600kW Capacity
HVAC Specialist Judd Refrigeration
“Being on time with the build project is critical as we couldn’t afford any downtime in business. Daikin delivered with accuracy!"

- Jerry Bell, Build Manager

The Building

The Hopkirk Research Institute is situated on Massey University’s Turitea campus in Palmerston North. The $17 million state-of-the-art research institute opened in March 2007 and is a collaborative venture between Massey University and AgResearch. It offers close to 4000 square metres of laboratory and office space, sufficient to house about 100 research staff.

The award-winning building supports the processes and procedures that are integral to world-class research. Their work focuses on achieving and promoting scientific and technological excellence in areas relevant to the health and welfare of pastoral livestock, with an emphasis on infectious diseases endemic to New Zealand that threaten the livelihood of the pastoral sector.

The replacement option was made more appealing as existing water pipe work, water pump and electrical services would not require replacement.
As part of the replacement plan, a professional engineer was engaged to design and specify new seismic mounting systems, as the chiller is located on the plant deck of a three storey building. Judd Refrigeration contracted the services of David Smart Consulting Ltd to undertake this.


Daikin’s EWAH-SRB2 600kW air-cooled chiller has an ultra-low GWP (7) rating and zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) from using R1234ze refrigerant - it is a green solution for low environmental impact. This model features high efficiency, reduced sound and dual circuit Daikin Inverter Single Screw Compressors. It provides increased capacity control and additional reduced operational costs.

With meticulous attention to fine-tuning each facet of operation, the chiller offers high efficiency for unmatched performance and economical operation.
The 600kW air-cooled chiller provides an economical means to produce chilled water without the requirement for a cooling tower, avoiding additional system complexity and maintenance.

BacNet BMS interface was integrated in the onboard chiller control to allow for high-level control monitoring and early fault detection by the site’s building management system – there was only low-level monitoring with generic fault outputs on the existing chiller. This new ability for remote control and management reduces long-term running costs.


The installation process to replace the Chiller required several considerations including the tenants existing operational requirements, particularly areas such as laboratories. The installation was scheduled during the shoulder season as the required cooling demands would be minimal through this period.

Prior to the start of the installation, trials were conducted by Judd Refrigeration to identify areas of the building that require continuous cooling demand. Once these areas were identified, temporary solutions were provided to meet the tenant’s requirements including installing portable air conditioners and providing a temporary cooling water supply to two autoclaves.

“Sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint is a top priority when choosing technology”

- Liz Hollard, CEO Research Institute


With COVID-19 still prevalent worldwide, this meant longer lead times and delays in the arrival of the chiller from Europe and other components necessary for the installation.

The installation was originally scheduled during the winter season as the required cooling demands would be minimised through this period.
Due to COVID-19 delivery delays and due to increasing ambient temperatures, a decision was made to install the chiller on temporary mounts to ensure cooling demands were met.

The crane lift of the chiller onto the third storey of the building was also a challenge. The day the lift was scheduled for had extremely poor weather conditions. It was necessary for it to be done at 6:00AM for traffic management controls at the busy University with high staffing numbers and traffic movement.
The lift itself required a spreader bar with careful connection points for lifting eyes due to the millimetre perfect positioning onto the temporary mounts that had been Chemset fixed into place on the plant room concrete plinths.


The variation in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions within the different regions of New Zealand was a hurdle to overcome when it came time to commission the chiller. The Auckland region was in a Level 3 lockdown; where Daikin’s Commissioning Engineer is based and no inter-regional travel was permitted. An essential travel exemption application to the Government was lodged and approved in order to get the commissioning completed.

The commissioning and fine tuning process was carried out over a period of two days as environmental factors such as low ambient cooling, and the new R1234ze refrigerant properties were taken into account.


The expertise of Judd Refrigeration was utilised through Daikin’s latest technology product offering, giving this award-winning building an upgraded and sustainable chiller system that will benefit the Research Institute for years to come.

An ultra-low GWP energy efficient and cost saving performance solution was delivered as well as an improved monitoring system that fits the buildings prominence.

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