Panasonic Delivers Sustainable Heating for Paragon House at University of West London


Paragon House – an 11 storey teaching block at the University of West London (UWL), has recently replaced its gas boiler heating system with a ground-breaking first for Europe and the UK, by Finn Geotherm installing three x 210kW Panasonic air-to-water heat pumps with a bespoke cascading thermostatic control system to heat the entire building.

The University were looking to improve the energy performance of the building in a more sustainable way, reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption, with the help of a Salix funded government grant (the UK Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) and the Low Carbon Skills Fund (LCSF)).

UWL appointed Ameresco as the main energy improvement contractor for the project with Finn Geotherm as the contractor who specified and installed the 3 x 210kW Panasonic heat pump system, along with a bespoke cascade thermostatic control system that links with the building’s BMS. Paragon House is situated in a prestigious London location adjacent to the M4 with a mix of classroom and lecture theatres across 11 floors.

The main challenge for the project was that the University ideally wanted minimum internal disruption and an energy efficient system that could link and work with their existing pipework, radiators, cassettes and fan coils. A further challenge was lifting the three large 210kW units, each 6m2 and weighing just over two tonnes onto the roof of the 11 storey building. Detailed structural surveys were carried out to ensure the weight and distribution of the units at roof level would work effectively and safely.

Guy Ransom, Commercial Director at Finn Geotherm commented, “Originally it was thought that the best solution to meet the heat load for the entire building would be a ground source heat pump system but on initial surveys and inspections, it became apparent that the drilling of bore holes would be impossible given the ground space available and the proximity of the building to the M4 motorway and other busy London road networks.  We have worked with Panasonic air source heat pumps over a number of years now and have developed a trusted two-way partnership with the team and where Panasonic has become our manufacturer of choice – we respect the quality of the units – they do what they say they can do.”  

The Panasonic 210kW heat pump units installed at Paragon House were the first of their kind in the UK and Europe to be installed – the units offer outstanding efficiency with extremely high SEER and SCOP figures, can operate in temperatures as lows a -17oC in  heating mode, are quiet in operation, offer a customisable design with capacities from 20k to 210kW, and can be integrated into a BMS control system.

The team at Finn Geotherm worked with Panasonic’s European R&D and UK teams to obtain test data to support the specification of the units. The two teams liaised over a number of weeks to verify the data, ensuring the required range of output and input temperatures would work effectively on the bespoke thermostatic cascading control system. The aim was to maximise the use of the heat pump use when a back-up system was insisted on by the client for the Paragon House project.

Guy continued, “We worked closely with the wider team at Panasonic and carefully laser measured and assessed the heat loss for each area of the building to ensure that the units would be able to distribute a similar level of comfort to the existing gas boiler system. The Panasonic system now installed at Paragon House was the first of its kind in Europe – this ground-breaking project pushes the envelope for similar large renovation projects in the future that are looking to decarbonise their heating systems - the customer is very happy with the end result.”

The Panasonic system has lowered the carbon footprint of the property and is highly energy efficient to run with little impact on the interior pipework and space within the building. The units are located on the roof to ensure they are discreet, quiet and unobtrusive to the surrounding area, having very little impact on the day to day running of the building during installation. A construction of support spreader beams and plates was designed to distribute the load within the tolerance of the roof area.

Claire Willits, Director of Property Services at UWL added, “The University of West London has been very pleased with the results of the project and having now been through our first winter running on the new systems we can safely say the technology works! This project has made a significant contribution in our carbon reduction journey and has given us reassurance that change for the better of the environment can also be cost-effective and deliver a practical operational solution.”

It is estimated that Paragon House will receive energy savings in the region of 1,058,000kWh per year. Considering the other two Panasonic installs at UWL, the total amount of energy saving is expected to be in excess of 500 tonnes of CO2 per annum. The above project was recently announced as the award winner of the National Renewable Heat Project of the Year at the Energy Efficiency Awards 2022.

Harvey Loyal, Specification Sales London for Panasonic further added, “The control of the 210kW units were new to the market when Finn Geotherm came to us with the project – we worked with the wider Panasonic technical team and Finn Geotherm to provide a seamless design and installation. As this was a European first and so for peace of mind, the original boilers were kept as a back-up should the outside temperatures reach -5 degree or lower. 12 months following the installation, Paragon House has confirmed the boiler system has not once been utilised and the heating produced from the Panasonic Air-to-Water system fully meets the heating requirements of the building.”

Since the initial installation of Panasonic air source heat pumps at Paragon House, Finn Geotherm has installed similar Panasonic systems in several other similar buildings across UWL as well as many other large projects in and around the London area.

For more information on Panasonic air source heat pumps, please visit To find our more about Finn Geotherm visit -


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