AmphiPod, Bristol Zoo

Simulating Day & Night-time Conditions for Endangered Species

clients brief:Close control of the differing day and night-time temperatures to simulate the frogs' natural environment
consultant:Bristol Zoo Curator
contractor:Space Engineering
equipment:Two specially adapted Marstair cassettes combined with J&E Hall Fusion condensing units

J & E Hall condensing units are playing a key role in protecting two rare species of frogs at Bristol Zoo. A special breeding sanctuary – the AmphiPod – has been built at the zoo to house the critically endangered lemur leaf and golden mantella frogs.

Temperatures in the AmphiPod must be similar to the tropics to provide perfect breeding conditions. Somerset-based Heronhill Air Conditioning was given the task of providing cooling for the job.

Heronhill supplied two specially adapted cassettes matched with J & E Hall Fusion condensing units using R404A. Special control panels allow the temperature range to vary from as low as 6°C in the evening to 30°C during the day – depending on the breed of frog being housed in the AmphiPod.

The systems were installed by Space Engineering of Bristol. Heronhill managing director Nigel Manning said, “This is a very prestigious and worthwhile project. The zoo is a charity and protecting endangered species is important. J & E Hall were delighted to help us out.

With the compact size of the AmphiPod and the fact that visitors to the zoo need to be able to see the frogs, we needed something that would be discrete and not too noisy, big or bulky. So this was very much a hybrid job – a mix and match – something we specialise in all the time.

The J & E Hall units are superb and have all the available options you would need on such a critical application. The after-sales support is excellent too. We are very pleased". 

The lemur leaf frog is found only in a few places in Costa Rica and Panama, while the golden mantella hails from Madagascar. Bristol Zoo's Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, Tim Skelton, said, “The AmphiPod is a vital tool in helping to save high-risk frog species from the danger of extinction – currently a very real and near threat.” 

Fusion condensing units are sold complete with all components fitted during manufacture – such as liquid receiver, sight glass and filter drier, saving the installer time and the customer money. They retain the high standard of workmanship you would expect from J & E Hall and also provide the benefits of the latest technology. 

Features include: the Maneurop MTZ compressor from Danfoss service valves situated on the outside of the unit increased anti-corrosion protection improved electrical layout increased noise insulation to the compressor and the inside of the unit. 

The units are available for medium and low-temperature applications using R404A refrigerant. Medium temperature units can also run on R134A and R407C.

Image credit: Careyjamesbalboa (Carey James Balboa) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons