- Lead Organisation
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and HeatingLocation
Melbourne, VictoriaARENA Program
19 November 2019
1 January 2023
- Project PartnersCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Queensland University of Technology, University of Melbourne, The University of Wollongong
The Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub (iHub) project aims to demonstrate how renewable energy technology can be optimally integrated with heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) equipment in commercial buildings.
The Australian HVAC&R sector consumes around 22 per cent of all electricity produced and is responsible for around 50 per cent of peak demand on the electricity grid. This is a substantial and largely untapped sector that provides an opportunity for enhanced demand response, load flexibility, renewable energy uptake and integration of various technologies.
Interview: Insights Spotlight Interview with AIRAH
Vincent Aherne, project leader of the Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub (i-Hub) project, talks about the integration of innovative platforms, models and renewable energy technologies in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) sector.
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) will work closely with industry and a number of leading research institutes, such as CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong, in order to deliver the iHub.
Through the iHub, AIRAH will distribute funding to support a series of sub-projects under one of three activity streams:
- Integrated Design Studios for real building projects, to build industry knowledge and competence in early design strategies for maximising the utilisation of onsite renewable energy in conjunction with HVAC&R.
- Living Laboratories in the education and healthcare sectors where innovative and emerging technologies can be independently tested in a real-world scenario and their potential benefit to the sector quantified.
- Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House digital platform for receiving and making available building data relating to HVAC&R and onsite renewable energy equipment. Hosted ‘applications’ will enable supervisory control of users’ building HVAC&R equipment in order to unlock megawatts of demand response potential.
iHub’s three activity streams aim to:
- improve the control of HVAC&R by demonstrating the capability within a selection of building types to reduce onsite energy use, including how to reduce peak demand and demand charges, and increase the hosting capacity of solar
- identify a range of new technologies able to contribute to the decarbonisation of commercial buildings over the next decade
- demonstrate how open data digital platforms can be applied to deliver innovation in the built environment to deliver energy savings, including identifying and demonstrating 100 MW of potential demand response
- improve developer and building owner decision making capabilities by demonstrating the benefits of energy productivity measures, and increase the co-design approach to delivering lower cost and higher performance buildings.
Through a comprehensive knowledge sharing and engagement program, iHub will engage closely with industry and building owners to ensure the knowledge developed and demonstrated has a clear utilisation pathway.
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According to the twentieth century model of energy distribution, large power plants fuelled by coal, hydro or gas, generated electricity that was distributed via a centralised grid.