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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation



    Mayfield West, New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    International Engagement Program

  • Start date

    9 May 2018

    End date

    17 March 2020

  • Project Partners
    Buildings Alive, Switch Automation
    This DER project was completed on 17 March 2020.


This project supported Australian participation in the International Energy Agency (IEA) Mission Innovation Challenge for Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings.

Key results

This project established and strengthened international relationships and research collaborations that increased Australia’s capacity to innovate in the heating and cooling space.

International collaboration resulted in the establishment of a new IEA Annex 81 “Data- Driven Smart Buildings”, led by Australia and with five Australian industry and research participants. The Annex includes significant research on ‘energy flexible buildings’ which offers the potential for low capital cost flexible load to help enhance the Australian renewable energy sector’s ability to manage the intermittency of onsite solar in buildings and increase the value of solar energy. This has the potential to provide ~1.2 GW of low-cost flexible demand.

The project also helped to establish the “Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub” – an Innovation Hub (i-Hub) designed to facilitate the HVAC and refrigeration industry’s transition to a low emissions future, stimulate jobs growth, and showcase HVAC&R innovation in buildings through knowledge dissemination, skills-development and capacity-building.


This Innovation Challenge had four main areas of focus:

  1. Develop energy savings and energy efficient technologies and materials to reduce demand for heating and cooling
  2. Develop low-carbon integrated equipment and systems to provide heating and cooling
  3. Develop storage solutions to match energy supply to heating and cooling demands
  4. Develop efficient transfer of heat from point of production / storage to point of use.

In each case the need was to develop lower cost, practical alternatives to today’s fossil fuel based solutions.

Last updated
08 September 2021


With support from ARENA, the Mission Innovation Challenge increased access to international knowledge and research on heating and cooling, innovations and market/policy best practices. This knowledge was then disseminated to the broader, relevant Australian sector. This information and application of this knowledge will be applied to new activities such as new R&D projects, demonstrations, deployments, international standards/guidelines etc.

This work also supported the development of international standards and research pathways to understand how to harness energy efficient heating, ventilating & air conditioning (HVAC) as a distributed energy resource for managing buildings and mini- grids with high penetration of solar PV.

Last updated 08 September 2021


Plotting next steps in distributed energy transformation

As Australians embrace rooftop solar at world-leading rates, work is underway to create a modern, fairer electricity system for the future.

What are distributed energy resources and how do they work?

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.

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