Innovative solutions for the heating and cooling sector

Media release

29 November 2019

The heating and cooling sector’s transition to a low-emissions future is being supported by the Liberal National Government through the new Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub (iHub).

The Australian heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration industry consumes around 22 percent of all electricity produced and uses up to 50 percent of the peak demand through the electricity grid.

By demonstrating innovative ways to optimise heating and cooling using on-site renewable energy generation, iHub will help the HVAC and refrigeration sector lower emissions.

Through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Liberal National Government is providing $6.5 million in funding to the three-year $18 million iHub project.

The iHub will be led by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating in conjunction with CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, the University of Melbourne and the University of Wollongong.

As part of the project, funding will be open to applications from industry participants with a focus on proposals that demonstrate how renewable energy technology can be optimally integrated with HVAC and refrigeration equipment.

Applicants will be able to submit proposals for consideration under three activity streams including Living Laboratories, Integrated Design Studios and a Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House.

The Living Laboratories program aims to test different HVAC technologies in real-life building applications. Four test sites, including aged care living, hospitals and schools will test energy efficiency, energy productivity and increasing integration of renewable energy technologies.

The Integrated Design Studios program will develop a standardised design methodology with industry, academia and students working collaboratively on project case studies. The program aims to engage industry in large-scale innovation, improve the integration of HVAC and refrigeration with renewable energy technology and increase the enablement of technologies in architectural design. In collaboration with the University of Melbourne the methodology will be tested across data centres, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and hotels.

The Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House will facilitate an open data platform for the operation of HVAC and refrigeration and renewable energy equipment. The program will reduce demand on local networks and support on-site solar generation by providing third party supervisory control of building’s HVAC and refrigeration equipment to improve energy performance and demand response in buildings. Fifty buildings are expected to be involved in this program to provide an estimated 100MW of demand response.

The Government is taking real and meaningful action to reduce global emissions and this project supports our commitment to deliver a healthy environment for future generations while keeping our economy strong.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction