Cool online tool aims to lower HVAC energy usage

by FM Media
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An online dynamic assessment tool to rate, rank, reward and encourage best-practice HVAC systems in buildings is being developed as part of the HVAC High Efficiency System Strategy (HVAC HESS).

Managed by Sustainability Victoria, the Calculating Cool project is developing an online calculator to coordinate operation and maintenance practices, including data collection, long-term monitoring and comparative analysis.

Phil Wilkinson , CEO of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating (AIRAH) – one of the driving forces behind the initiative – says Calculating Cool is set to have a profound impact on the reduction of energy use in Australian HVAC systems.

“HVAC systems typically account for around 40-75 per cent of the energy usage in buildings, and usually represent far more than 50 per cent of the potential energy-efficiency improvements that could be made,” Wilkinson says. “Calculating Cool will bring particular focus and importance to the performance of a building’s HVAC system.

“We believe Calculating Cool is a world-leading initiative,” he adds. “Despite the need being almost universally recognised, there is not another system like this anywhere else.”

In a similar way to how ABGRS, and later NABERS, drove change in how buildings are designed, delivered and operated by providing a practical rating tool for buildings, Calculating Cool will look to the performance of significant energy-consuming components of buildings – such as HVAC.

Wilkinson says the tool is designed to be incorporated into NABERS and the Green Star Design – As Built and Performance – suite of rating tools and, as such, “will have a substantial effect on the design, installation commissioning, operation and maintenance of HVAC systems.”

The initiative is now in the development stage, with trials and public review set for later this year. Those interested in being part of the trial process should email


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