The delivery of net-zero buildings in Australia will greatly depend on improving an energy-intensive strategy for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in buildings, according to a report.
The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) issued the Future of HVAC report to highlight the most significant issues for the HVAC sector in the next ten years.
AIRAH listed five main points in the report that provided a glimpse of future HVAC systems in a net-zero environment. These include:
1. A changing relationship between tenants and buildings;
2. A shifting approach and objectives for town planning;
3. Transitioning to low-energy HVAC technologies such as a step changes in controls;
4. A shifting focus from construction to buildings performance;
5. And the expansion of government laws into operation energy use.
Cybersecurity will also be relevant in the future, especially for air-gapped networks, amid the emergence of “HVACKer” attacks on HVAC systems. The AIRAH report also suggested that building rules must review true performance and aim for net-zero energy, including pressure vessel specifications. At the same time, existing buildings must comply with energy disclosure rules.
Aside from regulations on building performance and energy disclosure, stakeholders in the HVAC industry should be exposed to more training and education initiatives to better understand the nature of net-zero buildings, according to the report.
The industry will need to invest more in researching low-emission HVAC technologies and equipment. Phil Wilkinson, AIRAH government relations manager, said that the groups have been working with CSIRO and PRIME to develop “an Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling, or iHub.”
Many risks and challenges await the HVAC industry in Australia, yet the AIRAH report’s key findings should serve as a guide in addressing these issues in the future. Net-zero buildings can be achievable in the next ten years, but it needs to make sure everyone in the industry is willing to go through the changes.