The Australian building industry’s pursuit of energy-efficient buildings has placed a greater focus on innovative heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; proof of this can be seen in the recent trend of using geothermal systems.
Otherwise known as ground source heat pumps, reports indicate that demand for geothermals in multi-family properties will increase over the next five years. The need to reduce energy consumption and lower costs, despite increasingly hot weather conditions, were identified as key reasons for the forecast growth.
Developers have become more conscious when choosing the right HVAC components, such as a cooling tower filtration system, to achieve energy efficiency, since HVAC accounts for around 40 per cent of a building’s total energy consumption, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy.
For instance, the Fairwater residential building in Sydney saves its occupants as much as $1,000 per year, due to the use of a geothermal heating and cooling system, according to Raymond Baksmati, a property developer based in Sydney.
Poor Heat Performance
While geothermal systems have become more popular, Australia may need to update its guidelines on how to assess building’s energy efficiency based on University of South Australia research. The university’s researchers claim that the Australian Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) may be ‘potentially counterproductive to heat stress resistance’ for buildings. Data revealed that since the implementation of NatHERS, many homes had poor performance rates during heatwaves.
One solution to this problem involves an update to the national assessment model to include heat stress resistance as a factor for energy-efficient homes. The researchers believe that revising NatHERS is important, as they consider heatwaves in the country to be the ‘deadliest natural hazard’.
Type of HVAC System
With the increasing dangers from heatwaves over the years, building developers and engineers are increasingly aware of their responsibilities in dealing with the threat. Picking the right HVAC system not only protects people, but also saves money and improves energy performance.