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Energy efficient HVAC future on show at AIRAH Awards 2019

AIRAH AWARDS 2019 crowd shot

A Passive House student accommodation development and a 6 Star Green Star masterplanned community were among the winners at this year’s AIRAH Awards, held in Sydney on November 15.

The awards showcase the innovation and technical excellence happening in the heating, airconditioning, refrigeration and ventilation space across all sectors including commercial buildings, residential, products, facilities management and refurbishment.

“I don’t know of any engineers, contractors, designers, researchers or indeed anyone at all in the HVAC&R industry who sets out to win an award,” AIRAH president Ian Harwood said.

“It’s just not in their mindset, which is more attuned to using BIM or CFD, or to calculating set points and dew points.

“And that’s the whole purpose of the AIRAH Awards – it’s our chance to recognise, to elevate and to celebrate a group of people who have always been more about the work than receiving awards for the work.”

The Excellence in Sustainability award went to AECOM for its work on Monash University’s Gillies Hall student accommodation.

The project was at the time of completion the largest development to achieve Passive House certification in Australia. One of the outstanding features of the building, along with its use of cross-laminated timber, is the way the design and execution minimises the need for mechanical heating and cooling.

AECOM says the building will be more than three times more energy efficient than existing residential halls. The 150-bed residence features rooftop PV, an air tight building envelope, façade shading and passive solar design that together work to keep the building within thermal comfort temperature ranges for the majority of the year.

Another winner in the energy efficiency space was Alinta Energy’s geothermal installation for Frasers Property’s Fairwater Estate in Blacktown, Sydney, which won the award for Excellence in Innovation.

The 6 Star Green Star rated community has geothermal technology installed comprising a ground source heat pump for the heating and cooling system which uses approximately 60 per cent less energy than a conventional heating and cooling system. This will result in savings of up to $500 per annum for every one of the 800 households that uses the technology.

The Excellence in HVAC&R Research Award was won jointly by DevelopmentWA for Cool Earth, The Vive, Craigie and University of Wollongong’s Solar Decathlon Team for the Desert Rose Solar Decathlon House.

Cool Earth aims to compare the efficiency of geothermal technology and conventional reverse-cycle airconditioning by installing the systems in two identical homes in a Perth residential estate. The research found the geothermal system delivered energy savings of up to 100 per cent in summer and 80 per cent in winter.

The Desert Rose Solar Decathlon House features an innovative HVAC system that helped gain the team a first place in the thermal comfort conditions category, first place in the innovation category and second place overall in the 2018 Middle East Solar decathlon.

The researcher and academic who has led the charge at UoW with sustainable buildings research and teaching, and also contributed significantly to game-changing research in the HVAC space, Professor Paul Cooper was honoured also, with the Institute’s highest honour, the James Harrison Medal.

Other winners:

  • Best HVAC Retrofit or Upgrade: DMA Engineers and VAE Group – Mater Private Hospital
  • Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Ben Adamson
  • Excellence in Refrigeration: Scantec Refrigeration Technologies – Bidfood Mackay; Woolworths Food Group – Woolworths Prestons Supermarket (joint winners)
  • Product of the Year: Shepherd Filters – Disposable kitchen grease filters
  • Future Leader (joint winners): Jack Wardale and James Spears
  • Student of the Year – Higher Education or Research: Brendan Banfield, University of Wollongong
  • Student of the Year – Trade: Mat Patrick, Cold Logic
  • W.R. Ahern Award: Graham Carter, “Not so cool roofs”

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