AIRAH chief Phil Wilkinson

18 February 2014 — The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating is helping to develop a rating tool for HVAC systems it hopes will have a “profound impact” on building energy use and costs.

The Calculating Cool Online HVAC Rating Tool captures quantitative and qualitative data across design, installation and operational phases to “rate, reward and encourage” best-practice HVAC systems.

The tool will be able to rank the performance of HVAC systems, which is thought will put pressure on manufacturers and drive improvements.

“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,” AIRAH chief Phil Wilkinson said. “Calculating Cool will bring particular focus and importance to the performance of a building’s HVAC system.”

The project, which is being managed by Sustainability Victoria, will involve the creation of an online calculator to coordinate operation and maintenance practices, including data collection, long-term monitoring and comparative analysis.

Mr Wilkinson said Calculating Cool was a world-first initiative.

“Despite the need being almost universally recognised, there is not another system like this anywhere else,” he said.

“Because it’s designed to be incorporated into NABERS and the Green Star Design – As Built and Performance – suite of rating tools, Calculating Cool will have a substantial effect on the design, installation commissioning, operation and maintenance of HVAC systems.”

AIRAH and other industry bodies – including the Property Council of Australia, Facilities Management Association of Australia, and the Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association – have been working with the government to progress the Calculating Cool project.

It is currently 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 phil@airah.org.au