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    Multi-residential developments look to sustainable HVAC

    Bonnie Tai

    According to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) makes up a significant proportion of a building’s total power consumption, with a typical system accounting for approximately 40 percent.

    That’s why special attention to the right heating and cooling system must be paid before implementation into multi-residential dwellings, as by simple virtue of the size of the building plus the number of occupants in the units, the energy consumption can vary significantly.

    With sustainability and energy efficiency hot topics for both engineers and consumers alike, there is an increasing hunger for new tools and technologies that both reduces waste without compromising optimal comfort levels and helps the consumer save on utilities.

    LOOKING TO GEOTHERMALS

    One such solution that is currently trending in the market is the use of geothermal systems - or Ground Source Heat Pumps, as they are commonly known.

    A market report released late last year titled The Global Geothermal Heat Pump Market 2017-2021 found that the international appetite for geothermals would advance at a compound annual growth rate of 12.04 percent around the world over the next five years.

    The steady growth rate of geothermal systems has been driven by the need for energy efficiency and cost reduction in buildings, the study observed.

    The trend has found its way onto Australian shores, with the country’s largest geothermal system installed in the Fairwater residential development in Sydney.

    Whilst the upfront cost of a geothermal heat pump can be quite high, these charges are often offset in the long run by the system’s efficiency and reliability.

    “The geothermal heating and cooling system at Fairwater can save residents $1,000 per

    Year,” Frasers Property Australia’s development director Raymond Baksmati told Infolink | BPN.

    “The technology was originally estimated to save residents around $500 per year but a study earlier this year by GeoAir found that higher average saves of between $713 and $1,069 per annum were achievable, based on 100-150 days per year usage.”

    “In 2016, monitoring equipment was installed at a residence at Fairwater with data taken

    every five minutes for a period of nine months.”

    “Then, a two-week period in February 2017 was sampled to establish the system’s coefficient of performance. In this period, temperatures ranged from 23 to 40 in the day and 19 to 26 in the evening,” says Baksmati.

    “In analysing the data, the energy co-efficient averaged at 6.75, which equates to a saving of

    $713 to $1069 per year. A typical air-conditioning system has a co-efficient of about 3.2.”

    APPLYING SMART CONTROLS

    Another way to greatly reduce energy consumption in multi-residential dwellings is by employing intelligent building controls, says ABB Australia’s product marketing manager Ian Harding.

    “With the use of presence detectors, the ABB system can identify when rooms are occupied and can adjust accordingly.”

    “The standard practice is to decrease temperature setpoints by three to five degrees centigrade to save on energy costs,” he says.

    Harding estimates that for every 1-degree Celcius reduction in temperature, a six percent energy saving is achieved, adding that large-scale new builds present enormous potential for energy savings when using ABB’s i-Bus KNX technology.

    “Technology coupled with the future can result in endless possibilities.”

    “[We] are learning more about building usage and behaviours and with the aid of artificial intelligence, ABB is able to predict how to use spaces to be more energy efficient,” he says.

    “This will lead to more buildings being ready for us when we need it, for example, having lights on when we arrive, and the room temperature set just right.”

    A full version of this article will be in the 2018 January-February issue of INFOLINK | BPN.

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