Future of HVAC – in a net-zero world
Australian Institute of Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH)
This paper provides a snapshot of future HVAC in a net-zero world, and outlines some of the main
themes from the workshop discussions such as:
- The changing relationship between occupants and buildings;
- A shift in the approach and objectives for town planners;
- A move to low energy HVAC technologies including step changes in controls;
- A regulatory focus on building performance rather than construction;
- Extension of government regulation into operational energy use.
Following an analysis of the most likely changes that are needed and the most common barriers
that may be encountered a series of recommendations or actions have been developed to help
government and industry understand how the HVAC and property sectors can best transition to
delivering and managing net-zero energy buildings.
The largest expected change is that building regulations will need to extend beyond their current domain, which covers construction only, into building operation:
Penalties for non-performance in post-construction are needed to make code requirements enforceable
Building regulations will need to define what “net zero” actually means in a manner that is measurable both in design and construction and in the post-construction phase – net-zero energy, net-zero CO2 or some other performance parameter. This requires changes to the entire regulatory structure, as penalties for non-performance in post-construction are needed to make code requirements enforceable. This may require bonds on developers or direct penalties for building owners or operators. Regulations need to move away from deemed-to-satisfy requirements towards performance-based requirements and verification methods. Existing deemed-to-satisfy type requirements cannot reliably deliver good building performance under all scenarios of classification and use.