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The energy-savings potential in the buildings sector (both commercial and residential) is said to be massive. A 29% reduction in projected building energy consumption could be achieved globally by 2050 with the wide deployment of best available technologies and efficiency policies — according to a 2015 IEA report titled ‘Building Energy Performance Metrics’*.

W

Making existing systems even better

hile buildings currently use an estimated one-third of the world’s energy, there has been some significant progress in Australia to make buildings more

energy, waste and water efficient. The establishment of the NABERS rating scheme some 15 years ago and other rating schemes has helped with this transition, particularly in the office building sector. Energy Action Director of Projects & Advisory Services Dr Paul Bannister played a key role in the development of Australia’s NABERS Energy and Water rating systems and has published more than 80 papers on energy efficiency-related issues. He says the previously coveted NABERS 4 star rating now seems passé, with 5 star ratings being achieved with some technologically quite ordinary buildings. However, even for the seemingly efficient buildings, further savings are still possible with a minimal capital spend using the latest in efficiency technology. “We are constantly re-examining our expectation on what can be done with efficiency technologies,” Bannister said. In his recent paper titled ‘What simulation can tell us about building tuning’ (which won the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating (AIRAH) W.R. Ahern award recognising the best technical paper by an AIRAH member published in the preceding year), he looks at how recent advances in building simulation models can help determine the effectiveness of HVAC energy-saving strategies. “One of the critical things that has really driven energy efficiency in the commercial building sector has been this sort of discovery path on how to make existing technology

8 Sustainability Matters - Feb/Mar 2016

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Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Feb/Mar 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...