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Vying for AIRAH’s innovation accolade

In the lead-up to the AIRAH Awards 2020, HVAC&R News is profiling finalists in the various categories.

The AIRAH Awards recognise excellence and achievement in Australia’s HVAC&R industry. This year’s awards ceremony will be conducted online on Tuesday, November 10.

Following an independent judging process, finalists across 11 categories have now been announced.

The Excellence in Innovation award recognises significant Australian improvements in the areas of HVAC&R achieved through innovation, including new or significantly improved systems or plant and equipment or processes.

“The willingness and ability to find inventive answers to challenging problems has been the cornerstone of progress throughout the ages,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH.

“The Excellence in Innovation award celebrates the innovative minds and inspired projects that continue to push the boundaries of HVAC&R and drive positive change.”

This year’s Innovation award finalists are:

Norman Disney & Young and Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre – Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre

The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) Narre Warren Campus is the first Net Zero Energy (NZE) education and research facility in Victoria.

The project delivers two unique innovations.

The first is the innovative use of the building’s own foundation screw piling to source geothermal energy for heating and cooling. The building is founded on over 500 steel screw piles, and 200 of these have been adapted for the ground-source heat pump system.

The second major innovation is the unique co-location of an industry training facility with an industry research facility, in the form of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).

IAPMO is one of the world’s leading plumbing product certification agencies. PICAC’s students and the plumbing industry as a whole benefit from sharing this space with IAPMO because training needs associated with new innovation and evolving technologies are identified as they progress through the IAPMO certification process

McClintock Engineering Group – University of Queensland, Gatton Campus

University of Queensland has built a next-generation central energy chilled water plant, incorporating stratified chilled water storage, microgrid interaction, solar PV energy interaction, and innovative piping configuration for future chiller load augmentation. Numerous project innovations were adopted with modern technology and detailed engineering. The plant masterplan provides the cooling requirements to 16 academic buildings within the Gatton campus and master plans for new buildings.

The engineering solution includes innovation at every level of design. Highlights include the ability to dynamically change the campus power and energy profiles using the custom‑designed thermal storage tank for electricity market spot pricing and storage of excess solar energy; the use of a configurable piping network that can change chiller positions between the tank and the field; and piping water quality control.

These key innovations enable the campus to increase in size while having substantially lower operating costs.

A.G. Coombs, Steensen Varming, and WoodUTS Central

UTS Central in Sydney combines world-leading, collaborative learning spaces that embody contemporary tertiary education and push the boundaries of educational architecture. From its double-helix staircase, to its twisted tower and modernist glass façade and world-leading Hive Super Lab, the 17-storey building and its systems reflect experimentation and innovation.

A highly collaborative team approach by A.G. Coombs, Steensen Varming, and Wood as part of the Richard Crookes Construction team has delivered mechanical and HVAC systems in UTS Central that they say “set a new benchmark for Australian higher educational buildings industry in terms of innovation, quality and performance”.

An agile approach to HVAC and mechanical services design responded to the project’s challenging complexity and produced a sophisticated low-temperature system that delivered lower fan energy, smaller ductwork and a reduced footprint for risers, air‑handling units and plant rooms. In this multifaceted complex building, it also produced a simplified solution for the client, with less equipment to operate and maintain.

The AIRAH Awards 2020 will be held as a free-admission virtual event on Tuesday November 10 at 4.30pm (NSW, Vic, ACT, Tas) | 4pm (SA) | 3.30pm (Qld) | 3pm (NT) | 1.30pm (WA).

For more information and to register for the Awards ceremony, click here.

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