Solar heating and cooling technology holds so much promise, but until now hasn't delivered, according to the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).

Announcing speakers for its Solar Cooling and Heating Forum in Brisbane on August 9, 2018, AIRAH said Australia is ideally placed to exploit this technology.

AIRAH CEO, Tony Gleeson, said space heating and cooling is responsible for 7 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and up to 50 per cent of Australia’s electricity infrastructure peak demand.

“The assumption in a country like Australia is that we would be ahead of the curve when it comes to solar heating and cooling,” Gleeson said. “But these technologies are underutilised in our building sector.”

Australia boasts the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any of the world’s continents.

"Yet it is not a leader in terms of deployments of solar thermal systems – neither domestic nor commercial," he said.

"On the positive side, this means there are considerable opportunities for those who can embrace and employ solar cooling and heating.

AIRAH professional development manager, Brendan Pejkovic, said events like the Forum can provide a better understanding of this technology and identify barriers to uptake.

"This will hopefully lead to greater development and use of the new technologies," Pejkovic said.

The forum is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and has been curated with the help of AIRAH’s Solar Cooling Special Technical Group.

It will explore the fine details of new solar technologies, as well as the broader implications for the building industry.

The keynote speaker is Andrew Thai, sustainability manager, development at Frasers Property.

In his presentation “The climate, the developer and a thriving future” he will share a developer’s vision of sustainability, and look at where solar technology fits in.

Marc Sheldon (Coolgaia) and Subbu Sethuvenkatraman, (CSIRO) will share the results of the ARENA-supported PUSCH project (Promoting the Use of Solar Cooling and Heating in Australian buildings).

They will lay out a roadmap to improve market uptake of solar heating and cooling (SHC) technologies.

Simon Witts of Lehr Consultants International and Adrian Daniels of Monash University and Alastair McDowell of Energy AE will present a case study on the Monash University Solar Farm project and its cutting-edge technology.

The information-packed day will also include a presentation on experiments in net-zero carbon buildings with solar air conditioning systems, and case studies on Echuca Regional Health – home to two of the world’s largest hospital solar chiller systems – and the world’s first large-scale concentrated solar power plant providing multiple energy streams for horticultural activities.

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