Following the official launch of the Calculating Cool online benchmarking tool, building owners and operators, HVAC industry professionals, facility managers, and other stakeholders are now able to measure the efficiency of a variety of HVAC systems.

AIRAH CEO, Phil Wilkinson, says Calculating Cool is a world-leading initiative and has enormous potential to reduce the energy usage of HVAC systems in Australia.

“Calculating Cool provides the metrics and rules our industry has been crying out for to measure HVAC system effectiveness,” Wilkinson says. “With its balanced combination of quantitative and qualitative measures across the design, installation and operational phases of the HVAC life-cycle, Calculating Cool is practical, effective, and cost-beneficial. It is set to have a profound impact on the reduction of energy use in Australian HVAC systems.”

Designed to sit alongside the Green Star and NABERS ratings tools, Calculating Cool is easy to apply.

“Our HVAC systems are designed to provide comfort, health and safety,” Wilkinson says. “But we also know that 22 per cent of all electricity used in Australia is in operating air conditioning and refrigeration systems, and that HVAC systems can be responsible for more than 40 per cent of the energy used in our commercial buildings.”

“So given this, Calculating Cool can be expected to deliver considerable cost savings. By providing a dynamic assessment tool, it can rate, reward, and encourage best-practice HVAC systems in buildings.”

A range of industry bodies – AIRAH, the PCA, FMA, and AMCA – worked with government to progress the Calculating Cool project.

A.G. Coombs strategic development director, Bryon Price, is a non-executive director of AIRAH and the FMA, sits on the PCA’s National Regulation Review Roundtable, is a member of the PCA’s Victorian Sustainable Development committee, and is chair of the PRIME Steering Council.

“Calculating Cool,” Price says, “is the measure of quality our industry has been looking for.”

Team Catalyst is the contractor responsible for developing the rating tool, including conducting a pilot study in which five commercial office buildings – three in Sydney and two in Melbourne – participated.

Wayne McManus is an associate director of CBRE Asset Services, a participant in the study.

“There are always opportunities to improve a building’s operations and efficiency,” McManus says. “Calculating Cool has shown how our building compares, and the areas where there is particular potential to improve the efficiency of our HVAC system.”

The Calculating Cool project forms part of the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) HVAC HESS strategy, comprising 20 complementary measures expected to save industry about $320 million a year in energy costs.

The Calculating Cool initiative was unanimously agreed upon as a high-priority project by PRIME, an initiative developed by a coalition of stakeholders from within the Australian HVAC&R industry.

Visit to see how your HVAC system stacks up.


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