i-Hub is Open for Applications

i-Hub is open to applications from industry participants who have suitable demonstration projects that require co-funding. The project has received funding from ARENA as part of ARENA’s Advanced Renewables Program.

Proposals will be considered under one of three activity streams: Living Laboratories, Integrated Design Studios and a Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House.

How to apply for ARENA-funded projects

Please click here to find out how to apply for ARENA-funded projects under the “Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub”, or email us for a confidential conversation.

The Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub (i-Hub) project is a collaboration between industry and government that aims to provide demonstration and knowledge sharing to help support the integration of renewable energy in HVAC practice. It will support the objectives of the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan, and Australia’s commitments under the Mission Innovation “Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Challenge”.

The i-Hub project is based around three interlinked activity streams:

  • Living Laboratories – The purpose of the living laboratories is to provide real-world validation of technologies that integrate on-site renewable energy and HVAC loads in a manner that achieves the overarching objectives of the i-Hub project.
  • Data Clearing House – The purpose of the Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House is to establish an open data platform for receiving and making available data relating to HVAC and on-site renewable energy equipment. The Data Clearing House will also enable supervisory control of building HVAC equipment in order to deliver megawatts of demand response support for on-site solar generation in the buildings of i-Hub participants. This demand response will be delivered using “Applications” hosted on the platform.
  • Integrated Design Studios – The purpose of the integrated design studios is to build industry knowledge and competence in design for the maximum utilisation of on-site renewable energy in conjunction with HVAC. The integrated design studios consist of facilitated design workshops (in a studio format), that include industry practitioners (practicing architects and engineers), academics, and students working with clients on identified project case studies. An ‘integrated design process’ will be developed, trialled and refined through successive studios to deliver concept designs that integrate renewable energy technologies and their enablers into the base architecture of the building.

The i-Hub has prioritised the following key sectors to be addressed by individual i-Hub sub-projects:

  • Healthcare (including hospitals and aged care)
  • Education
  • Data centres.

These sectors have been chosen because they are energy intensive, expanding, dynamic environments, and have had less attention to energy optimisation than other sectors such as the much-studied commercial office sector.

These three building typologies are in all governance and climate zones, encompass both government and private sectors, are subject to changing social expectations, and have energy profiles that are highly correlated to outdoor temperatures and impact on energy costs, peak demand and the national grid. Importantly, these building typologies have a relatively compact group of engaged building owners with high potential for rollout of the i-Hub sub-project learnings. Together these three sectors use around 15% of Australia’s electricity.

The i-Hub will manage a range of i-Hub sub-projects that are delivered by independent project delivery teams and overseen by the respective Activity Leader and AIRAH. AIRAH is responsible for the overall management and coordination of i-Hub sub-projects, including knowledge sharing, and will constitute an i-Hub Industry Steering Committee to provide advice to AIRAH.