Gateway Page – ARENA-Funded Projects

How to apply

ARENA-funded projects under the “Affordable Heating and Cooling Innovation Hub” (i-Hub) aim to demonstrate the use of integrated operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) with renewable generation – both on-site and off-site – and demand reduction, in order to maximise the value of the renewable generation and thus encourage maximum use of local and grid level renewable generation.

Useful documents

ARENA Advancing Renewables Program – Program guidelines
ARENA Eligibility Guidelines
Conflict of Interest Summary
Expression of Interest Template
Lessons Learnt Template
Long Report Template
Project Proposal Template
Quarterly Progress Status Report Guidance Template
Quarterly Progress Status Report Template
Short Report Template

Are you interested in participating in the i-Hub project?

One of the ways to participate in the i-Hub initiative is to participate in one of the existing i-Hub activity stream sub-projects. The ways to participate include:

  • The i-Hub Living Laboratories provide real-world validation of technologies that integrate on-site renewable energy and HVAC loads or produces operational efficiencies in another manner that achieves the overarching objectives of the i-Hub project.
    Propose a technology to be tested in a Living Laboratory by emailing [email protected].
  • The i-Hub Integrated Design Studios 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.
    Propose a new building or refurbishment project to be included in the Integrated Design Studio program by emailing [email protected].
  • The i-Hub Buildings to Grid Data Clearing House will 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.
    Propose a demand response or energy efficiency “application” to be hosted on the Data Clearing House platform. Contact [email protected].
    Propose a new project to develop and demonstrate a demand response or energy efficiency “application” to be hosted on the Data Clearing House platform. Contact [email protected].

Have you got a suitable project you would like to propose to i-Hub for funding?

The first step is to check that your project can fit into one of the three i-Hub Activity Streams.

The second step is to check that the outcomes for your project align with the intended outcomes for i-Hub. Full details of the i-Hub including its objectives and how it works are provided in the i-Hub Implementation plan (please email for more information).

i-Hub Activity Streams

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

  1. Living Laboratories
  2. Data Clearing House
  3. Integrated Design Studios.

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 (schools)
  • Data Centres.

Objectives of i-Hub

The objectives of the i-Hub project relate to both Operation and Design of HVAC. These are:

  • Operation: Test and validate means by which the energy demand of HVAC can be coordinated with onsite and grid level renewable energy production in order to maximise the value of on-site renewable energy production by:
    • Maximising efficient and productive HVAC operation during renewable generation peaks
    • Deferring HVAC loads during short term generation variabilities
    • Storing energy within HVAC systems to enable the timing of site energy demand to be modulated in order to:
      • Minimise on-site generation export;
      • Optimise revenue via tariff or grid-level mechanisms (RERT, FCAS);
      • Enhance grid-level stability and robustness thereby reducing the cost of firming supply for grid-level renewable generation contracts.
  • Design: Increase implementation of renewable energy generation with HVAC by:
    • Developing design processes that consider on-site renewable solar as an integral component of high efficiency/net zero building design, with consideration of revenue maximisation, rather than an add-on
    • Developing equipment selection processes that build efficient and practical HVAC demand response into design, in order to maximise the ability of buildings to support stable and robust grid operation in the presence of a high renewable grid energy content
    • Fast-tracking knowledge sharing across the supply chain in the built environment.

Outcomes of i-Hub

The objectives for the i-Hub Project will be achieved through the following outcomes:

  1. Improve the control of HVAC&R compared to business as usual by demonstrating the capability within a selection of building types to reduce onsite energy use by at least 25%.
  2. Reduce peak demand and demand charges as well as increase the hosting capacity of solar through load control combined with onsite renewable energy.
  3. Increase the value of open data platforms and deliver innovation in the built environment to deliver energy savings.
  4. Improve developer and building owner decision making capabilities by demonstrating the value of non-monetary benefits of energy productivity measures.
  5. Identify new technologies that are able to contribute to the decarbonisation of commercial buildings over the next decade.
  6. Increase available demand response by identifying 100 MW of potential within the broader i-Hub portfolio.
  7. Change the industry paradigm to make co-design a mainstream approach to deliver lower cost and higher performance buildings.

Does your project address these objectives and outcomes?

To be eligible for i-Hub ARENA-based funding your proposed project must:

  • Address some or all of the i-Hub outcomes, and
  • Fit into one of the three Activity Streams.

If the answer is yes, then you can complete an expression of interest document so i-Hub can determine whether a formal project proposal is appropriate.

Some of the rules regarding the funding

ARENA is the primary funder for the i-Hub, and any i-Hub sub-project will need to meet the ARENA funding requirements. Here are some of the limitations in a nutshell:

  • The maximum amount of i-Hub funding available to any project is up to 35% of the total project budget cost. This means that a minimum of 65% of the project must be funded from other sources including project proponents and project partners and participants and industry.
  • The maximum amount of i-Hub funding available to any project is up to 50% of the eligible project costs.
  • Overseas based projects or projects that include more that 10% of the budget on overseas expenditure are not eligible for funding.
  • Any sub-project proposal must meet the ARENA Eligibility Guidelines, as outlined in the ARENA Advancing Renewables Program – Program guidelines.
  • Knowledge sharing is a fundamental requirement of ARENA funding. Every sub-project proposed must be designed to facilitate knowledge sharing of the learnings and outcomes, which includes the publication of knowledge sharing reports and participation in knowledge sharing activities and events. Refer to the i-Hub Knowledge Sharing Plan for the kind of reports and activities required. See also the Short Report Template and the Lessons Learned Template.
  • Project progress reporting and ongoing project monitoring and evaluation are essential aspects of i-Hub project management, see the quarterly report template that must be used by sub-project teams.

Are you interested in proposing an i-Hub project for ARENA funding?

Applications to i-Hub can be submitted at any time. Please email [email protected] if you require further information.

The proposal must be supported by an i-Hub sub-project conflict of interest summary to help ensure the confidentiality of the information you provide can be protected and so that i-Hub can ensure that the persons assessing the merits of the sub-project do not have a conflict with or vested interest in the proposal.

Sub-project proposals must be submitted in the i-Hub sub-project proposal template. This Template indicates the minimum information on the proposed project that is required for the i-Hub project assessment process.

Where appropriate, project proponents can be assigned an i-Hub Activity Leader to act as mentor for the project proposal development.

Once the formal application has been received and accepted by i-Hub it is forwarded into the i-Hub sub-project proposal – approval process. The approval processes for ARENA-funded i-Hub sub-project proposals are outlined in detail in the guideline document i-Hub ARENA-funded sub-project assessment criteria (please email for more information).

A sub-project proposal is first assessed against the Eligibility Criteria.

Eligible projects are then assessed against the Merit Criteria.

Sub-project proposals that meet the eligibility criteria and achieve high merit are then considered by the i-Hub Steering Committee and a recommendation prepared. A presentation on the project may be required to support this stage of the assessment process.

Meritable sub-project proposals are recommended to ARENA who have a final decision on any ARENA funding granted to support the project.


Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.