Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) CEO Luke Menzel has been appointed to the Steering Committee of the Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling, or i-Hub.

Established by AIRAH in association with the CSIRO and PRIME, the i-Hub has been designed to facilitate the HVAC&R industry’s transition to a low-emissions future, stimulate jobs growth, and showcase HVAC innovations in buildings.

The EEC is the peak body for Australia’s energy efficiency industry.

Menzel replaces Jorge Chapa from the Green Building Council of Australia, who stood down due to work commitments.

“Luke agreeing to join the Steering Committee is a real coup for the i-Hub,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “Luke is well known and respected within the built environment industry, and brings considerable experience, insight and savviness.”

In his role with the EEC, Menzel provides strategic leadership for the organisation, guiding initiatives to build the Australian market for energy efficiency, demand response and demand management.

Menzel’s background in stakeholder engagement with government, industry bodies, professional associations and NGOs will be of utmost importance as the i-Hub rolls out its program of activities.

One of these that has seen progress is the establishment of a series of Integrated Design Studios (IDSs), which will facilitate a study on how architects and engineers interact and progress design. Current best-practice knowledge about integrated design methods and the barriers to their use/uptake will be tested and further developed.

“Using a focus of renewable energy to help achieve zero-carbon outcomes, studio participants work on case study projects developing integrated designs from first principles,” says Gleeson. “The lessons learned will inform what we know about implementing integrated design at a high level, and provide a compendium of design ideas that can be incorporated into different building typologies at a project level.”

The first two IDSs were commenced in March via the University of Melbourne, and examine the design of data centres and schools. A current best-knowledge integrated design process was formulated and is being implemented in both studios.

Early feedback suggests a key part of achieving integrated design may simply be consciously setting out to do it in the first place.

The Schools Integrated Design Studio participants are the ACT government, Grimshaw Architects and Arup. Partner organisations for the Data Centres Studio are NEXTDC Engineering & Design, Greenbox Architecture and Aurecon.

AIRAH receives funding from ARENA for the i-Hub project as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program.