The $11 billion Metro Tunnel rail link project, which will run under central Melbourne, is one of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects, but there has been some unusual ground testing going on at the sites of two of the new underground stations.
University of Melbourne researchers have been pumping water underground through plastic pipes tagged with sensors to test the ground’s potential to retain and transfer heat – its so-called ‘thermal conductivity’. Such geothermal energy has the potential to significantly cut the power cost of keeping the stations cool in summer and heated in winter.
So far the results have been positive and a pilot study is about to start. If adopted, it could be the high-profile contract needed to kick start a greenhouse gas-friendly Australian geothermal industry. The technology is already widely used in North America and Northern Europe, including in underground train stations in Switzerland and the UK, but is barely heard of here.
Geothermal energy is based on the simple idea that we can use the constant temperature found as little as five metres underground to help regulate temperatures inside buildings.
Research on the energy efficiency of the different components of buildings – their shell, built-in appliances, plug-in appliances, floor size and floor plan, as well as position on site – all have contributions to make to amount of energy consumed. When combined with renewable...Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
Pilots are powerful for two reasons: 1. They are a great way to bring together groups of people to demonstrate how effective collective action can be in helping to change the status quo. More voices, more influence. Pilots, backed by evidence and research, can highlight and expose the challenges and blockages, particularly in government, far more effectively than any individual can (despite many individuals trying!). They also provide perfect opportunities for identifying solutions. And, 2. pilots provide the numbers and the evidence that decision-makers need, in order to believe and make change.Read more
Australia's property sector is being urged to use readily available existing technologies to improve the long-term prospects for their properties, in a broader industry push towards net zero carbon buildings.
This paper presents new evidence from a nationwide cross-project meta-study investigating the magnitude and extent of the difference between designed and measured thermal performance of the building fabric of 188 low energy dwellings in the UK.