Department of Health and Human Services

All-Electric Household Monitoring and Evaluation

This project tested the potential of the all-electric home to improve environmental performance, operating costs and occupant comfort compared to a ‘normal’ gas/electric suburban home. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) constructed 3 pilot all-electric dwellings with 7 star NatHERS ratings. AEF was engaged by DHHS to lead the monitoring, evaluation and reporting. AEF conducted technical testing to verify the 7-star rating of the dwellings and gave advice on the key design features used to attain the rating. We monitored energy usage, temperature and humidity in the dwellings and applied financial modelling to provide a comparison with a gas/electric home. We also worked directly with tenants to gauge their level of satisfaction with comfort levels and all-electric appliances in the home. AEF’s final report showed a positive outcome for the all-electric pilot dwellings and made recommendations for improvements in future developments of this kind.

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Solar and retrofit cost study

This project examined a range of different retrofit options for the DHHS’s extensive range of public housing. The housing was divided into categories and recommendations were made on the most cost-effective options for each housing type. For example, some housing types gain the most value from draught-sealing, others from solar power systems, others from insulation. The project also made recommendations on how different retrofit measures complement each other, e.g. airconditioning gives the best results in terms of cost-effectiveness and resident comfort if it is paired with draught-sealing. The project considered the various options from a cost-effectiveness and resident comfort point of view. The information AEF provided is now used by DHHS to inform decision-making on housing retrofits.

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EnergySmart

AEF is working with DHHS to deliver the EnergySmart Public Housing Research Program. AEF is managing the replacement of inefficient electric hot water services and electric heaters and the delivery of tailored thermal upgrades to 1,500 public housing properties. There is a significant focus on regional Victoria. Research Following installation, AEF is undertaking research to better understand how these new installations help with improving tenants’ thermal comfort and reducing energy costs. The research includes on-site technical monitoring, analysis of smart-meter data and user surveys. DHHS has provided in excess of $7 million in funding, which will help Victorian households most in need to reduce their energy costs.

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North-West Housing Adaptation

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified a need for increased protection from extreme heat events for its clients in north-west Victoria. AEF was engaged to tackle this problem, leading a consortium including Design Inc, Ernst and Young, Breathe Architecture and Josh Byrne and Associates. New approaches The consortium developed a new suite of dwelling typologies and precinct approaches that will guarantee summer performance for DHHS clients. The consortium also took cost-effectiveness and and durability into account in the selection of sustainable design measures.

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Movable units cooling trials

This project was undertaken for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in response to a growing demand for cooling devices within dwellings that are owned by the department. AEF used on-ground research to gather further information and data that would assist the DHHS to build upon its existing knowledge-base on upgrading the energy efficiency of department-owned apartments and movable housing units. For many DHHS housing assets the issue of maintaining comfort over summer is becoming of increasing importance. This is due to both the likely increase in frequency and longevity of hot weather conditions as projected by climate change, and the high proportion of DHHS residents that have heightened sensitivity to temperature, such as the elderly and those affected by illnesses. The study was designed to investigate the potential costs and benefits associated with the installation of different cooling technologies and to undertake a comparison between active systems

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Carlton Housing Redevelopment – Post Occupancy Study

AEF was engaged by Citta and Australand to deliver a suite of Post Occupancy Studies for a major public and private housing redevelopment in Carlton with key partners the Department of Human Services. The projects were undertaken to understand how successful the developments have been, 12 months into operation, in meeting a range of objectives relating to occupant comfort, building efficiency, resource consumption and environmental sustainability more broadly. Outcomes The studies enabled recommendations to be made to improve operational comfort and sustainability through ongoing behaviour support and building performance modifications. The studies also made recommendations about refining design and technology measures for application to future property developments to improve cost efficiencies and performance outcomes. Study methods The study utilised a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to perform analysis directed to understanding whole-of-building performance as well as developing case studies to document the experience and performance of a number individual

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