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 (air conditioning) and passive systems (external awnings).

The collection of data and other information during the trial also supported the development of a practical knowledge base relating to building retrofits, which may in turn influence DHHS practices with regards to improving thermal comfort during hot weather and minimise the risk of overheating in DHHS housing assets.