Australia is set to soon become host to the world's first energy ratings criteria designed specifically for HVAC systems.

Sustainability Victoria is currently overseeing the development of the world’s first HVAC rating tool to rank systems in terms of energy efficiency.

The Calculating Cool Online HVAC Rating Tool will make use of both quantitative data and qualitative information covering the design, installation and operational phases to rank the performance of different HVAC systems and will “rate, reward and encourage” best practice products on the market.

The tool is being developed in collaboration with a bevy of leading industry bodies, including the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH), the Property Council of Australia, the Facilities Management Association of Australia, and the Airconditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association.

AIRAH hopes the development of the world’s first HVAC rating criteria by Australian industry will have a “profound impact” upon market practices by putting pressure on companies to improve the efficiency of their products and endeavour to make improvements.

AIRAH chief Phil Wilkinson points out that because HVAC accounts for the king’s share of energy consumption in buildings, Calculating Cool could have a huge impact on the sustainability and efficiency of facilities in the country throughout the course of their usage life.

According to Wilkinson, HVAC systems can account for anywhere between 40 to 75 per cent of the energy consumed in buildings while also often accounting for more than 50 per cent of potential improvements in energy efficiency.

The Calculating Cool HVAC Tool is expected to assume the form of an easy-to-access online calculator which can be used for the purposes of data collection, long-term monitoring and comparative analysis.

As an Australian undertaking, the system will be designed for compatibility with NABERS and the Green Star Design – As Built and Performance – suite of rating tools.

The tool is currently in the development phase, with trials and public review scheduled to take place before the end of this year.