Best HVAC Retrofit or Upgrade – AIRAH Awards 2022 finalists

Open to all individuals, companies, corporate bodies, institutions and government authorities, recognising work carried out during 2020/2021.

This award recognises excellence in the retrofit or upgrade of a HVAC system, and can address the complete delivery of a project. This can include planning through to engineering, documentation, procurement, teamwork, installation quality and workmanship, working in operational facilities, commissioning, fit-for-purpose outcomes and handover, including training and documentation. Products are not eligible in this category.

The project must have been commissioned in the past two years.

Air Engineers
Woolworths Shoreline Tasmania

Air Engineers was engaged to upgrade the old existing air conditioning plant at Woolworths Shoreline supermarket in Howrah, Tasmania. The original air conditioning plant consisted of a built-up AHU in a subfloor plant room, which provided cooling via an outside air economy mode, electric heating, and waste heat recovery from the refrigeration plant.

Air Engineers worked closely with Woolworths’ in-house engineering team and equipment suppliers to provide an energy-efficient alternative. This included a variable refrigerant air conditioning system coupled with a central built-up AHU constructed onsite.


Australian Institute of Sport's testing and training pool and recovery centre

An upgrade of the heating and ventilation system serving the pool hall was required to improve energy efficiency and address key issues related to maintenance, health and safety, and performance.

Due to space constraints, custom-built AHUs with rotary heat wheels were installed. The high effectiveness of the heat wheels, changes in pool hall conditions required for the athletes’ preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and deficiencies in the existing building fabric, resulted in unexpected issues such as moisture carry-over in the AHUs and interstitial condensation occurring in the ceiling.

ESBS performed investigations, data logging, and fine-tuning of BMS, AHU fans and heat wheel operations to minimise their impacts, delivering energy savings at the same time. To achieve peak energy efficiency while maintaining design conditions required, the team undertook careful analysis of the psychrometric conditions in ambient air and the pool hall, and included dynamic control parameters in the BMS to optimise the system.


AIRAH Awards 2022 winner
McClintock Engineering Group

Otto Hirschfeld Dissection Laboratory AHU upgrade

University of Queensland embarked on an innovative approach to replacing the Medical School Dissection Laboratory HVAC system at its St Lucia campus. The laboratory function is a dissection teaching environment, requiring the HVAC to dilute embalming fluid vapours.

Challenges included fresh air (over 6,100L/s), low room temperature (19°C), and low room moisture content (7g/kg) with relative humidity controlled at 50%RH. The original plant relied on overcooling and 90kW of electrical reheat. The system operates 24/7.

An innovative approach created by McClintock Engineering Group used a multi-coil processing AHU with free energy recovery, energy transfer and reuse and overall system efficiency (COP) improvement.

The solution has reduced plant energy consumption by more than 60 per cent.




Griffith University’s N79 Super Lab 

Griffith University’s new multi-purpose engineering, technology and aviation teaching spaces and super laboratory facility is set across two levels within the N79 Building. It includes several large-scale spaces designed for teaching multiple cohorts and disciplines in parallel, and will be used by the university's science group.

Significant upgrades to the base building's mechanical systems were required to accommodate increased loads and occupancies. An innovative manifolded heat-recovery system for fume cupboard exhaust was incorporated into the new mechanical plant room to reduce this impact. This solution provides a positive long-term impact, helping Griffith University achieve its energy-reduction targets.