LandCorp’s world-first ‘Cool Earth’ trial gets underway

14 Nov 2016

A world-first trial to benchmark the effectiveness of renewable geoexchange technology compared to conventional heating and cooling systems generally employed in Western Australian homes is underway in the northern Perth suburb of Craigie.

LandCorp chief executive, Frank Marra said the start of this trial marks an exciting new milestone in one of LandCorp’s Innovation through Demonstration projects. 

“We believe in leading by doing,” Mr Marra said.

“We are committed to championing sustainable land and infrastructure development in Western Australia.  We do this by trialling new technologies and innovative development practices so industry can follow with confidence.”

Mr Marra said one of the two Cool Earth trial homes was fitted with conventional reverse cycle heating and cooling technology, while the other features an open-loop ground source heat exchange system.

“While the ground source exchange technology has already been proven, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the world’s first side-by-side trial of the effectiveness of an open-loop ground source system compared to conventional residential heating and cooling technology,” Mr Marra explained.

Mr Marra said initial desktop research predicts the environmentally-friendly ground source exchange technology has the potential to cut heating and cooling costs by 50 per cent or more and realise significant savings in energy, carbon emissions and electricity bills for the residents

“This technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we heat and cool our homes in the future,” he said.

Igor Markovic, proud new owner of the Cool Earth Demonstration house with his wife Sonja and 4-year-old son, Dominic, said they were thrilled to be part of the trial.

“The system is very effective in heating our home.  We have experienced the peak of winter and found it to be the most comfortable in memory,” Mr Markovic said. 

“We’re looking forward to the cooling opportunities over the summer months and reduced power bills.”

The geoexchange unit operates in a similar way to a regular reverse cycle air conditioning unit except that it uses a domestic bore to tap into the near constant underground temperature to cool or heat, depending on the season. This water is then run through the geoexchange heat pump unit, allowing it to heat or cool the home in a way which uses less electricity than a conventional air conditioner.

The temperature and energy usage of the two homes will be measured and compared over a period of two years, with the University of Western Australia analysing the results and providing half-yearly reports.

Located at The Vive estate, residents within the Cool Earth homes enjoy all the benefits of living in a brand new estate, close to the amenities of an established community. 

“The location is perfect for us – just five minutes from school and work,” Mr Markovic said.

“And as a former Craigie Senior High School student, this estate is particularly special to me.”

The Cool Earth project is a collaboration between LandCorp, the University of Western Australia, GeoExchange Australia, The ABN Group and Carbonomics.

For more information on this project or updates on the trial results, register your interest at landcorp.com.au/coolearth.

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