Innovation That Matters

The group has created a 3D-printed system that "breathes" like frog skin | Photo source BVN

A 3D-printed air conditioning system 

Architecture & Design

Optimised layouts reduce the length of piping needed, while also saving installation time and resources

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Spotted: Oversized and redundant HVAC systems create up to 15 per cent of building services’ carbon footprints. To see what opportunities for increasing efficiencies lay within these systems, Australia’s BVN Sydney Design studio took a very close look at the designs of conventional HVAC set-ups. The studio found that almost every system was designed and installed based on the limits of manufacturing steel.  

Rather than design systems based on limitations, the studio found a way to design for efficiency. With the introduction of the Systems Reef 2 air diffusion system, the studio moves the HVAC industry a giant step forward in sustainability. Using a large-scale, robotic 3D printing process, the team builds tailor-made, prefabricated parts made from recycled plastic materials.  

The 3D printing process allows for much more precise shapes, thereby reducing the length by up to 33 per cent, while decreasing the weight and area of the entire system, and halving the number of fixings required to install everything. In turn, those reductions reduce operational energy, installation time, and embodied carbon outputs.  

BVN Sydney Design has turned its own studio into a living lab, with almost one kilometre of ductwork that could be replaced with the new design. Currently, 100 square metres have been replaced with Systems Reef 2, and the studio predicts that its carbon emissions will reduce by one megatonne.  

Thermal energy storage, and a carbon capture system retrofitted into existing HVAC systems are two other innovations improving building service efficiency that Springwise has spotted.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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