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Keep your cool

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From technology to zoning, a comfortable home needs the right cooling solutions. HOUSING explores what airconditioning has in store for the homes of today, with an eye on tomorrow.

Anne-Maree Brown

General Manager of Content

What makes a home comfortable? Is it colour, lighting, decoration or just the presence of familiar faces? One thing is for certain: if the temperature outside is challenging even the most passionate summer lovers, they will never feel calm and breezy when they can’t escape the heat inside.

The temperature of a room should be something that goes unnoticed. Usually, if the temperature is recognised, it’s because it’s uncomfortable. If a home’s airconditioning doesn’t work to make the occupants enjoy their habitat in peace, it can affect daily life. So, what should Australian builders and homeowners take into account when considering how to keep a home cool?

Comfort in the sunburnt country

Heading into this year’s warmer months, the experience of hotter temperatures is compounded by the volume of people working from home who need their spaces to be enjoyable and productive. 

Jamie Mair, ActronAir’s Head of Sales and Marketing, believes that it’s no better time to focus on performance of the systems you select. Starting off in Australia more than 35 years ago, the business has a firsthand understanding of our country’s climatic demands. 

‘We make sure that our systems operate at a higher capacity to ensure they are more powerful in the heat, and most importantly, less likely to break down,’ Jamie says.
‘Because our climate is so extreme you need to make sure that not only can the system perform under high temperature pressure, but that its functionality isn’t going to be hindered when it’s most needed.’ 

Raj Singh, Daikin’s National Product Manager, agrees. Newly designed outdoor and indoor units ensure products withstand the harsh Australian climate.

‘Our new indoor unit features upgraded control systems, allowing it to reliably operate in roof temperatures of up to 85°C,’ Raj says. ‘With these innovations, Daikin can ensure that its systems can reliably provide ultimate comfort in any climate around Australia.’  

ActronAir started off in Australia more than 35 years ago. Photo courtesy ActronAir.

The technology of temperature

But what about the technology that goes into making sure airconditioning systems work to their full capacity? It’s been a lesson in necessary innovation.

‘Demand in the airconditioning market has changed dramatically throughout the time Daikin has been in the industry. As we move through a digital age, customer requirements and home designs have changed as priorities and values shift,’ Raj adds.

‘Keeping technology at the user’s fingertips is more valued today than simply cooling or heating a room. New ducted units now use refrigerants and inverter technology for higher efficiency, while lowering potential climate change impacts – meeting the changing demands of homeowners for performance and sustainability.’

For ActronAir, it’s about the angles and direction. Typically, airconditioning systems are designed for an international market, such as apartments, so they expel hot air horizontally. In Australia, airconditioning units are wall-mounted on an external wall facing a dividing fence. By releasing the air sideways it bounces off the fence, effectively sending the hot air back towards the airconditioning unit. 

‘Our answer is an Australian-designed system that blows the hot air vertically rather than horizontally. This allows the airconditioner to produce a more powerful output as it no longer has to cool a space that is being made hotter through its own air output. This design, along with our variable capacity technology offering, ensures that we have the right product option for every Australian home,’ Jamie says. 

Additionally, ActronAir is continuing to update and develop its product to become more accustomed to the increasing temperatures Australia is seeing in the summer months. 
‘There’s a saying: “If you can condition Australia, then you can condition anywhere”,’ he says. ‘It’s not about just guaranteeing that it will be work but guaranteeing how well they work. Our systems are built to suit Australia and we know it gets really hot here, so we design accordingly.’ 

Customisation and control

It’s important to note the varying forms of user control when it comes to installing airconditioning. Fingertip control, once incorporated into homes to assist the elderly in remaining self-sufficient, has now become an inclusion to simplify the small things to let homeowners focus on more important priorities. 

Daikin’s Airbase app allows for remote operation of the airconditioning unit with a simple image-based app design. 

You can connect to the unit with any internet connection, either in the home or remotely. It has colour-code themes for each of the unit’s settings and sends automation notifications when the filter needs to be cleaned. It also features a countdown timer for automatic on and off control. 

ActronAir’s QUE Smart Air Conditioning Control consists of a touchscreen panel, wireless zone controllers, room sensors and smart device connectivity. The sleek design holds unique software features, such as integrated zoning and individual comfort control and was the recipient of the Good Design award on its release.

Whatever their preference, convenience of control is important for homeowners. They will appreciate a product that is simple yet effective.

Photo courtesy Daikin
Photo courtesy Daikin
Photo courtesy ActronAir
Photo courtesy ActronAir

In the zone

When zoning a home it’s important to consider the size and shape of each space. Larger rooms, whether by floor space or ceiling height, require a larger system to satisfy the higher load. 

Another factor is the intent of a room. A living or dining room may experience higher occupancy levels than a bedroom at any given time, so they will need a higher load requirement. For those areas that are divided, such as bedrooms, zoning lines should work harmoniously with the spaces. 

Other considerations may include room orientation, and the size and glazing levels of the windows exposed to direct sunlight.

Daikin’s Zone Controller allows easy-use control of multiple zones, possibilities to alter zones and the ability to personalise each of the zones. Additional to the other personalisation features of the Airbase app, is the ability to create and control different zones of the home through a user-friendly platform. 

Generally, airconditioning should be sized in order to cool down the maximum floor space of a home at any one time, but that doesn’t mean that you forget or discard the idea of zoning. With ActronAir’s advanced zoning options in place you are better able to select smaller units for the whole house, as you are able to just condition the rooms you want to use. If in doubt about effectively zoning a house to maximise the functionality of the installed airconditioning system, ActronAir provides support throughout the design process for both homeowners and builders.

Energy and efficiency

In all airconditioning units there are common themes, such as system performance, noise considerations and the aesthetics of the unit. However, having the highest energy performance for any given size system can ensure the best output and the lowest operating costs for the homeowner. 

Responding to these requirements, Daikin says its systems often exceed the government stipulated Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). ‘We include unique advanced features, such as Intelligent Eye, which offers energy saving and draught-free environments. We are proud of our products’ performance,’ Raj says.

For ActronAir, energy efficiency comes from its varying capabilities of personalised zoning. ‘The way I think about it is without proper zoning you are basically paying for cold air that you don’t need,’ Jamie says. ‘Systems, like ESP Platinum QUE, are able to operate all the way down to a single room, giving you all the benefits of advanced ducted comfort at the running cost of a wall hung split.

‘Homeowners only think about airconditioning once or twice in life and then they live with it. ActronAir’s solutions allow us to say “no matter what your lifestyle, there’s an answer for you with our range”.’ 

In a country like ours, airconditioning should never be an afterthought. So, whether you are involved in a renovation, a new build or just thinking about your own home cooling needs, taking the time to research the right airconditioning solution for the space will ensure that whoever lives there will continue to love their home.
This article was compiled with contributions from ActronAir and Daikin.