Fairwater Living Lab


40 houses

With active household participation in surveys


216 monitors

Capturing data about energy, water, indoor and outdoor conditions and gas – learning useful information about energy use


2 reports

Delivered to ARENA, generating insights on the change in energy use

Testing the commercial viability, as well as the energy consumption, emissions, cost of living and urban heat island impacts, of the use of renewable thermal energy heat pumps in Australia. 


Activities and progress 2021

Project objectives


The Fairwater Living Laboratory project aims to assess the performance of renewable thermal energy heat pumps in the Australian context. The key outcomes associated with the project will be:

  1. Reduced peak demand and total consumption for grid energy has been demonstrated;
  2. Actual energy performance of the GSHP systems and reduced cost of living for residents (compared to business as usual) has been quantified;
  3. Economic benefits to the developer, residents and the distribution network service providers has been calculated;
  4. Technical and commercial evidence base required to reduce the level of electricity network augmentation in future similar projects and establish the commercial merits of industry-wide adoption of GSHP technologies and systems approaches in residential greenfield developments has been produced;
  5. Improved urban heat island outcomes by avoiding reject heat into the local air during cooling operations (compared against a similar nearby site) has been demonstrated.

Why is this project needed?

In Australia, residential buildings are responsible for approximately 12% of overall emissions. Heat stress causes adverse health impacts, discomfort, and household economic pressure through higher energy costs for cooling.

With rising temperatures rise due to the effects of climate change, “urban heat island effect,” and is a major threat facing medium- high- density housing developments. As our cities grow, it is increasingly urgent to explore strategies for cooling, including vegetation, bodies of water, shading, and energy.

Ground-source heat pump technology can halve heating, cooling and hot water loads compared to air-source heat exchange, with proportional carbon savings. They have the biggest demand reduction on the hottest and coldest days of the years, which provides a significant reduction in peak demand as well as total electricity consumption, dramatically lowering electricity costs for the residents.  However, upfront capital cost and a lack of industry experience with the technology is a barrier to their widespread uptake in new housing developments in Australia.

How will the project fill this gap?

The Fairwater Living Laboratory project aims to assess the performance of renewable thermal energy heat pumps in the Australian context. A first in Australia, Frasers Property installed this technology into homes at their Fairwater development in Blacktown NSW. Specifically, the study is testing whether the technology reduces local peak demand (especially during hot summer days); is commercially viable; reduces energy consumption, emissions, and the cost of living for residents, and reduces urban heat island impacts.

Now in the final year of the study, preliminary results are delivering insights into the use of the technology.  During the final year, a knowledge sharing plan has been developed to share findings broadly.

Who we’re working with

Our office

Climate-KIC Australia
Bldg 10, 235 Jones Street
Ultimo, NSW 2007 Australia

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