[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”0″ padding_right=”0″ hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][one_full last=”yes” spacing=”yes” center_content=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding=”” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][title size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Gas or electrical air conditioning? Rising domestic gas prices leave this question on everyone’s lips[/title][fusion_text]A recent report (Report) prepared by Melbourne University department, Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI), examined the price of gas and electricity in running household heating across the eastern-Australian gas market, and forecasts the future of domestic gas in Australia.

Gas modelling

The Australian Energy Market Operator indicates that gas demand in easter Australia peaked in 2012 and has since, on a yearly basis, declined.

The MEI has modelled that gas demand will continue its decline and by 2025, gas use in Australia could fall to half the peak use of gas. The reasoning involves Australian households switching from their gas appliances (not just heaters) to electrical appliances, as the price of gas increases.

Increasing cost of gas

The increase in gas cost has been linked to flow on from Australia’s exportation of gas to Asia from Gladstone, QLD, and the high cost associated with producing coal seam gas. Amongst others, these factors are negatively impacting on the use of gas in both industrial and electricity generation sectors.

Reduced heating costs by 70%

The author of the Report, Tim Forcey, said that by switching from ducted gas heating to several reverse cycle air conditioners, he reduced his heating costs by 70%. Forcey, has more than 30 years of experience in industrial energy, and has worked with BHP Billiton and ExxonMobil, and assets including the QLD Gas Pipeline and the Bass Strait JV.

Electrical Air Conditioning: Impact on HVAC

For engineers, facilities managers and home buyers, there are important implications for infrastructure and planning, as there is less need to be connected to a gas grid. In the case of heaters, the Report found that reverse-cycle (or split system) are conditioners “are efficient renewable-energy generators Contrasting with the potentially-poor performance of ducted-gas, some non-ducted RCACs … achieve efficiencies of more than 500% when they capture up to 4.8 units of free, renewable-ambient heat from the outside air for every one unit of electricity applied … If the RCAC wall unit is located in the room directly where heat is needed, energy losses are minimal.” And, that split-system air conditioners “have the added advantage of providing space-cooling during summer and other warm-weather periods and as a result are already in place in millions of Australian homes.”

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