2017 Press releases

Tuesday, April 4

AIRAH to host the Sydney Mid-Tier Forum

Leveraging off the successful Melbourne Forum series, the Sydney Forum is the latest addition to AIRAH’s 2017 events schedule. It will focus on the uptake of sustainability initiatives in mid-tier buildings in New South Wales. 

Curated in collaboration with the City of Sydney, the Energy Efficiency Council, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, NABERS, and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the Sydney Forum will take place at the Aerial UTS Function Centre on Tuesday, June 13.

“An enormous amount of progress has been made in recent years in optimising the premium component of the built environment,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “We’re now at a stage where most owners of premium and A-grade buildings understand the importance of energy efficiency, resilience and sustainability. 

“Unfortunately, the mid-tier has been left lagging behind. The average NABERS Energy rating in this sector is just 2.4 stars, while many don’t have a rating at all.

“The rationale behind the Sydney Forum is to increase the relationship between all stakeholders in the mid-tier supply chain. All parties need to collaborate and work towards common objectives to achieve energy-efficient buildings. Facility managers need to know their building and occupants, and the contractors must fully understand their systems.”

According to a report prepared by the GBCA for the federal government in 2015, about 80,000 buildings in Australia classify as “the mid-tier”. These buildings are estimated to represent as much as 84 per cent of the 64 million square metres of commercial office space in Australia.

Recognising the need to address the barriers to mid-tier energy efficiency, AIRAH manager – government and external relations, Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH, says the Sydney Forum will provide the ideal springboard for improvement. 

“Energy performance and sustainability are generally low-priority concerns for mid-tier building owners,” says Wilkinson. “Unfortunately, energy-efficiency outcomes have not been pushed strongly enough to impact the mid-tier. However, the launch of AIRAH’s Sydney Forum series will work to lay out a pathway to sustainability in this space, not just in Sydney, but throughout New South Wales.”   

Confirmed speakers for the June Sydney Forum are Dr Paul Bannister, F.AIRAH, from Energy Action; Anthony De Francesco from Real Investment Analytics (RIA); Shauna Coffey from the Energy Efficiency Council; and Rachael Scott from Eureka Real Assets.  

For more information about the Sydney Forum, email events@airah.org.au or go to www.airah.org.au/SydneyForum.


Thursday, March 30

AIRAH’s Refrigeration 2017 Conference attracts record attendance

Taking place March 27–28 at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) held its first major event for the year – the Refrigeration 2017 Conference. Headlined by a brace of international keynotes speakers, the two-day conference attracted a record-breaking number of delegates.  

Now established as the leading gathering place for the Australian refrigeration industry’s leading minds and trendsetters, the Refrigeration 2017 Conference looked at the state of the industry, how it may respond to the challenges initiated by COP 21 and the global HFC phase-down, and how this will impact upon educators, legislators, regulators, end users, engineers, consultants and technicians.

Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium provided an eye-catching the backdrop for the two-day event, which attracted a record 150-plus delegates. 

Labelling the event a bona-fide success, AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, says Refrigeration 2017 highlights AIRAH’s commitment to help shape an efficient, productive and resilient industry.  

“Although we didn’t quite reach Etihad Stadium’s 50,000 capacity, we’re still extremely pleased with the turnout and reception from all delegates at Refrigeration 2017,” Gleeson says. “At a key juncture for the refrigeration industry, the conference organising committee led by Stefan Jensen, F.AIRAH, was committed to curating a program that addressed the most critical issues from both an Australian and international perspective. 

“Those in attendance have the capability to shape the refrigeration space for years to come. So to have these influencers gathered in the one space, and to witness so much robust conversation throughout the two days was wonderful to see.”  

Opening proceedings on day one, vice-chair of European natural refrigerant initiative Eurammon Monika Witt outlined the role of natural refrigerants in the future. 
Providing an update on the situation in Europe, Witt outlined the status of refrigerants, the steps required to meet climate targets, and other aspects to consider for a sustainable future.

“Using HFOs is simply ‘quick fix’,” says Witt. “The future is natural. The smartest decision is to leapfrog other refrigerant options and turn to the natural choices.” 

President of US-based Colmac Coil Manufacturing, Bruce Nelson, M.AIRAH, headlined day two with a rousing keynote presentation on the “Donald Effect”. 

Nelson, vice-chair of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR), discussed the developments in low-charge ammonia refrigeration systems in light of an uncertain and shifting political environment following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.

“We need to make ammonia great again!” says Nelson. “The politics of climate change has driven the phase-out of HFCs via the EPA SNAP rule. However, the politics of public safety still limits application of ammonia and hydrocarbons. The “Donald Effect” on regulations and enforcement is unclear, but low-charge technology has expanded applications for ammonia.”   

Day two also provided arguably the most insightful session of the conference, as a panel consisting of Witt, Nelson, Robert Kebby from Honeywell, and Jan Dusek from

Shecco discussed the international implications from COP21 and the future of the refrigeration industry.

With questions opening up to the delegates, the session provided a platform for passionate – and at times, intense – discussions regarding training, licensing, and the participation of women in the industry. 

“There’s evident concern surrounding the industry and its attractiveness as a career for those entering the workforce,” says AIRAH executive manager, government relations and technical services Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH. “Yet many in the room felt that now was an exciting time to get involved in refrigeration, as the uptake of CO2 and ammonia technologies becomes more commonplace. AIRAH looks forward to working with the key stakeholders in the space to promote this, and ultimately boost the number of skilled apprentices.”

Wilkinson says two of the exciting facets of the conference were its decidedly international flavour, and its future focus.

“One of the fantastic things about the conference was its distillation of the brilliant ideas and new technologies coming through,” Wilkinson says. “For example non- refrigerant apparatus such as magnetic refrigeration was raised in discussion. 

“It’s incredibly exciting that the vapour-compression cycle may not be the only option available to us.”    

AIRAH thanks the sponsors of Refrigeration 2017: A-Gas, Bitzer and Heatcraft.

The Refrigeration 2018 Conference is slated to be held in Sydney in March 2018.


Thursday, March 23

Now calling for abstracts: AIRAH’s 2017 Pre-loved Buildings Forum

Last held in 2014, AIRAH’s Pre-loved Buildings Forum is back and taking place in Sydney on August 3. The committee is now calling for abstracts.

The Pre-loved Buildings Forum advocates that a strong focus on HVAC&R in the existing built environment can achieve dramatic effects when it comes to reducing energy use, conserving water, and improving the occupied space.

The Forum is being held at Sydney’s Doltone House on August 3.

“The Forum will offer an insight into understanding the drivers behind the decision to reuse a building, as well as the unique constraints of a retrofit, adaptive reuse or refurbishment project,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “This forum will be the place to hear updates from government, case studies, lessons learnt, and an overview of the latest research.” 

The Forum’s technical organising committee is now calling for abstracts on an array of subjects, including but not limited to:  
Energy efficiency, building tuning and optimisation
Updates from government and a review of rating tool systems
Lessons learnt from improving the performance of existing buildings
Retrofit and refurbishment case studies
The impacts of digitisation on existing buildings
Latest research and technologies
Architectural, environmental and financial drivers.  

By submitting an abstract, speakers are also agreeing to submit a PowerPoint presentation before the conference, should their application to present be successful. 

The technical committee has the final say on accepted presentations. All submissions must also include a 100-word author biography and high-resolution author photo. Abstracts should be emailed to conferences@airah.org.au by April 17. 

The Pre-loved Buildings Forum technical organising committee is Gary Whatling, M.AIRAH, A.G. Coombs; Craig Roussac, M.AIRAH, Buildings Alive; Gary Knox, M.AIRAH, Daikin Australia; and Jessica Holz, M.AIRAH, Aurecon. 

AIRAH thanks supporting sponsor Magnetite, Australian retrofit double-glazing specialists. 

For more information and to register, go to www.airah.org.au/conferences


Wednesday, March 15

AIRAH takes the TAKE2 pledge

AIRAH is a proud supporter and founding partner of TAKE2, Victoria’s collective climate change program to help the state achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

In June 2016, the Victorian state government committed to fight climate change, setting an ambitious target for Victoria to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. To help achieve this goal, with the help of founding partner AIRAH, Sustainability Victoria is delivering the TAKE2 initiative – a world-leading climate change pledge program.  

TAKE2 is a Victorian government initiative that is applicable to all Australians. It aims to assist individuals, business, government, educational and community organisations to take meaningful action to reduce climate change and keep global temperature rise under 2°C, the point at which scientists say harm to the planet can be reasonably contained.

“There is considerable scientific data published that suggests temperatures around the world are rising because of the pollution produced by human activity,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “AIRAH is all about promoting safe, sustainable, healthy and effective environments. And by taking collective action through TAKE2, all Australians can make a difference to climate change.” 

As part of AIRAH’s pledge, it has consulted with industry leaders (via PRIME, Special Technical Groups (STGs), AIRAH conventions and division events). Five key issues requiring AIRAH thought leadership have been identified. They are:

Resilience – the ability for buildings to operate during, and to recover quickly from, adverse events. 

Sustainability – building sustainability aligned to energy use and emissions reduction.

Compliance – addressing undiscovered and discovered compliance issues across all elements of the supply chain. 

Transition to low global-warming-potential refrigerants – addressing the move to appropriate-level GWP refrigerants and the training needs of the industry.

Innovation – leading the drive for continuous improvement through innovation and research.

“The HVAC&R industry has some key challenges at a local level, including skills and compliance issues, right through to the global stage, where extreme and disruptive weather events are increasingly prevalent,” says AIRAH’s manager for government relations and technical services Phil Wilkinson, F. AIRAH. “By taking the TAKE2 pledge,

AIRAH acknowledges that the need for greater energy efficiency and reduction in harmful emissions are a key imperative for government and industry.” 
For more information, go to www.take2.vic.gov.au


Friday, March 3

AIRAH’s Future of HVAC 2017 Conference calls for abstracts

Preparations for AIRAH’s marquee conference series, The Future of HVAC, are well under way for 2017. The committee is now calling for abstracts for this not-to-be-missed two-day exploration of the industry’s present and future. 

Held at Doltone House Darling Island Wharf in Sydney from September 13–14, The Future of HVAC 2017 Conference will explore the advances, ideas, and innovations that are driving our industry’s future. The discussion will encompass not only new HVAC technologies and materials, but developments in future design processes, HVAC and smart grids, net-zero buildings, big data, and many other topics. 

“Year on year, the HVAC&R industry continues to evolve, and it’s vital that those involved stay up date,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “The Future of HVAC 2017 Conference will once again provide the platform for our industry’s leading thinkers to collectively discuss and unpack the most important issues, technologies and ideas confronting the HVAC&R landscape.” 

The conference committee is now calling for abstracts on an array of subjects, including but not limited to:
Advances in the design process 
Building simulation
Heading towards net-zero buildings
How HVAC should be managed in the future
The impact of advanced façade designs on HVAC
Overseas trends
Big data
Analysis techniques
How to get the most out of data
Case studies (but not limited to)
Innovative HVAC designs
Advances in HVAC design
Data centres
Advanced dehumidification design
HVAC and smart grids
HVAC in demand response
Latest HVAC research

Abstract submissions must not exceed 300 words and should also include a separate 100-word biography and high-resolution photo (300dpi). By submitting an abstract, speakers are also agreeing to submit a technical paper and a PowerPoint presentation before the conference, should their application to present be successful. 

The conference committee has the final say on accepted presentations. Abstracts should be emailed to AIRAH (conferences@airah.org.au) by Friday, April 7, 2017.

The Future of HVAC 2017 Conference is sponsored by ActronAir.

For more information about The Future of HVAC 2017 Conference and sponsorship enquiries, go to www.airah.org.au/future2017


Thursday, March 2

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science looks forward to AIRAH collaboration  

AIRAH has received a letter from the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos AO, acknowledging the Institute’s contribution to the HVAC&R industry. 

Following a cabinet reshuffle in mid-January, Senator Arthur Sinodinos took the reins on the federal government’s Industry, Innovation and Science portfolios, taking over from Greg Hunt, now Minister for Health and for Sport. 

Amid the reshuffle, AIRAH was quick to congratulate Sinodinos on his new post, while also highlighting the Institute’s strategic direction and commitment to the industry. 

“AIRAH’s continuing healthy relationship with the government of the day is of utmost importance,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “We are looking forward to the Senator’s tenure as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, and hope we can work collaboratively towards the greater good of the industry.”

In his letter, the Minister thanked AIRAH for its best wishes, and praised the continuing efforts being made to lower emissions and to elevate the industry.

“I recognise the importance of the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration sector to the Australian economy, and the critical role it plays in improving energy efficiency,” wrote Minister Sinodinos. “I look forward to working with AIRAH to continue to improve our built environment.”

The Minister believes there are many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead across his remit, and hopes a collaborative approach will work to benefit all. 

“As a lifelong supporter of Australian industry and jobs, I come to the portfolio with the goal of developing an innovation ecosystem that drives productivity and creates the jobs of the future,” he wrote. “Across every sector, from small enterprises to big businesses, Australians have no shortage of ideas. Our best minds are at the cutting edge of so many industries, and have enormous potential in countless more.”

Says Gleeson: “In addition to working with Senator Sinodinos, AIRAH will continue its current dialogue with Assistant Minister Craig Laundry, who is responsible for the building industry, and with Minister Josh Frydenberg, Minster for the Environment and Energy.”


Tuesday, February 28

The Women of AIRAH unite!  

AIRAH has established a new group, the Women of AIRAH, to help promote diversity, representation and inclusion within the ranks of HVAC&R. 

Established in late 2016 and recently ratified by the board, the Women of AIRAH (WOA) group will work to develop AIRAH’s strategy for supporting women and increasing their participation in both AIRAH and the HVAC&R industry at large. 

“It is of great importance that the women within our industry are both acknowledged and supported,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. 

“AIRAH understands that women are underrepresented in HVAC&R, and we believe that the creation of the Women of AIRAH group is an important step forward if this is to change. Women of AIRAH will not only provide women in the industry with a forum to voice issues of concern, but will also work to make HVAC&R an attractive prospect for those looking to take the next step in their career.” 

The Women of AIRAH group will work with local AIRAH divisions to run events, networking sessions, mentoring, support and other initiatives. 

AIRAH has now finalised the group’s state committee representatives, and is delighted to announce Ura Sarfejoo, M.AIRAH, as the inaugural WOA Chair. 

“The Women of AIRAH group is about improving diversity and the representation of women in the industry,” says Sarfejoo. “It’s important for women to feel included. For the sake of the profession, engineering needs more women to get involved, so this AIRAH initiative is incredibly exciting.”
The Women of AIRAH state committee representatives are: 
Nithiya Mohan, Affil.AIRAH – WOA Secretary (ACT division); Ura Sarfejoo, M.AIRAH – WOA Chair, Mikaila Ganado, M.AIRAH – WOA Vice Chair (NSW division); Jessica Holz, M.AIRAH (Queensland division); Jenny Smith, Affil.AIRAH, (Northern Territory chapter); Susan Tohu, Stud.AIRAH, (South Australia division); Victoria Totten, AM.AIRAH, Camilla O’Leary, Affil.AIRAH, Cara Ryan, Affil.AIRAH (Victoria division); Peta Blight, M.AIRAH, Ying Han, Affil.AIRAH, (Western Australia division).

Thank you to our sponsors: Delta Controls, GJ Walker, and Grosvenor Engineering Group. 

More information about the Women of AIRAH initiative, including sponsorship opportunities, is available at www.airah.org.au/WOA or by emailing membership@airah.org.au


Monday, February 6

Ian Harwood named new AIRAH President   

Following a special meeting of AIRAH’s board, Ian Harwood, M.AIRAH, has been elected to the prestigious position of President. He replaces Ania Hampton, M.AIRAH, who has stepped aside from the position due to ill health. 

An AIRAH board director for the past two years, Perth-based Harwood has been an AIRAH member for more than a decade. He previously served as President of AIRAH’s WA division committee, helping to re-energise its monthly seminar program and to grow its membership.

AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, says Harwood’s director experience and knowledge of the industry will serve the 97-year-old Institute very well.

“Having worked with Ian over the past 12 months, I’ve seen the passion, experience and strategic nous he brings to the board,” Gleeson says. “I have no doubt his energy, ideas and oversight will serve him and AIRAH well as he assumes this essential role.”

The first female president in AIRAH’s storied history, Hampton has reluctantly left the post. Recently diagnosed with Ross River Fever, she has stepped aside from all her official Institute duties in order to recover as quickly as possible.

“AIRAH owes Ania a debt of gratitude for her commitment, competence and enthusiasm she brought to the role, especially in the sponsorship of the new website and membership platform, and the introduction of the Women of AIRAH initiative,” Gleeson says. “The timing of her illness is really unfortunate, and we all wish her the best in her return to health.”

Boasting 22 years’ experience in the building services industry, including time spent working abroad, Harwood is an Associate Director with Norman Disney & Young, based in NDY’s Perth office. With an avid interest in the technical side of the industry, he has also been active in the design and management of high-profile projects. 

“Having been actively involved in AIRAH for the past decade, I feel extremely proud and honoured to be elected President,” Harwood says. “I know Ania is disappointed to have to step aside, but all the directors understand that the decision was made in her and her family’s best interests.

“With the backing of their respective boards, previous presidents Ania, Nathan Groenhout and Sean Treweek have worked tirelessly to set AIRAH up into the strong position we see it in today. I hope to see this position maintained while working toward addressing some of the challenges we see in our industry, and for our membership cross-section.”

Harwood says there are changes afoot in the HVAC&R industry affecting people management, design and construction methodologies, sustainability best practice, controls and documentation practices.

“Change is the status quo, and the landscape is very different today to what it was even five years ago” Harwood says. “Assisting our industry adapt to and embrace this is a continuing challenge, but one that AIRAH is well prepared to address.” 

Originally slated to become a director in May when Groenhout steps down after serving his maximum term, Paul Bannister, M.AIRAH, now joins the board effective immediately.


Tuesday, January 31

Two international keynotes to headline AIRAH’s Refrigeration 2017 Conference   

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has named a brace of respected industry identities to speak at Refrigeration 2017, which will take place March 27–28 in Melbourne.

Monika Witt, the vice-chair of European natural refrigerant initiative Eurammon, and Bruce Nelson, Affil.AIRAH, the president of US-based Colmac Coil Manufacturing, will address the conference. 

“Securing speakers the calibre of Monika Witt and Bruce Nelson is a real coup for AIRAH’s Refrigeration 2017 Conference,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “Their keynote addresses will set the tone for this timely and essential event.”

To be held at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, the two-day conference has a wide scope. It will look at the state of the industry, how it may respond to the challenges initiated by COP 21 and the global HFC phase-down, and how this will impact upon educators, legislators, regulators, end users, engineers, consultants and technicians.

A qualified mechanical engineer, since 1998 Witt has been the managing director of industrial refrigeration firm TH.WITT Kältemaschinenfabrik, a family-owned company founded in 1896. Witt also serves on the board of directors of Eurammon, for which she serves as vice-chair.

In her presentation “The role of natural refrigerants in the future – an update from Europe”, Witt will outline the status of refrigerants in Europe, the steps required to meet climate targets, and other aspects to consider for a sustainable future.

“The F-Gas phase-down is under way around the world,” says Witt. “The international industry will have to decide which way to go – natural and/or HFOs?”
Delivering the conference’s second keynote address will be Bruce Nelson, Affil.AIRAH. President of US-based Colmac Coil Manufacturing, Nelson serves on the IIAR board of directors and executive committee. Having authored many technical papers about refrigeration and heat transfer, Nelson also holds several US and international patents. 

In his presentation “Politics, refrigeration and the Donald effect”, Nelson will discuss the developments in low-charge ammonia refrigeration systems in light of an uncertain and shifting political environment following the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Within hours of his inauguration as US President, Trump ordered all mention of climate change removed from the White House website.

“The future application of synthetic and natural refrigerants in the USA will be determined by the politics of climate change,” Nelson says. “It will also be driven by safety concerns and regulations. There has been a shift in the political landscape, where there is an expectation that the politics of both climate change and safety regulations will be impacted by the ‘Donald Effect’.”

According to Nelson, low-charge ammonia represents inherently safer technology. He says it can be applied with significantly reduced power consumption, zero direct emissions and ultra-low indirect emissions.  

Refrigeration 2017 Conference attendees can also look forward to engaging presentations from the likes of Ben Adamson, F.AIRAH (Refrigeration Engineering International); Pat McInerney (Department of the Environment and Energy); Mike Baker, M.AIRAH (AJ Baker & Sons); and many more. 

The conference is sponsored by A-Gas, Bitzer and Heatcraft.

For more information about Refrigeration 2017, go to www.airah.org.au/conferences


Tuesday, January 17

AIRAH unveils its complete 2017 conference schedule

Underscoring a long-standing commitment to provide the industry with best-practice HVAC&R information, AIRAH has announced a compelling 2017 conference schedule.

Included in the program are the Refrigeration 2017 conference to be held in Melbourne in March; the Building Physics Forum, which will take place in Brisbane in June; the Pre-loved Buildings Forum, a one-day event in Sydney in August; The Future of HVAC 2017 conference to take place in Sydney in September; and the Building Simulation Conference 2017, which will be hosted with the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) in Melbourne in November.

“At AIRAH, we recognise that it is our steadfast responsibility to help improve HVAC&R technical knowledge and expertise,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “We take great pride in the curation of our annual conference schedule, and I’m confident that we can improve on the successful program we delivered in 2016. With conferences taking place across Australia, the 2017 schedule will appeal to the learning needs of our members, as well as the wider HVAC&R industry.” 

The 2017 schedule kicks off with the two-day Refrigeration 2017 conference, which takes place in Melbourne from March 27–28. Featuring two renowned international keynote speakers, the conference will look at the state of the industry, and how it may respond to the future challenges initiated by COP 21 and the global HFC phase-down.

Refrigeration 2017 will also include sessions reviewing the latest technologies. The conference trade display will provide attendees with an opportunity to interact with leading industry suppliers and their latest refrigeration technology offerings. 

Now in its fifth year, The Future of HVAC Conference returns to Sydney this year from September 13–14. AIRAH’s marquee conference, The Future of HVAC 2017 will provide insight into the issues, practices, technologies, regulation and design approaches affecting the HVAC industry now and into the future.

New for 2017, the Building Physics Forum in Brisbane (June 15) and the Pre-loved Buildings Forum in Sydney (August 3) add further depth to the conference schedule. The one-day forums provide an ideal setting for the industry’s movers and shakers to discuss specialised aspects of the built environment.   

Closing out the 2017 schedule is the Building Simulation Conference in Melbourne over November 15–16. Held in cooperation with IBPSA, this conference will provide a unique forum for the exchange of ideas and information between simulation researchers, simulation developers, building designers, and government legislators. 

For more information and the latest announcements regarding AIRAH’s 2017 conference program, go to www.airah.org.au/conferences