AIRAHAIRAH

Press releases

AIRAH announces comprehensive 2014 conference program (12/12/2013)


AIRAH has announced its conference program for 2014, a diverse agenda of four events held around the country that will cover a broad expanse of topics within the Institute’s remit. 

The four events on AIRAH’s 2014 program include two one-day workshops, and two two-day conferences, with the conferences requiring speakers to submit abstracts. 

The 2014 program includes the Solar Cooling Workshop, to be held in Brisbane on March 27; The Future of HVAC 2014 Conference to be held in Sydney in July; the Acoustics Workshop to be held in Sydney in September, and the PreLoved Buildings 2014 Conference to be held in Brisbane from October 28–29.

“This year’s conference program will see us specialising with one-day workshops in solar cooling and acoustics, but also looking at the bigger picture with the two-day The Future of HVAC and PreLoved Buildings conferences,” says AIRAH COO Neil Cox. 

“These events are a key opportunity to bring together the industry’s brightest minds to discuss best practice and cutting-edge issues, while allowing AIRAH’s broad membership to gather and network.

“AIRAH is leading the way in professionalising the industry and closing the skills gaps, and is dedicating considerable resources to running events,” Cox says. “Our conference program is an important part of uncovering and cementing innovations in HVAC&R.”

AIRAH’s first Solar Cooling Workshop will explore different aspects of solar cooling, including case studies and industry applications, policy and industry development, components and mechanisms, and innovations.

Following on from the inaugural conference held in Melbourne in 2013, The Future of HVAC 2014 Conference is all about recognising the barriers to best-practice sustainable design, and leading industry towards a re-emphasis on getting the HVAC engineering – from the basics to the innovative – right. 

AIRAH’s Acoustics Workshop will explore one of the most important elements of any HVAC&R system design: acoustics. 

And, as one of AIRAH’s most successful and recognisable conference series, the PreLoved Buildings conference will round out the year, focusing on optimising the performance of Australia’s pre-loved building stock.

For more information about AIRAH’s conference program for 2014, visit www.airah.org.au/conferences


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PreLoved Buildings Conference leads way with new information and ideas (19/11/2013)


With the tagline of “Preloved buildings reloved”, AIRAH’s PreLoved Buildings Conference 2013 explored the possibilities and challenges presented by Australia’s existing building stock, revealing some previously unseen information, and promoting fresh ideas.

Among a host of insightful presentations at the conference – held November 13 and 14 in Sydney – was the talk by Matt Hoogland, Affil.AIRAH. Hoogland provided an insight into the cutting-edge cooling systems of Melbourne’s Council House 2 (CH2).

Hoogland wrapped up two days of diverse presentations by offering attendees the first look at his review of the inner workings of CH2, and the steps being taken to bring its HVAC systems up to scratch. His presentation brought to light some of the most crucial considerations for those working on existing, or “preloved” buildings. 
 
“This year’s iteration of the PreLoved conference series delivered great variety among the speakers and topics, and at the same time illuminated new ideas and information,” says AIRAH COO Neil Cox. 

“AIRAH sees it as part of our remit to facilitate such an exchange of knowledge and experience, with a few strong, recurring ideas obviously lighting the way for future work on existing buildings.” 

“Collaboration” was a key theme across many presentations, starting with keynote speaker Robert Morris-Nunn of Circa Morris-Nunn Architects, who keynoted the first day of the conference. Morris-Nunn is responsible for some of Tasmania’s most delicately overhauled historic buildings, and offered a unique architect’s perspective to a conference largely populated by engineers. 

Another key theme of the conference was “simplification”, which was a defining feature in Hoogland’s presentation, and elaborated upon in the discussion by Chris Wallbank, M.AIRAH, of the balance between asset performance and industry focus areas.

Updates on new regulations and standards, as well as the latest developments in botanical air filtration and fault-detection technology, ensured attendees were across some timely topics. The daily discussion panels – focused on indoor air quality and retrofit case studies – stimulated lively discussion and debate, which continued to simmer right up until the conference closed.  

AIRAH’s PreLoved Buildings Conference 2013 was supported by gold sponsor AusIndustry, bronze sponsor A.G. Coombs, and Logical Group. The next PreLoved Buildings Conference is slated for November 20–21 (TBC) in Brisbane next year. 

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AIRAH recognises the best of the best at the AIRAH Awards 2013 (07/11/2013)


The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) acknowledged the achievements of the best products, individuals and projects over the past year at its annual Awards Presentation Dinner in Brisbane last week (October 31).

“The AIRAH Awards Presentation Dinner is one of the most important nights on the Institute’s calendar,” says AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH.

“It is on this evening – our blue-ribbon event – that we recognise, acknowledge and celebrate the best our industry has put forward for consideration.

“By showcasing excellence as it is exhibited in its various forms we hope to help raise the standards overall. And in a way, this is what AIRAH has done since it was established in 1920, and what we will continue to do.”

AIRAH chief operating officer Neil Cox says the high quality of the award entries underlines the quality of work performed by AIRAH members, and their important status in the HVAC&R industry.

“Congratulations to the 2013 AIRAH Award winners, and to the deserving finalists as well,” Cox says. “By earning an AIRAH Award our 2013 recipients have demonstrated they have the initiative and the know-how to drive the industry forward – qualities AIRAH is proud to champion.”

The AIRAH Awards winners are:

Student of the year Award
Michael Whitehouse, who is completing a Masters of Engineering by research at the University of Wollongong, focusing his research on innovative building display systems.

The Future Leader Award
Clare Parry, M.AIRAH, a senior sustainability consultant at Umow Lai.

Excellence in Innovation
Air Change, for the AC-DCU – Air Change Data Centre Unit.

Excellence in Sustainability
CSR Building Products – Odyssey.

Best HVAC&R – Retrofit or Upgrade 
Norman Disney & Young – 215 Adelaide St, Brisbane.

Award for Excellence in HVAC and Refrigeration Research
Vahid Vakiloroaya, Stud.AIRAH, and Associate Professor Quang Ha, University of Technology Sydney – Toward Green Buildings.

The WR Ahern Award
AIRAH Fellow Dr Richard Aynsley, for his paper “Condensation in residential buildings,” which was published in the October and November 2012 issues of Ecolibrium.

Denis Joseph Award for Innovative Use of Solar Energy in HVAC and Refrigeration (Award includes a $3000 grant).
Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, University of Wollongong – Team UOW/BlueScope – Solar-assisted HVAC system.

The AIRAH Awards 2013 were sponsored by NABERS (event sponsor), with Air Change (Excellence in Sustainability); Kingspan (Excellence in Innovation); Scantec (Best HVAC&R – Retrofit or Upgrade); Heatcraft (Student of the Year); and A.G.Coombs (Future Leader) sponsoring individual awards.



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An exciting array of speakers at 'Can't miss' PreLoved Buildings conference (29/10/2013)


Held November 13–14 at Doltone House, in Pyrmont, Sydney, AIRAH’s PreLoved Buildings Conference will explore a wide variety of aspects associated with retrofitting Australia’s existing building stock. 

With the tagline of “Preloved buildings reloved”, a program of influential and engaging speakers will cover everything from reviews and case studies, to indoor environment quality (IEQ) and the preservation of history.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that with rising utility costs and a changing regulatory landscape there is more emphasis than ever on optimising the existing building stock, a recurring theme of the Preloved Buildings Conference.

“I’m really excited about the program that’s been assembled for this year’s PreLoved Buildings Conference,” Wilkinson says.

“Whether it’s information about the new Green Star Performance tool, optimising workplaces, or how improved IEQ can lead to more productive personnel, the 2013 conference is as wide-ranging in scope as it is ambitious in its objectives.”

Wilkinson says that as with other AIRAH conferences, the PreLoved Buildings Conference has a practical focus.

“At the crux of PreLoved is a focus on improving the value of assets,” Wilkinson says. “And many of the speakers in the program are there to share their direct experiences of relifing existing buildings, sharing the wisdom they gleaned, the data that’s been extracted, and the lessons learned from often challenging projects.”

Alongside keynote speakers Robert Morris-Nunn, of Circa Morris-Nunn Architects, and Jon McCormick, of Brookfield Johnson Controls, a host of leading experts will take the stage to share their knowledge of preloved buildings.

Exergy senior consultant Matthew Hoogland, Affil.AIRAH, will discuss the energy performance of Melbourne’s Council House 2 (CH2), one of Australia’s first 6 star Green Star buildings, and which Exergy recently reviewed.

“The review focused on the systems operation, including passive chilled beams, trigeneration, thermal storage phase-change material, shower towers and more,” says Hoogland. “The main issues identified in the review involved the HVAC commissioning and control strategies applied to these systems, not only in isolation, but also interdependently.” 

Ronald Wood, App.AIRAH, from Innovative Plant Technology, will discuss the role of botanical air filtration in delivering high-quality indoor air in the workplace.

“Active botanical air filtration, a natural process, delivers clean, pollutant-free, high-quality indoor air directly in the workplace,” says Wood. “Case studies show up to 20 per cent energy savings in HVAC operations can be achieved from lower ventilation rates in existing buildings.”

For each of the two days of conference proceedings, a panel discussion will be held, opening the floor to lively discussions about retrofit case studies and IEQ. 

“This is a conference anyone with even a vague interest in improving existing buildings can’t afford to miss,” Wilkinson says.

For the full conference program, or to register, go to www.airah.org.au/preloved2013



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AIRAH releases revised DA13 Fans application manual (25/10/2013)



AIRAH has released a revised and updated version of its DA13 Fans application manual, a publication that provides a complete overview of fan usage in HVAC&R. 

First published in 1987, the 2013 updated version includes new fan motor designs, new control strategies, mandatory energy performance standards, and new or revised energy-efficiency requirements for fan applications in the BCA. 

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that fans are in integral part of HVAC, and that it simply makes sense to have fans running optimally.

“Fans, in their varied form and applications, are a critical and integral part of our sector,” Wilkinson says. “Fans are everywhere: supply and exhaust systems, air-handling units, air conditioners, cooling towers, VAV boxes – the list goes on.

“DA13 is the most comprehensive technical resource available for Australian HVAC&R fan applications. It is a must-read reference for anyone involved in the design, selection, installation, operation, maintenance and assessment of fans and fan systems.”

DA13 editor Vince Aherne, M.AIRAH, says the revised DA13 Fans application manual covers up-to-date best practice, such as promoting speed control over other forms of control, and understanding the importance of monitoring and maintenance in achieving efficiency.

“With the International Energy Agency estimating that fans consume between 18–20 per cent of all electricity generated worldwide, the correct selection and application of fans can have a substantial impact on overall system efficiency and operating cost,” Aherne says.

DA13 begins with first principles and examines the fundamentals of fan classification and performance. The manual addresses the issues around implementing fans in air-distribution systems – including system design and optimisation, fan selection and specification, system installation and commissioning – then continues through to handover, operation, and maintenance of fans.

The DA manual is supplemented by additional detailed data on a range of fan topics, including fan testing and troubleshooting, as well as issues to consider when using variable- frequency drives to control the speed and operation of fan systems.

The manual was revised by a special panel, and then reviewed by industry members before publication. 

The 2013 edition of DA13 Fans is available from AIRAH’s online store, at www.airah.org.au



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AIRAH Awards 2013 finalists announced (10/10/2013)


Celebrating outstanding achievements during the past year, the annual AIRAH Awards are the HVAC&R industry's most prestigious accolades. 

Awards will be presented on October 31 at a national awards presentation dinner at Moda Events Portside, Brisbane. 

“The AIRAH Awards are a pivotal component of the Institute’s activities,” says AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH. “By acknowledging achievement among our membership, we raise the bar for the HVAC&R industry and beyond.
“As usual, this year we had a fantastic response. I know the judges had a tough time sorting through the various categories. I look forward to meeting all the finalists in Brisbane.”

The evening is sponsored by NABERS.

AIRAH Awards 2013 finalists

Future Leader (Sponsored by A.G. Coombs)

Clare Parry, M.AIRAH
Mark Lommers, M.AIRAH
Vahid Vakiloroaya, Stud.AIRAH.

Student of the Year (Sponsored by Heatcraft)
Gareth Steel
Michael Whitehouse
Ngoc Tran Quang.

Excellence in Innovation (Sponsored by Kingspan)
Air Change – Data Centre Unit (AC-DCU)
Edmonds CSR – Odyssey
Innotech – InnSIGHT
Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) – Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) Central
Aurecon – QE II Courts of Law, Brisbane
Consensus Group – Chilled water evaporative cooling system.

Excellence in Sustainability (Sponsored by Air Change)
ActronAir – Tri-capacity
Alerton – Platinum maintenance agreement 
Commonwealth Bank Group – Green Refresh HVAC
Edmonds CSR – Odyssey.

Best HVAC or Refrigeration Retrofit or Upgrade (Sponsored by Scantec)
Norman Disney & Young – 215 Adelaide St, Brisbane
Seeley – Climate Wizard – 67 Greenhill Rd.
 
Excellence in HVAC and Refrigeration Research
ActronAir – Hercules
Melbourne University – Task air
UTS – Toward Green Buildings.

Denis Joseph Award for Innovative Use of Solar Energy in HVAC and Refrigeration
Paul Cooper, University of Wollongong/Team UOW – Solar-assisted HVAC system
UTS – Energy-efficient and eco-friendly solar-powered single-effect absorption air conditioning system.
 
WR Ahern Award
The WR Ahern Award is presented to the best technical paper in Ecolibrium written by an AIRAH member. Four papers were eligible this year: 
“Closing the loop: office tower simulation”, by Jeff Binks, M.AIRAH
“Condensation in residential buildings”, by Richard Aynsley, F.AIRAH 
“Issues and solutions to more realistically simulate conventional and cool roofs”, by Graham Carter, M.AIRAH 
“Refrigerants – back to the future?” by Don Cleland, HM.AIRAH.



2013 AIRAH Awards Presentation Dinner

When:
7pm, Thursday, October 31 
Where: Moda Events Portside, Hamilton, Brisbane
Cost: $160, tables of 10: $1,500

For tickets email martine@airah.org.au



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AIRAH offers half-day Building Code of Australia (BCA) Essentials course (07/10/2013)


Throughout November, AIRAH is running a series of half-day courses, providing an overview of the National Construction Code (NCC) Volume One BCA (Class 2–9 buildings) as it relates to mechanical services. 

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the one-off series covers regulations, energy, safety, and alternative solutions, and explains how the Building Code of Australia (BCA) applies to specific projects. 

“Some industry practitioners have a habit of simply copying and pasting from past jobs, without really understanding how the BCA applies to individual projects, or should be used,” Wilkinson says. “There’s a knowledge gap in our industry when it comes to the BCA – some people are continually getting it wrong. The BCA Essentials courses address that gap.”

Intended for graduate mechanical engineers with three years’ experience, and mechanical services contractors with a minimum of five years’ experience supervising mechanical services contracts, the course will run in all capital cities. 

“It’s important to attend this course in order to bridge the knowledge gap within the industry, so we can start righting people’s understanding of how to use the BCA,” says AIRAH training manager Carolyn Hughes.

The course is delivered by David Swinson, M.AIRAH, who has considerable industry experience. A 20-year building industry veteran, Swinson has worked in a range of roles, including fire safety consultant, building surveyor, facility manager and commercial builder.

“David’s extensive industry experience allows him to readily translate the theory into practical working examples and case studies,” Hughes says. 

Subjects covered by the course include building control as it applies to mechanical services, the fundamentals of the BCA, smoke hazard management, passive versus active systems, and energy efficiency in existing buildings.

The courses will take place in Victoria on October 24, New South Wales on October 30; Northern Territory on October 31, Western Australia on November 1, the ACT on November 6; Queensland on November 7, Tasmania on November 12; and South Australia on November 14.

More information about the BCA Essentials course is available at www.airah.org.au/training





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Robert Morris-Nunn to keynote AIRAH's dynamic PreLoved Buildings conference (26/09/2013)


Registrations are now open for AIRAH’s 2013 PreLoved Buildings Conference, which will take place in Sydney from November 13–14.

Boasting a tagline of “Preloved buildings reloved” the Sydney PreLoved Buildings Conference will explore the question of how Australia’s existing building stock can be re-imagined into energy-efficient, environmentally sound buildings. 

To be held at Doltone House in Pyrmont, the conference will be opened by new AIRAH president Nathan Groenhout, M.AIRAH, and feature keynote speakers Robert Morris-Nunn from Circa Morris-Nunn architects, and Jon McCormick from Brookfield Johnson Controls. 

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says Morris-Nunn is a most appropriate keynote for a conference that focuses on optimising the existing building stock.

“We’re privileged to have an architect of Robert Morris-Nunn’s calibre and renown as a keynote at the PreLoved Buildings Conference,” Wilkinson says. 

“He has substantial experience in relifing existing Tasmanian buildings, such as the Henry Jones Art Hotel and Princes Wharf shed, as well as landmark new buildings, including the Saffire Freycinet resort.”

Morris-Nunn is regarded as one of Tasmania’s most adventurous architects. He has won several national architectural awards, and received considerable international recognition for his work involving retrofitting buildings. During his presentation, Morris-Nunn will discuss the issues he has encountered when recycling and restoring buildings.

Both a qualified mechanical engineer and real estate agent, McCormick will speak about the pivotal role controls play in getting the most out of refurbished buildings.

Also at the conference, speaker Caimin McCabe, M.AIRAH, will share his experiences from the re-lifing of Ballarat’s Eureka Centre into the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE) in regional Victoria – a successful example of the collaborative design process.

“I will provide an overview of the original Eureka Centre prior to its redevelopment,” says McCabe, “as well as how the original architecture, structure, engineering services and functional areas were re-worked, adapted and expanded to transform it into more user-friendly space.” 

Anetta Pizag will take attendees “beyond the dashboard”, discussing how to optimise the workplace environment to maximise productivity. 

“The presentation will reach the conclusion that there are many different ways for improving health, happiness and productivity in the workplace through smart interior design,” says Pizag. “The more of these we make use of, the better the results will be.”

Other speakers at the conference will cover a broad swathe of topics around existing buildings, from complex rule-based fault-detection technology to a thorough review of Melbourne’s Council House (CH2), one of Australia’s first 6 star Green Star buildings. 

For the full conference program or to register, go to www.airah.org.au/preloved2013



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AIRAH announces groundbreaking graduate training program for mechanical engineers (18/09/2013)


AIRAH is developing a new HVAC&R training course aimed at providing graduate mechanical engineers with practical HVAC&R training in a building services environment.

The course will cover essential HVAC&R knowledge for graduates who are employed in consulting or contracting firms but have had little exposure to the HVAC&R industry before leaving university and joining the workforce.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the initiative has been driven by AIRAH’s strategic aim to “close the skills gap”, and its work around defining career paths for building services engineers.

“Our industry has been crying out for something like this for the longest time: a definitive postgraduate training course for those entering the industry,” Wilkinson says.

“So to say this initiative is one of the most exciting developments in our industry training in years is no understatement.

“Many engineers, including myself, stumble upon HVAC and refrigeration engineering almost by accident after they graduate from a university course that might only provide a basic introduction.

“Now, with AIRAH’s graduate training initiative there will be a comprehensive introduction to an industry that happens to be pivotal to our society’s health, and full of exciting career opportunities for those who work in it.”

AIRAH education manager Carolyn Hughes is the initiative’s project manager.

“Graduate mechanical engineers often have very little – if any – knowledge of our industry until they are employed in it,” she says. “The need for this course has existed for a long time, and AIRAH is now working to meet that need.”

As with AIRAH’s other graduate courses, the new course will run for approximately nine months, separated into two semesters.

The content will be delivered online, with 100 hours’ worth of topics divided into four key areas: Fundamentals; Equipment and Components; Systems; and Practice and Performance.

The first pilot topic in the Fundamentals group – the three-hour “Introduction to HVAC&R” – is set to be tested in November, with the complete course slated for April 2015.

Those interested in participating in the pilot should email carolyn@airah.org.au



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AIRAH releases DA01, the definitive design application manual for centrifugal pumps (18/09/2013)


AIRAH has released the third edition of its design application manual DA01: Centrifugal pumps. DA01 was originally published in 1979; it was updated in 1998 and again this year, to keep step with the ever-changing HVAC&R industry. 

“This edition builds on previous editions, with a new focus on optimising pump system design and installation,” says AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH. “DA01 is the most comprehensive technical resource available for Australian HVAC&R pumping applications. It is an important reference for anyone involved in the design, selection, installation, operation, maintenance, and assessment of pumps and pumping systems.”

The most recent incarnation of DA01 was assessed by the industry and edited by a review panel before publication.

“The US Department of Energy estimates that of all the energy consumed by electric motors worldwide, at least 20 per cent is used by pumps, a substantial amount of which are associated with HVAC&R installations,” says DA 01 editor Vince Aherne, M.AIRAH.

“This energy aspect of pumping systems has become a crucial focus for our industry, as clients demand energy-efficient installations and cost-effective pumping solutions.”

The main purpose of DA01 is to standardise and promote best-practice design, installation and management of centrifugal pumps. 

“DA01 aims to help improve the sustainability of centrifugal pump applications in the HVAC&R industry by addressing a range of issues, from pump selection to monitoring and maintenance,” Wilkinson says.

AIRAH’s series of design application manuals was created to assist mechanical engineering designers and maintenance engineers with their day-to-day tasks.

A review for DA09 and DA20 

AIRAH is reviewing and updating DA09: Air Conditioning Load Estimation, and DA20: Humid Tropical Air Conditioning

DA09, which is widely used within the industry and is considered one of AIRAH’s most popular manuals, was last updated in 1998. DA20 was updated in 2000. The DA reviews aim to update design information and data, include new energy-efficient technology and practices, and increase the accessibility of the manuals.

If you are interested in being involved in the review of either DA09 or DA20, email phil@airah.org.au

To order a copy of DA01, visit AIRAH’s online store at www.airah.org.au or email publications@airah.org.au for more information.



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Dr Nathan Groenhout named new AIRAH president (03/09/2013)


Dr Nathan Groenhout, M.AIRAH, has been named the new AIRAH president. 

Elected unanimously by his fellow directors at the most recent AIRAH board meeting, Groenhout takes over from Sean Treweek, M.AIRAH. Treweek, who was in the role for more than three years, will continue to serve on the Institute’s board. 

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says Groenhout’s appointment to the important role marks a new era for AIRAH and for the Institute’s governance.

“Congratulations go to Nathan, whose many contributions at board level over the past two years have seen him earn the trust and respect of his fellow board directors,” Wilkinson says.
 
“Nathan is a highly credentialed building services professional, whose attributes have already contributed greatly to AIRAH,” Wilkinson says. “His leadership skills and ability to think laterally are a good match with what’s required in the position of president. He will bring a combination of technical, strategic and business skills to the role.” 

Groenhout, a mechanical engineer by training, has spent the past 10 years working in the area of environmentally sustainable design as a researcher, academic and consultant. He has focused on the areas of occupant thermal comfort, passive design strategies for effective ventilation, and holistic sustainability. 

Groenhout is chair of AIRAH’s Environmentally Sustainable Design special technical group, and has previously served on several AIRAH conference committees. He is a managing principal at NKG Consulting. 

Groenhout says he’s excited to be at the helm of the not-for-profit Institute.

“As an organisation AIRAH is at the forefront of what’s happening in building services, and has been throughout its 90-year history,” Groenhout says. “Through its publications, conferences and seminars it is helping to lead the industry forward. I’m proud to serve as president.” 

Wilkinson thanked Treweek for his time and effort in the demanding role.

“AIRAH owes a considerable debt of gratitude to Sean Treweek for the vision, guidance and steady hand he brought to the board table,” Wilkinson says.

“Sean took on the role when the Institute was poised at a delicate stage. By working closely with management he’s helped forge a solid base from which to launch future initiatives.”

Groenhout’s presidency took effect immediately upon the board’s vote.



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AIRAH's The Future of HVAC 2013 conference a stunning success


The inaugural The Future of HVAC 2013 conference took place at the Docklands in Melbourne last week, and was a resounding success. 

Over 80 delegates attended the landmark event, which explored the changes, ideas and innovations that are driving the HVAC&R industry’s future.

“AIRAH set out to host a conference that explored the technology, ideas and research that are helping to shape our industry, and we wanted to broaden the conversation around the future of HVAC with a wider range of stakeholders” says AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH. “And that is exactly what The Future of HVAC 2013 achieved. 

“From the impact of energy markets on the Australian building sector through to the effect of climate change on design conditions, from using free cooling with data centres through to the use of BIM and phase-change materials, the conference covered an astonishing array of issues, technologies and projects that provided a glimpse into not only the future of HVAC, but also what is happening right now.”

Conference committee chair Bryon Price, M.AIRAH, says The Future of HVAC 2013 provided a smorgasbord of information for the delegates on hand to digest.

“The Future of HVAC 2013 had some ambitious aims around the type of information we wanted to convey, but it definitely achieved these,” Price says.

“Those who attended were exposed to some bold, fresh ideas and methodologies, and the questioning of old ideas. The conference looked at the big picture of HVAC and those things – whether it was developments in architecture, energy availability and markets, new technologies, government programs or HVAC research – that are affecting us all. 

“The Future of HVAC managed to achieve the elusive combination of taking a broad view and looking at the big picture, but also focusing in on the detail and data. 

“And it was great to see conference delegates and presenters from different parts of the industry discussing the issues among themselves, which is, after all, what AIRAH conferences are all about.”

Renowned architect Donald Bates and Energy Efficiency Council CEO Rob Murray-Leach keynoted the conference. 

Craig Roussac, CEO from Buildings Alive, presented a lively discussion about the trade-off between energy use and comfort and why it’s misguided.

“Ultimately, you can’t have it all,” says Roussac. “You can’t change the laws of physics – HVAC systems need to perform work in order to maintain thermal environments.

“It doesn’t follow that better, more effective HVAC services produce happier, more contented people. Once upon a time air conditioning used to give delight, but now people just expect it.” 

Professor Wasim Saman, F.AIRAH, from the University of South Australia discussed the impact of climate change on external and internal temperatures in air conditioning design.

Saman says that climate predictions show Australia can expect warmer summers and increased number and severity of heatwaves, and he went onto discuss the implications for HVAC. 

Also presenting on climate change was Dr Eric Peterson, Affil.AIRAH, from the University of Queensland. He has compiled revised Australian HVAC system design data, which is available free at www.uq.id.au/e.peterson/

Christhina Candido from the University of Sydney discussed the Building Occupants Survey System Australia (BOSSA), an indoor environment quality assessment system for Australia’s office buildings. 

“Traditionally, many decisions made during the programming or design stage of a building project are based on assumptions of how the client’s organisation functions, and how people use their spaces,” says Candido. 

“This modus operandi, relying more on ‘gut-feeling’ than evidence-based design decisions, is proving insufficient in meeting the challenge of creating sustainable buildings.”

Candido says the BOSSA project provides an Australian-developed post-occupancy evaluation instrument that is a more robust and more accessible Australian alternative to the US and UK systems in use by the NABERS and Green Star Performance rating tools.

The conference also featured a number of insights into the breadth and depth of HVAC-related research that is happening in Australia, including an innovative Research Burst presentation.

Wilkinson says all of the conference speakers addressed critical industry issues.

“It’s said the best way to predict your future is to create it,” Wilkinson says. “It was a philosophy embraced by the speakers at The Future of HVAC 2013. They are all working on facets of the industry pivotal to its future, and shared their insights with a captivated audience.”



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Just one week until AIRAH's The Future of HVAC 2013 conference


The inaugural The Future of HVAC conference will kick off at the Docklands next week, from August 13–14. 

Registrations are still open for the landmark event, which will explore the changes, ideas and innovations that are driving the industry’s future.

“There are so many things happening in HVAC and the built environment right now: new technologies such as phase-change materials, new refrigerants, new data around climate change design, and new approaches to old problems,” says AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH. “If you are interested in where your industry is headed, you really must attend The Future of HVAC 2013.”

Together with new and emerging HVAC technologies, the conference discussion will encompass developments in architecture and design, climate change adaptation, energy availability and markets, BIM and the digitisation of buildings, on-site generation, IEQ and legislative and regulatory changes, plus updates on HVAC research.

Professor Wasim Saman, F.AIRAH, from the University of South Australia, will discuss the impact of climate change on external and internal temperatures in air conditioning design.

“The values take into account the impact of climate change on outdoor conditions and anticipated thermal comfort requirements,” he says.

Saman says that climate predictions show Australia can expect warmer summers and increased number and severity of heatwaves.   

Christhina Candido from the University of Sydney will discuss the Building Occupants Survey System Australia (BOSSA), an indoor environment quality assessment system for Australia’s office buildings. 

“Traditionally, many decisions made during the programming or design stage of a building project are based on assumptions of how the client’s organisation functions, and how people use their spaces,” says Candido. 

“This modus operandi, relying more on ‘gut-feeling’ than evidence-based design decisions, is proving insufficient in meeting the challenge of creating sustainable buildings.”

Candido says the BOSSA project provides an Australian-developed post-occupancy evaluation instrument that is a more robust and more accessible Australian alternative to the US and UK systems in use by the NABERS and Green Star Performance rating tools.

Also at the conference, Solem Consulting’s Richard Keech will challenge the conventional wisdom that gas is a suitable low-emission fuel for use in sustainable buildings.

“Gas use is much more problematic from an emissions standpoint than generally believed,” says Keech. “And the economics of gas are about to fundamentally change.”

Keech’s presentation will help attendees make informed and reasonable decisions about what possible role gas may have in their future HVAC designs.

Renowned architect Donald Bates and Energy Efficiency Council CEO Rob Murray-Leach will keynote the conference. 

And Peter Brodribb from Expert Group will deliver a presentation about the recently released Cold Hard Facts 2 report.

“The Future of HVAC 2013 will explore and discuss the future of the industry,” Wilkinson says. “But because the industry is changing very rapidly, it’s about what’s happening today and tomorrow as much as in the years ahead.”

To find out more about the conference, or to register, go to www.airah.org.au/TheFutureofHVAC



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AIRAH's The Future of HVAC 2013 conference to investigate ideas and innovations (29/07/2013)


AIRAH's The Future of HVAC conference, to be held at Docklands, Melbourne, on August 13–14, will investigate the changes, ideas and innovations that are helping to shape the HVAC&R industry, and therefore the built environment. 

“We are in a dynamic industry in a rapidly changing world,” says committee chair Bryon Price, M.AIRAH. “You need to come along to The Future of HVAC 2013, and get a glimpse of what’s in store for you.”

Renowned architect Donald Bates and Energy Efficiency Council CEO Rob Murray-Leach will keynote the conference.

On offer in the program is a diverse raft of topics, touching on everything from climate change to phase change, from BIM to integrated design and indoor environment quality.

For instance, presenter Craig Roussac will pose the question, “When is too much of good thing too much?”

Roussac, who is CEO of Buildings Alive, will discuss the trade-off between energy use and comfort, and why the concept is misguided.

“Ultimately, you can’t have it all,” Roussac says. “You can’t change the laws of physics; HVAC systems need to perform work in order to maintain thermal environments.

“It doesn’t follow that better, more effective HVAC services produce happier, more contented people. Once upon a time air conditioning used to give delight, but now people just expect it.” 

Roussac says we need to think carefully about what the HVAC industry is trying to achieve. 

“If we want to make people happier and more comfortable,” he says, “more tightly controlled thermal environments may not be the way to achieve it.”

Also at The Future of HVAC 2013, Digital Realty’s Damien Spillane, M.AIRAH, will discuss the advantages of cooling data centres with “free” air. 

“My presentation is about the evolution of cooling within the data centre environment, and how this ongoing change has allowed innovation and highly efficient solutions to be delivered in mission-critical facilities,” Spillane says. 

“Whether you are aware of it or not, we are all significant data centre users and customers. After all, the internet has to have physical incarnation. As our dependence on technology increases, the importance of these facilities becomes paramount so understanding the characteristics and drivers around data centres is a vital attribute for all engineers, contractors and owners.” 

Mark Waring, M.AIRAH, will present “Experiences in using a phase-change material in a chilled-water system upgrade”.

Waring’s presentation will look at the use of phase-change material (PCM) at the University of Western Sydney’s (UWS) Campbelltown Campus. When the university sought to extend one of its buildings, it encountered an issue with the available power supply.  

After considering options, the university upgraded its chillers (600kW), and used a thermal storage system (560kWh) that incorporated PCM to supplement the capacity of the chilled-water system by 70kW at peak load. 

Waring’s presentation will look at the experiences with the installation and early operation of the new chilled-water system and the PCM.

Price says that the variety of topics on offer from Spillane, Roussac and Waring is typical of the eclectic program to be presented at The Future of HVAC 2013.

“The conference speakers share a common theme of exploring the future of the industry,” Price says. “And the variety of speakers and their topics represents the diversity inherent in HVAC and its applications.” 

To find out more about the conference, or to register, go to www.airah.org.au/TheFutureofHVAC


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AIRAH releases Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide (05/07/2013)


AIRAH, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, has released its Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide. The guide – which was developed by independent organisations and stakeholders, and is thought to be the first of its kind in Australia – comprehensively covers the management of health and safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that the use of flammable low-global-warming-potential (low-GWP) synthetic and hydrocarbon refrigerants will grow due to increasing concerns around high-GWP synthetic greenhouse gases (SGGs).

Yet Wilkinson says that until now there has been little guidance around the safety risks associated with flammable refrigerants and the equipment that uses them.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that the HVAC&R industry has a clear outline of what is safe and unsafe practice when using flammable refrigerants,” Wilkinson says. “With the increased cost of HFCs, and growing interest in the use of low-GWP refrigerants, the use of alternative – and more flammable – refrigerants will be more common. This increased use of flammable refrigerants represents a significant change for the industry and its workers.

“Many HVAC&R workers are accustomed to working with the non-flammable, non-toxic refrigerants that were widely used in the past,” says Wilkinson. “We need to ensure that, as the use of alternative refrigerants picks up, our industry is properly equipped to work safely, efficiently and professionally with any refrigerant they encounter. And that’s where the Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide has a crucial role to play.”

Wilkinson says AIRAH’s Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide covers the health and safety risks involved in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, conversion, commissioning, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, dismantling and disposal of HVAC&R equipment and systems that contain a flammable refrigerant.

“All refrigerants are dangerous if misused or applied incorrectly,” Wilkinson says. “While having less impact on the environment, flammable refrigerants combust much more readily than the refrigerants traditionally used. Flammables are being used more and more in Australia, and our industry needs to know how to work safely with these refrigerants. The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide will provide guidance across a range of areas where workers or end-users come into contact with flammable refrigerant.”

In Australia, flammable refrigerants are already used in domestic refrigerators, small integral commercial cabinets, fluid chillers and industrial refrigeration. Their use is expected to continue to grow in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications, as well as in commercial and residential air conditioning.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants, a common flammable alternative to SGGs, are broadly available in Australia. Various flammable synthetic fluorocarbon refrigerants are also available, or are expected to be available in the near future.

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide specifically applies to all stationary (while in use) refrigerating systems of all sizes, including air conditioners and heat pumps that are to be charged with flammable refrigerants with a refrigerant classification of A2 or A3, or any other refrigerant that meets the criteria to be classified as an A2 or A3 refrigerant.

The guide does not cover non-stationary (while in use) applications of flammable refrigerants such as in-vehicle air conditioning (cars, trucks, busses, trains, boats, aircraft) or transport refrigeration (road, rail, air, marine).

The Flammable Refrigerants Safety Guide is available to download FREE from the “Technical Resources” section of www.airah.org.au

AIRAH acknowledges support received from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) in developing the safety guide.

A taskforce of 25 individuals worked on the guide, led by taskforce chair Kevin Lee, M.AIRAH.

The following organisations were represented on the taskforce: AREMA, AIRAH, ARWA, AFAC, CCCA, Department of Natural Resources and Mines (Queensland), DSEWPaC, E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, ERAC, Fire and Rescue NSW, GTRC, IRHACE, QFRS, RWTA, Standards New Zealand, TAFE NSW, Workcover NSW, Work Health and Safety Queensland, WorkSafe Victoria.


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Donald Bates to keynote The Future of HVAC 2013 conference (03/07/2013)


Renowned architect Donald Bates will be a keynote speaker at AIRAH’s The Future of HVAC 2013 conference, which will take place in Melbourne from August 13–14.

The founder of LAB Architecture, Bates was one of the key designers behind Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square project, which features a 1.4km thermal labyrinth beneath it, a forward-thinking environmentally sustainable design feature that has helped the project lower its energy costs.

Chair of Architectural Design at the University of Melbourne, Bates has expertise in conceptual design and in providing concept and design leadership within a project team.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that securing Bates as a keynote for the event is congruent with the conference’s aim of discussing the key issues driving the industry’s future.

“It’s fantastic that Donald Bates, an architect who has forged a global reputation for design leadership, will be a keynote speaker at The Future of HVAC 2013,” Wilkinson says.

“Federation Square was a project ahead of its time, so having someone intimately involved with its conception and development available to discuss the initiative is so appropriate for a conference dealing with our industry’s future drivers.”

Among other topics, Bates will discuss how the thermal labyrinth works, why it was implemented, and how it’s performing.

“Unlike many ESD projects ... the systems at Federation Square are all about being integrated and embedded in the design and architecture,” Bates says.

Also appearing as a keynote speaker at the conference is Energy Efficiency Council CEO Rob Murray-Leach.

Conference committee chair Bryon Price, M.AIRAH, says The Future of HVAC 2013 will offer a useful glimpse at issues the industry is facing.

“The Future of HVAC 2013 explores the changes, ideas and innovations that are driving the industry’s future,” Price says.

“Together with new and emerging HVAC technologies, the discussion will encompass developments in architecture and design, climate change adaptation, energy availability and markets, BIM and the digitisation of buildings, on-site generation, IEQ and legislative and regulatory changes, plus updates on HVAC research.”

To find out more about the conference, or to register, go to www.airah.org.au/TheFutureofHVAC





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AIRAH offers accreditation for energy auditors (05/06/2013)


AIRAH manages a national register of accredited energy auditors, who have the capacity to undertake energy audits and develop energy-management systems.

Applications are open right now to become an AIRAH-accredited energy auditor.

AIRAH chief operating officer Neil Cox says that energy auditors perform a vital role, and one whose importance will only increase.

“We live in age of spiralling utility costs and an acute awareness of the role power generation plays in elevating carbon emissions,” Cox says.

“It makes a lot of sense, therefore, for firms to strongly consider bringing in an energy auditor – a professional who is capable of detecting and explaining exactly how energy is being consumed in a commercial or industrial business.

“And because of the keen understanding that Australian companies now have of the relationship between errant energy use, growing costs and elevating emissions, becoming an AIRAH-accredited energy auditor offers a business opportunity where there are potentially thousands of commercial and industrial clients waiting to be helped.”  

AIRAH education manager Carolyn Hughes says AIRAH-accredited energy auditors have demonstrated their competency in delivering Level 3 energy audits as defined in the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3598 (2000): Energy Audits. 

“A rigorous peer review process and reference process is undertaken to establish the competence of AIRAH-accredited energy auditors,” Hughes says, adding that auditors are reassessed for their currency in the market every two years.

For more information about becoming an AIRAH-accredited energy auditor, go to Resources/Find a Specialist at www.airah.org.au or email Effie at effie@airah.org.au


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Nominate now for the prestigious AIRAH Awards 2013 (24/05/2013)


Nominations have opened for the AIRAH Awards 2013. 

Following a record number of nominations last year, AIRAH is looking forward to recognising the industry’s best for another year, with the 2013 AIRAH Awards. 

“AIRAH unveiled its revised AIRAH Awards, with clearer and more comprehensive categories and a simplified nomination process – all developed to better fit the industry and the Institute,” says AIRAH chief operating officer Neil Cox. “This led to a record number of nominations, which we hope to surmount again this year.”

The annual AIRAH Awards presentation has a proud history of recognising excellence and outstanding achievement within the industry. On October 31, that tradition will continue. 

“AIRAH has created a set of plaudits that recognises the most outstanding individuals, companies, research and products across the diverse specialist fields that make up the HVAC&R industry,” says Cox. 

The 2013 AIRAH Awards are open to individuals, companies, corporate bodies, institutions and government authorities, and recognise work carried out during 2012. The Awards Presentation Dinner to be held October 31 in Brisbane.

AIRAH board director Bryon Price, M.AIRAH, says industry recognition such as the AIRAH Awards promotes consistent improvement in best-practice standards across the HVAC&R industry.

“Last year’s awards showcased the industry’s best, and we hope that through continuing to recognise  excellence, we encourage the wider industry to strive for high standards of achievement,” he says.

Awards open for nomination are the:
  • James Harrison Medal, the highest honour AIRAH can bestow upon an individual; 
  • Future Leader award, recognising emerging leaders in any facet of the HVAC&R industry; 
  • Student of the Year award, recognises outstanding scholarship at any level in the HVAC&R industry; 
  • Best HVAC&R Retrofit or Upgrade award, recognising excellence in the retrofit or upgrade of an HVAC&R system, and can address the complete delivery of projects; 
  • Denis Joseph Award for Innovative Use of Solar Energy in HVAC&R, recognising Australian initiatives that through the innovative use of solar energy significantly improve the performance of HVAC&R systems; 
  • Excellence in Sustainability award, which recognises Australian initiatives that have made clear improvements in the sustainability of HVAC&R systems or the HVAC&R industry; 
  • Excellence in Innovation award, which recognises substantial Australian improvements in the areas of HVAC&R achieved through innovation. This can include new or significantly enhanced products; or new or significantly improved systems, plant and equipment, or processes; 
  • Excellence in HVAC&R Research, which recognises outstanding achievements in Australian research, leading to potential future improvements in these technologies; and the
  • W.R. Ahern award, which is awarded annually and recognises the best technical paper by an AIRAH member published in Ecolibrium in the preceding year. Nominations are not required in this category.

AIRAH Awards key dates
May 22 Nominations open
July 17 Intention to nominate closing date 
September 6 Entries close
October 31 Awards presentation dinner

2013 AIRAH Awards Presentation Dinner
What:  AIRAH Awards Presentation Dinner 2013
When: 7pm, Thursday, October 31, 2013
Where: Moda Events Portside, Brisbane
Cost: $160, tables of 10: $1,500

For more information or nomination forms, go to www.airah.org.au
To book a table email martine@airah.org.au

Event sponsor
NABERS

Awards sponsors
Air Change
Kingspan
Scantec
Heatcraft



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AIRAH's Sydney PreLoved Buildings Conference calls for abstracts (15/05/2013)


The latest in the series of AIRAH PreLoved Buildings conferences will be held in Sydney, from November 13–14.  

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says that bringing the existing building stock in Australia up to speed is equally as important as the focus on new high-performing structures.

It’s this imperative that’s inspired the conference’s tagline of “Preloved buildings reloved”.

"We all know that existing buildings comprise the lion's share of the energy and emissions consumption in the built environment, that most of our initiatives have short pay-back periods, and improve the lot of building owners and tenants alike,” Wilkinson says. “Why then is it so hard for building upgrade projects to get funded and get off the ground? 

“This year's PreLoved Buildings Conference will focus on talking the talk as well as walking the walk: how to communicate effectively, how to be heard, how to build effective relationships – with both your buildings and the people who own them – and how to show real value.” 

PreLoved Buildings Conference committee chair Paul Davy, M.AIRAH, says that abstracts are welcome on a range of topics.

“In general, abstracts that encourage interaction with the audience are encouraged,” Davy says. “We are looking for a higher percentage of workshops, panel sessions or other more innovative ways of including everybody's views and experiences in the conference. Horror story case studies are encouraged – not just success stories.”

Abstracts are welcome but not limited to on an array of subjects, including:

  • Case studies of Grade B, C or D commercial buildings, data centres, healthcare facilities, aged care/retirement living facilities.
  • Case studies of upgrades requiring attention to the building fabric and facades, perhaps dictated by a requirement to comply with Part J of the NCC.
  • Building owner and building manager perspectives – what works, what doesn't. What do building owners and building managers want from their buildings and consultants? What work do they value? 
  • How practitioners can build a business case for improvement initiatives; how to communicate/market; how to make it happen. 
  • Securing project financing, and how the works can impact on a building's value. 

“Students and recent graduates are encouraged to present and provide new solutions to the old problems, to bring a fresh perspective,” Davy says. 

The Sydney 2013 PreLoved Buildings Conference is the seventh in a series of highly successful AIRAH conferences, with previous iterations held in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, as well as previously in the New South Wales capital.
 
By submitting an abstract, delegates are agreeing to submit a technical paper. AIRAH non-members chosen to present at the conference will be charged a small fee.

Abstracts are due July 26. For more information about the Sydney 2013 PreLoved Buildings Conference, email kristy@airah.org.au or go to www.airah.org.au/Preloved2013


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AIRAH is closing the skills gap for building services and refrigeration engineers (14/05/2013)


AIRAH, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, is executing pivotal work around creating career pathways for engineers working in building services and refrigeration.

Following AIRAH’s discussions and research with the HVAC&R industry, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will – as of May 14 – officially recognise “building services engineer” as a discrete occupation. The announcement coincides with the release of AIRAH’s Building Services Engineer (mechanical) – model career pathway.

AIRAH is also conducting research around the feasibility of the profession “refrigeration engineer” being recognised as a discrete occupation by the ABS.   

The ABS says Building Services Engineer will be listed as a specialisation under 233512 Mechanical Engineer in the release of ANZSCO Version 1.2, slated for May 14.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the announcement from the ABS is the culmination of considerable work around developing a model career pathway for mechanical building services engineers. The work, Wilkinson says, was inspired by AIRAH's “closing the skills gap” strategic aim.

“The term ‘mechanical engineer’ is a broad description that covers roles beyond the HVAC industry, whereas ‘building services engineer’ more specifically refers to mechanical services such as air conditioning, heating and ventilation,” Wilkinson explains.

AIRAH’s Building Services Engineer (mechanical) – model career pathway is now available from the “Careers resources” tab of www.airah.org.au

“The model career pathway defines job titles, roles, tasks, skills and knowledge requirements of mechanical engineers working in the building services sector,” Wilkinson says. “The development of the model career pathway is part of a process to help identify skills gaps in the HVAC&R sector in Australia.”

The pathway as its defined progresses through four stages: Level 1, the graduate mechanical engineer or engineering officer level; Level 2, mechanical engineer; Level 3, senior mechanical engineer; to Level 4, principal engineer.

The career pathway offers recommended tasks, as well as knowledge and skill requirements for each job title.

Also inspired by its strategic aim to close skills gaps, AIRAH is defining the skills and knowledge requirements of refrigeration engineers by requesting those who work in the profession to complete a 20-minute survey. 

“The definitions will be used to examine the feasibility of formally recognising ‘refrigeration engineer’ as a discreet occupation, and its roles and tasks at different levels,” Wilkinson says.

AIRAH interviewed a sample of members to examine their job titles, roles, tasks, skills, knowledge and educational experiences. Four distinct roles were identified: “applications engineer”, “refrigeration engineer”, “senior refrigeration engineer”, and “principal refrigeration engineer”.

The survey can be accessed via http://tiny.cc/1210vw



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AIRAH launches Solar Cooling Special Technical Group (13/05/2013)


AIRAH (the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating) has launched its Solar Cooling Special Technical Group.

AIRAH’s special technical groups (STGs) provide a way of channelling specialist expertise from the wider industry into the Institute. They give their constituents – who are all AIRAH members as well as elite practitioners – a platform for involvement in issues that affect their discipline, including policy advice and regulation development.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the aims of the AIRAH Solar Cooling STG are to advocate for solar cooling, to develop industry practitioner skills, to provide a hub for solar cooling information sharing, and to encourage better communication between stakeholders.

“As the sun beats down and air conditioners are turned up, what could be more logical than solar air conditioning? And with enthusiasm for solving Australia’s electricity grid issues, solar air conditioning could be one of the HVAC industry’s answers to reducing both greenhouse gas issues and electricity infrastructure costs,” Wilkinson says. 

“So by developing skills and capacity in the use of solar cooling technology, the AIRAH Solar Cooling Special Technical Group will help enable the HVAC industry to access new business opportunities in the renewable energy industry.”

Dr Stephen White, M.AIRAH, from CSIRO Energy Technology, says the AIRAH Solar Cooling STG will address barriers to the development of a vibrant solar air conditioning industry across Australia. He says the STG has a number of tasks it will implement in order to achieve its goal of growing skills and capacity building.

These initiatives include developing a comprehensive web portal; holding a regular conference to share information and recognise project excellence; delivering quality solar cooling training; preparing an industry roadmap; submitting responses to government public consultation processes; contributing to solar cooling standard development; and supporting AIRAH’s Dennis Joseph Award for the innovative use of solar energy in HVAC&R.

“The AIRAH Solar Cooling Special Technical Group will develop a work plan to promote a level playing field for HVAC-based solutions in the renewable industry,” White says. “The STG will also disseminate the latest technical information on solar cooling – taking advantage of standards, guides and tools.”

White says Australia is one of the leading countries in the race to develop new solar air conditioning solutions.

“Solar cooling involves the transformation of solar energy into useful building air conditioning,” White says. “In terms of reducing emissions and lower energy costs, it makes a lot of sense. 

“Now with the AIRAH Solar Cooling STG, the discipline will have some much needed structure, and the support of Australia’s most respected HVAC&R organisation, in order to help take solar cooling to the next level.” 

For information about joining AIRAH’s Solar Cooling STG, email phil@airah.org.au



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AIRAH's Building Simulation Workshop a stunning success (07/05/2013)


Almost 70 delegates gathered recently in Melbourne for the AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop, with the aim of discussing all things relating to the discipline of building simulation, including best practice, legislation, accreditation, and modelling protocols.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the Workshop achieved its aim of bringing practitioners together in an instructive and informative forum.

“The AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop was about education and discussing the issues,” Wilkinson says. “The aim was to advance the status and quality of the industry’s use of simulation; the workshop definitely laid down some very positive groundwork to that end.”

AIRAH’s gathering of simulators followed on from Building Simulation 2011 held in Sydney, which proved there was considerable demand for more information about the field. 

AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop committee chair Paul Bannister, M.AIRAH, says a lack of skills among professionals has created some continuing challenges for the industry.

“The use of computer simulation of building performance has become embedded in many of the industry’s standard processes, including the BCA, NABERS and Green Star. And yet for many, this has been a recent development,” he says. 

“There are significant skills gaps in the industry that lead to sub-optimal – and sometimes substandard – work being produced." 

A desire to close those skills gaps was one of the motivations behind the Workshop, which called together dynamic thermal simulation users and their managers, offering the opportunity to discuss some of the key questions facing the industry and how it uses simulation.

The Workshop explored the harmonisation of Code and Standards requirements, and how to improve accuracy of modellers, as well as quality control and client perception. Presenters also discussed the role of simulation in ESD consulting, and the science behind simulation, calibration, measurement and verification.

During the final session for the day, Workshop attendees weighed in on the topic of accreditation, teaching and quality assurance. The panel discussion format opened the floor to the audience, allowing delegates to speculate on the best way forward for modellers and the simulation industry in general.

The Workshop’s keynote speech, “Australian climate data for building energy simulation” was delivered by Ben Liley from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. Liley spoke about the work he’s been doing to update the Australian Climate Data Bank files for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’s NatHERS scheme.

Liley says energy-efficient design needs to be sensitive to the wide variation in climate across Australia, and building simulation has a pivotal role to play in this area.

“The ability to simulate the climate inside buildings – from design information and data to characterise the external climate – means that air conditioning and heating systems can be optimised, rather than just designed for what may be a highly improbable combination of extremes,” he says. “Better informed designs can save both cost and environmental footprint.”

The AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop was supported by IBPSA (The International Building Performance Simulation Association).


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AIRAH announces PRIME Roadmap for low-emissions HVAC&R (09/04/2013)


The AIRAH Industry Summit 2013 held late last month in Melbourne brought together more than 30 key stakeholders to discuss the way forward to a low-emissions HVAC&R industry. A key announcement was the launch of the proposed PRIME Roadmap for HVAC&R.


In the lead-up to the AIRAH Industry Summit 2013, AIRAH, with the assistance of many of the stakeholders who attended, developed a 150-page draft discussion paper.


AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says this process led to a far more important development: that of the proposed PRIME Roadmap for HVAC&R. 


“PRIME represents the five pathways to transition,” Wilkinson says. “All proposed solutions from the discussion paper have been divided into five categories: Professionalism, Regulation, Information, Measurement, and Emission abatement.


“In many ways the HVAC&R industry is still fragmented, which makes progress towards lower emissions that much more challenging. What’s required is a strategy, and that’s where PRIME comes in.”


In the lead-up to the AIRAH Industry Summit 2013, industry stakeholders were asked to comment on the issues raised in the discussion paper, and to focus on potential solutions. These solutions were then allocated into the five PRIME subject areas. They were further divided by priority, complexity, potential for emission reduction, and resources that might be contributed.


Using this data, AIRAH will develop a draft of the PRIME Roadmap. Industry will then be asked to consider the best mechanisms for driving the program forward.


“Through the Summit, the HVAC&R industry came together, and now there is a groundswell of support for the pillars underpinning the proposed PRIME roadmap for HVAC&R,” Wilkinson says. “Our vision is for a highly skilled and professional Australian HVAC&R industry that is safe, cost-effective and environmentally effective.”


Wilkinson says consolidating a multitude of viewpoints and bringing the industry together to discuss it represents a formidable task.


“The need to transition to low-emission HVAC&R has become self-evident,” Wilkinson says. “So the purpose of the AIRAH Industry Summit 2013 was not to discuss ‘why’, but rather to focus on the ‘how’ and ‘what’ of low emissions. That’s what the Summit was all about, and making it happen represented a landmark piece of work.”


The Summit was chaired by AIRAH board director Bryon Price, M.AIRAH.


“Our industry has influence and control over a significant component of mankind’s impact on the Earth via emissions and carbon usage,” Price says. 


“We have the responsibility and capacity to do something about this. But we also have the responsibility to plan for an HVAC&R industry that is productive and prosperous. We think PRIME could be pivotal component in accomplishing this.”



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AIRAH announces comprehensive conference program for 2013 (03/04/2013)


AIRAH has announced its conference program for 2013: four major events to be held across the country from April to November.

The four conferences are the AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop, to be held in Melbourne on April 18; Refrigeration 2013, scheduled for Hobart on May 10; The Future of HVAC 2013, which will take place in Melbourne over August 13–14, and the PreLoved Buildings Conference, which is slated to be held in Sydney from November 13–14.  


AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the conference program represents a solid schedule of four events designed to appeal to the Institute’s wide stakeholder base.


“Hosting conferences is an absolutely essential component of AIRAH’s activities,” Wilkinson says. “They bring together like minds to discuss industry best practice and cutting-edge issues, and provide an opportunity for AIRAH’s broad membership to gather and network.


“AIRAH is leading the way in professionalising the industry, closing the skills gaps and dedicating considerable resources to running events. We are also the leading provider of continuing professional development in our field, and our conference program dovetails nicely with this to offer a wide range of learning opportunities.”


To be held at the Mercure Melbourne later this month, the AIRAH Building Simulation Workshop (supported by the International Building Performance Simulation Association) aims to fill the skills gaps that exist within the field of building simulation.


Registrations have opened for the conference, which will feature presentations on a range of subjects, including: the use and abuse of simulation; simulation, calibration, measurement and verification; and a harmonisation update.

Registrations have also opened for Refrigeration 2013 – embracing the challenges and opportunities, taking place in Hobart next month.


Conference committee chair Stefan Jensen, F.AIRAH, says there are many topics that need to be fleshed out in detail, and that Refrigeration 2013 – embracing the challenges and opportunities provides the opportunity to do this.

“We’re talking about a conference that is absolutely necessary to have right now,” Jensen says. “And if you work in the refrigeration industry, it’s absolutely important for you to attend.”


The impetus to hold The Future of HVAC 2013 conference is to provide analysis of those things – everything from technology and materials through to legislative and regulatory changes – that will affect the HVAC industry in the near future.


“We are aiming to have a conference that offers a useful glimpse at the future of HVAC by looking at the things that are driving change, because these drive the future,” says conference committee chair Bryon Price, M.AIRAH. 

Abstracts for The Future of HVAC 2013 are due April 26.


The latest in a successful series, AIRAH’s PreLoved Buildings Conference will take place at Doltone House in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont.


“One of AIRAH’s most successful and recognisable conference series, the PreLoved Bu
ildings conferences focus on optimising the performance of Australia’s existing building stock,” Wilkinson says.

For more about AIRAH’s 2013 conferences, go to the “Events” tab of www.airah.org.au

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AIRAH releases draft Code of Practice for Flammable Refrigerants for comment (28/03/2103)


AIRAH has released its draft Code of Practice for Flammable Refrigerants to review stage. The draft is available at www.airah.org.au until April 14, and feedback from industry stakeholders is strongly encouraged.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the rising popularity of flammable refrigerants demands a national, over-arching set of guidelines. He says AIRAH aims for the Code to achieve the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the Work, Health and Safety Act and the Work, Health and Safety Regulations.

“Whether you’re talking about hydrocarbons or synthetic refrigerants, the rise in the use of flammable refrigerants is inevitable,” Wilkinson says. “And because of the flammable nature of these substances, regulations concerning them have existed at state level. The Code of Practice for Flammable Refrigerants brings these all together in the one useful document. It’s all about safety.”

AIRAH coordinated the formation of the industry taskforce that developed the Code of Practice. Formed in February last year, the taskforce represents a range of government and industry bodies, including gas, electrical and workplace regulators; fire services; wholesalers; manufacturers; associations; educators; consultants; and maintenance contractors.

Wilkinson says the Code is aimed at industry end users, installation and maintenance/service contractors, and consultants.

“The Code of Practice for Flammable Refrigerants concerns managing the health and safety risks associated with the safe design, manufacture, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, decommissioning and disposal of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems that use a flammable refrigerant,” Wilkinson says. “If the Code of Practice is approved, it will be a practical guide to achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under both the Act and the Regulations.”

Co-funding to develop the Code was provided by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The Code specifically applies to all stationary refrigerating systems of all sizes – including air conditioners and heat pumps – which are to be charged with flammable refrigerants that have a refrigerant classification of A2, A2L or A3, or any other refrigerant that meets the criteria to be classified as A2, A2L or A3 refrigerant.

The draft Code is now available for review at the “useful documents” section of www.airah.org.au.

The Code of Practice for Flammable Refrigerants is slated for release in the second half of the year. 

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AIRAH releases ground-breaking discussion paper for review (24/01/2013)


AIRAH has released its draft discussion paper, Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions, for public and industry review.

The paper is available at the “Resources” section of the AIRAH website, www.airah.org.au, with comments due by 5pm, Friday February 8.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the paper was prepared to facilitate industry discussions about the steps that need to be taken to help transition the Australian heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry to a low-emission future.

Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions represents the HVAC&R industry’s most ambitious project in years,” Wilkinson says.

“The discussion paper’s purpose is to canvass industry stakeholders and help build consensus on the best ways to help the industry make the transition to low-emission practices and technology.

“This discussion paper will form the basis of an industry summit to be held to consider the key issues, solutions and actions that need to be taken to make that transition.”

Wilkinson says that given the national and international concern regarding carbon dioxide emissions and the resulting atmospheric effects, there is growing regulatory, financial and community pressure for the HVAC&R industry to reduce its environmental impact and increase its efficiency.

“The industry needs to make this transition to low-emission practices and technologies because governments are demanding it, the environment needs it, and society is expecting it,” Wilkinson says. “The sector is a substantial consumer of energy and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The HVAC&R sector is responsible for a considerable portion of Australian national emissions.”

Wilkinson says the following estimates have been made:

  • 24 per cent of Australia’s emissions are directly attributable to the built environment in which HVAC&R is a significant consumer (30 to 50 per cent);
  • 3–5 per cent of Australian emissions are directly attributable to the refrigeration cold chain; and
  • 1–3 per cent of Australian direct emissions are attributable to direct refrigerant emissions.

“The purpose of this discussion paper is not to immediately solve all of the issues faced by the industry or to mandate the essential steps that the industry must take to be environmentally and commercially effective,” Wilkinson says.

“Rather, Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions provides industry stakeholders with a mechanism within which they can identify the main issues faced by their sector, share ideas and suggest some solutions that can be implemented to address those issues.”

Feedback and comment about the discussion paper will be compiled and considered for incorporation into a final discussion paper. This will be used to frame discussion at the AIRAH Industry Summit 2013, an invitation-only event for HVAC&R stakeholders to be held in Melbourne on March 27.

The discussion paper evolved out the AIRAH Industry Summit 2012, held last March in the lead-up to the carbon-equivalent levy on certain refrigerants known as synthetic greenhouse gases. The levy was introduced as part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package on July 1 last year.


The AIRAH Industry Summit 2012 brought together 30 key stakeholders and representatives from government and industry organisations to discuss implications arising from the carbon tax and the levy.

A communiqué was distilled from the summit’s conversations. This called on the government to take a number of urgent actions, including a call for more funding, awareness-raising and the formation of an interdepartmental committee.

Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions and the AIRAH Industry Summit 2013 are intended to help provide strategic direction for the industry’s future.

AIRAH Fellow Stefan Jensen, F.AIRAH, who serves on the steering committee for the discussion paper and is committee chair for AIRAH’s coming Refrigeration 2013 conference, says the importance of the discussion paper should not be underestimated. 

“If the industry can manage to implement the changes discussed in Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions over the next decade,” Jensen says, “it will represent the most significant shift in industry attitudes since the Montreal Protocol.”

For a link to the discussion paper, click here

 

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