Monday, October 18, 2021

AIRAH is delighted to name Paul Bannister, F.AIRAH, as the 2021 winner of the James Harrison Medal. 

“Paul has dedicated his career to improving energy efficiency in buildings, especially energy related to HVAC,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “In recognition of notable achievements in the Australian HVAC&R industry, the James Harrison Medal is the highest honour AIRAH can bestow upon an individual. Dr Bannister is certainly a worthy winner in 2021.”

Among his many achievements, Bannister was heavily involved in the development of the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating System, which evolved to become NABERS; established Exergy, a high-profile energy management consultancy; and was lead developer of the 2019 update of Section J (Energy Efficiency) of the Australian Building Code. He currently serves as director of innovation at DeltaQ.

“It's a great honour and genuinely quite out of the blue,” Bannister says of winning AIRAH’s highest honour. “It is really nice to get recognition for what I hope has been a significant and positive input to the industry throughout my career. I have always been very driven by the desire to contribute positively to society and the environment – a bit of a perfectionist streak, I dare say. Receiving this honour is a validation that others think that I've done good.”

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Bannister completed his primary and early secondary education in central Scotland before concluding secondary education in Dunedin, New Zealand. Then followed a five-year maths and physics double honours degree at the University of Otago.  

His relationship with Australia started in 1988 when Bannister moved to Canberra to do his PhD on solar thermal power at the ANU. The choice of topic reflected a gradual drift towards the more practical end of physics, from astronomy and astrophysics towards more hands-on work.

Bannister cites the success of NABERS and the rewrite of Section J for NCC2019 as career highlights. A third highlight is the opportunity to “train, work with and learn from scores of great people” at the various companies with which Bannister has been involved.

“I am incredibly lucky that I have been able to make a career out of something I feel passionate about: making the world a better place,” Bannister says. “This passion has kept me going through thick and thin, and continues to be the thing that keeps me coming back for more.”

Bannister will accept the honour at the AIRAH Awards 2021 ceremony slated for February 17, 2022, in Sydney.

For more information about the 2021 AIRAH Awards, go to www.airah.org.au/AIRAH_Awards