PRIME stakeholders information



Informing government regulation, policy, programs and research is an important element of the PRIME approach. Low emission HVAC&R can improve Australian productivity and competitiveness in international markets, as well as reduce emissions and improve sustainability at home and globally.

The Australian government has already formally committed to reducing national emissions; 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 and 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. as a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement the Australian Government has committed to a global transition to net-zero emissions around 2050. All levels of government in Australia have also committed to improving the energy productivity and sustainability of buildings and cities.

The operation of refrigeration and air conditioning systems consumes about 22 per cent of all the electricity generated in Australia, and is responsible for more than 11 per cent of Australian total national emissions (Cold Hard Fact 2, 2013). Indirect emissions from HVAC&R typically represent 90 per cent or more of total emissions so it is clear that the energy consumption of heating ventilation air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) has a significant impact on national Australian emission levels and must form part of the emission reduction solution.

PRIME is fundamentally about reducing the direct and indirect emissions arising from the HVAC&R sector, it is a conduit for emission reduction proposals and projects from grassroots and throughout all sectors of the industry.

PRIME offers government a willing and constructive forum in which to collaborate with the HVAC&R industry in the development of emission responsive government policies and strategies that will help build and deliver long-term practical emission reduction opportunities.

The HVAC&R industry is diverse and fractured one with many stakeholders and many cohorts. PRIME offers Government a single point of contact for all of the various industry stakeholders.

PRIME advocates that regulations requiring measurement, benchmarking and disclosure of building and refrigeration infrastructure energy use are essential to drive change. The absence of this information in the market is a major barrier to change. PRIME wants to work with government to help develop the tools and data required to expand the existing commercial building mandatory energy disclosure program to include more buildings and other refrigeration infrastructure such as the cold chain, in health care and to support information and communications technology (ICT).

Industry associations  

PRIME offers the industry, through the various participating industry associations and organisations, the opportunity to demonstrate influence and leadership and contribute to a strategic industry-wide plan for change.

An alignment of priorities and a collaboration of effort and resources will see the industry achieve successes that could not be achieved through each entity working on its own or in silos.
PRIME offers Industry associations a transparent and open platform from which to address those issues that are best addressed with a whole-of-industry approach. PRIME improves coordination and removes duplication of effort.

One of the major challenges facing the industry is the low general awareness that the general population, other industry sectors, and governments have regarding the importance and contribution of the HVAC&R industry to the general Australian economy.

PRIME plans to pool industry communications resources nationally, regionally and internationally and develop strategies to raise awareness of the value and importance of the industry, for the public, government and to help attract industry entrants from school, TAFE, university or other industry sectors.

PRIME hopes to help the HVAC&R industry stakeholders to agree, develop and deliver a roadmap to help transition the industry, and its end users, to a low-emissions future. PRIME will help to identify items of priority and direction setting for the industry as a whole, not simply sectoral or vested interests.


Professionalism and Information are the two main aspects of PRIME most relevant to the professional engineering sector. PRIME offers engineers and other stakeholders a forum within which to discuss the essential elements of a nationally mandated professional registration system for engineers operating in the building HVAC, building performance and refrigeration sectors.

PRIME could facilitate the development of a single agreed proposal for the professional registration of building services and refrigeration engineers and industry agreed minimum continuing professional development requirements.

PRIME would identify lists of potential low-emission Continuing Professional development topics/materials to communicate key messages and low-emission information for professional engineers, architects, cold chain stakeholders, etc.

PRIME will engage with the tertiary education stakeholders with a long-term plan of developing an Australian degree or master of engineering course for Building Services Engineering and Refrigeration Engineering. PRIME also wants to ensure that associated engineering and sciences degree courses have an appropriate coverage of HVAC&R, emissions implication, and emission reduction strategies.

PRIME will raise the awareness of the HVAC&R industry as a whole and this includes raising the status of a range of roles that engineering professionals currently fulfil in the industry.
PRIME is also interested in developing and promoting tools to help integrate (or re-integrate) the design and installation processes, to help connect designers with end user experience, e.g. commissioning, BIM, big data rating systems for refrigeration infrastructure performance.

Equipment manufacturers and suppliers

PRIME offers equipment manufacturers and suppliers a forum in which to develop the technical information that industry participants need to make the transition to low-emission technologies and practices, e.g. low GWP refrigerants, high efficiency refrigeration and air conditioning plant and equipment, monitoring and benchmarking possibilities, as well as automated fault detection and diagnosis technology.

PRIME offers a technology neutral platform from which to build the competency of Australian technical service providers. PRIME can be a trusted supplier of application information for existing providers until such time as low-emission technical competencies are embedded into the Australian education and training system.

PRIME supports the development of a new Australian Standard to provide a compliance pathway for the energy efficient design and installation of residential air conditioning. PRIME proposes that such a standard can be used in future government-industry collaborative “incentive schemes” to encourage people with existing low-efficiency high-emission air conditioning systems to upgrade to high-efficiency low-emission alternatives, providing benefits to all stakeholders, including suppliers and manufacturers.

PRIME offers a forum whereby existing international benchmarking and best practice design tools can be collaboratively reviewed and adopted or adapted for Australian use. Better install and maintenance practices allows equipment to perform better with less failures.

PRIME offers equipment manufacturers and suppliers with communication pathways and stronger linkages with researchers and academia.

PRIME could help equipment manufacturers and suppliers to take the lead on refrigerant leakage and HVAC&R plant and equipment product stewardship throughout the supply chain.

Installation contractors and technicians   

A PRIME focus is to create a working group to develop a single industry-endorsed proposal for nationally consistent skills-based occupational licensing system for the refrigeration trade, and to link this licence with defined minimum technical competencies and ongoing skills maintenance requirements to ensure low-emission outcomes.

PRIME can help to develop industry-agreed minimum skills maintenance requirements, including lists of approved activities and any gaps.

PRIME intends to develop and/or endorse a range of industry based low-emission training materials to underpin minimum skills maintenance requirements (particularly identified gaps) that can be used for professional development.

PRIME offers installation contractors and trades a forum in which to develop an industry agreed accreditation system for the energy productivity or efficiency of a refrigeration or air conditioning installation. This would include agreed minimum standards for installation quality.

PRIME will promote a harmonised approach to building commissioning across all jurisdiction and for all commercial buildings, including those associated with cold storage and refrigerated processing. This would level the playing field and improving the performance and user experience of Australian buildings.

Maintenance contractors and technicians

Reducing direct and indirect emissions from HVAC&R means optimising life-time system performance and minimising life-time refrigerant leakage rates. This is only achievable through better maintenance and improved system operation which not only improves energy efficiency, but also delivers a range of other co-benefits, including increased asset values, improvements in worker productivity, process productivity gains, occupant health benefits, and importantly, improved building and infrastructure resilience

PRIME offers maintenance contractors and technicians a forum in which to develop an industry agreed standard for the delivery of maintenance to HVAC&R systems and plant, specifically designed to reduce emissions and improve energy productivity.

PRIME brings a new focus to the emission reduction and co-benefits of HVAC&R maintenance for energy efficiency and aims to increase the awareness of the property and facilities management sectors and stakeholders within the cold chain, of the benefits and importance of this underutilised maintenance opportunity.

PRIME will encourage greater understanding and uptake of system performance benchmarking in a range of applications including; building HVAC, refrigeration systems, cool rooms, cold stores etc.

PRIME has a focus on system monitoring and management and will help to produce industry standardised log books and guidelines for refrigerant management, maintenance management and building or system tuning and management.

The property sector

Building and property show the biggest opportunities in terms of emission reduction and energy efficiency. Property owners and facility mangers will benefit from the emissions management tools developed under PRIME including low emission design and operation strategies, and energy-focused maintenance standards. Much of the refrigeration infrastructure in Australia, with the exception of refrigerated transport systems, is tied to property assets.

Building information and the chain of custody of that information as a building travels through its lifecycle has been identified by PRIME as a key determinator of emissions intensity. Poor information management often precludes good building management. PRIME could help to develop a building log book and similar tools to help standardise the type and quality of building information and the governance practices around its management.

One thing that is clear from the industry discussions to date is the need to involve all stakeholders in low-emission solutions.  Owners, facilities managers, and occupants or end users will all have a role to play if the journey to a low-emission future is to be realised. 

Refrigeration and air conditioning education and training  

One of the core PRIME focus areas is training and education; including the skills and knowledge required at every level in the industry, particularly around areas and aspects to do with improved energy efficiency and reduced direct emissions in buildings and in refrigeration infrastructure.

PRIME advocates for relevant competency standards and professional development pathways for HVAC&R industry personnel, and wants to work alongside government and training providers to ensure any voids in formal training are filled.

The scope includes vocational training through TAFEs and undergraduate and post graduate degree courses in Building Services Engineering and Refrigeration Engineering. PRIME wants to fully engage VET and University stakeholders in regards to the following PRIME objectives around education and training:

Assist the VET sector update existing competency units and develop new units for low GWP refrigerants and assist with the review and update of the TAFE courses in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Engage with the university sector to promote the development of an industry endorsed undergraduate degree program in Building Services Engineering and Refrigeration Engineering. To update existing engineering courses and HVAC elective subjects with energy efficiency and emission reduction materials.
Increase the exposure of undergraduates and school leavers to the career opportunities in the HVAC&R industry and create a demand for education services.
Promote continuing professional development for professional engineers through a registration system and promote skills maintenance for refrigeration technicians through a national occupational licencing system.
Identify University and TAFE end user courses, e.g. catering, agriculture, facility management, which would benefit from low-emission HVAC&R unit. Develop low-emission HVAC&R unit(s) for integration into these courses.

End users of refrigeration and conditioning

The provision of information and awareness about the why and how of low-emission HVAC&R is the key PRIME priority for end users. This includes plain English documents or information products specifically addressing topics areas such as:

Trusted information regarding the HFC phase down and the transition to low GWP alternatives.
Awareness about the energy consumption of their HVAC&R systems and how to measure, monitor and manage it.
Information on how to reduce the energy consumption or emissions of their HVAC&R systems.
Information on life cycle benefits and costs of various different low-emission technologies and strategies.
Procurement guides to encourage a market for low-emission technologies and strategies.