World Refrigeration Day – Join AIRAH in celebrating the HVAC&R industry on June 26



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World Refrigeration Day 2021's theme is "Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World".

This year, World Refrigeration Day hopes to inspire students and young professionals to meet the challenges faced in their diverse communities. Join us on June 26 to celebrate the people and technologies who are responsible for both creating and maintaining the world and our daily comforts; a world reliant on temperature-controlled systems.

This year, AIRAH is calling on industry participation to raise the profile of the HVAC&R sector. Make it known in your response to the Census of Australia on August 10, 2021.

For more information on who should get it involved, why it's important, and how you can help, please visit

This Census, write HVAC&R as your industry of employment

We also hope to see you for some special events on the AIRAH calendar.

June 22
Student engagement webinar

AIRAH and its Refrigeration Special Technical Group hosted a free student engagement webinar, promoting the HVAC&R industry and career pathways. You can access the recording of the session here.
June 25
SA Apprentice Awards Night 2021
Friday, June 25 from 7–10pm AEST at Adelaide Pavilion
AIRAH invites industry members and their guests to recognise the achievements of apprentices in the South Australian HVAC&R industry.

For more information and to register, please contact Catherine Martin at [email protected]


Our Refrigeration Special Technical Group (STG) is also seeking information on scheduled events for World Refrigeration Day (June 26). If you will be hosting an event to promote the industry, we invite you to share details via this short survey so that AIRAH can help to publicise your event.

Let us know


What is World Refrigeration Day?  World Refrigeration Day takes place annually on June 26.

First started in 2019, World Refrigeration Day raises the profile of the important contribution that refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps make globally across so many aspects of modern life.

From medical applications to food supply and farming, process engineering to data and IT, refrigeration technologies are essential and yet go widely unrecognised.
World Refrigeration Day provides a chance to acknowledge our industry’s history, recognise its essential role in our lives and envision its future. AIRAH is engaged in many year-round initiatives supporting the HVAC&R industry. This involves activities aimed at improving sector visibility and awareness, including presentations to primary school students about the invention of refrigeration, its climate impact and where it's headed. We’re taking World Refrigeration Day as an opportunity to expand on our outreach and highlight the wonderful world of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (or HVAC&R as it’s often called) and share stories from our members and the industry. 

For more on World Refrigeration Day, visit the website or follow along with the hashtags #CoolCareers and #WREFD21.


What is HVAC&R?
Join AIRAH in promoting our hidden industry!

We've put together a two-page A4 flyer for World Refrigeration Day. We encourage you to share it with your networks to help get the word out about the HVAC&R industry, its importance and its opportunities.

Download the What is HVAC&R? flyer

To explore training, resources, and job opportunities in Australia's built environment, please visit our careers page.

Keeping HVAC&R cool  It can be easy to forget the enormous impact that HVAC&R has on our daily lives – especially if it’s working properly and you’re feeling comfortable.

Want to learn more? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve gathered some interesting icebreakers about the industry and its importance.

Over 298,000 Australians work in the HVAC&R industry.

James Harrison invented the first functioning refrigerator in the 1850s, right here in Australia! He reportedly used it to chill beer.

You used to have to light a flame to get your refrigerator to work.

Three billion people live in regions of the world where air conditioning is needed more than 300 days of the year.

The HVAC&R industry is valued at over $38 billion in Australia.

Electrolux had the first patent for a domestic refrigerator in 1922.

In May 2018, the International Energy Agency predicted the global stock of building air conditioning units will rise from 1.6 billion to 5.6 billion by 2050.

In the US, it’s more typical for a home to have an air conditioning unit than a dishwasher, garage or dining room.

Project Drawdown identified refrigerant management as the #1 solution to reverse global warming – ahead of solar energy and wind power!

In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to sleep on top of an outdoor refrigerator.

HVAC&R accounts for 11.5% of our CO2 emissions.

In commercial refrigeration, a 2017 report revealed supermarkets to be the main users of refrigeration at 34%.

In Australia, HVAC&R uses 24% of all generated electricity.

The global market for air conditioning is valued at US$100 billion. It’s expected to grow four times that size by 2050.

HVAC&R systems use 39% of a typical office building’s energy.

In a common household, refrigeration accounts for about 10% of total electricity use.

Only a third of homes in the UK had a fridge by 1965. By comparison, it’s estimated that 94% of Australian households had a fridge by 1964.

Over 8 million refrigerators are sold each year in the US. About 800,000 are sold annually in Australia.

A third of all Australian homes have two or more fridges. NT, Qld and WA lead the national average.

In the early 1920s, you could buy one of the first domestic fridges for about US$600. Today, that would be about Au$13,000.


  AIRAH engages in ongoing outreach initiatives for the HVAC&R industry. From networking events to technical resources, find out more about them at the links below:  


AIRAH Industry Nights

AIRAH Refrigeration STG

AIRAH Flammable Refrigerant Safety Guide

   AIRAH celebrating World Refrigeration Day  
World Refrigeration Day

An A4 poster to help promote World Refrigeration Day to university and TAFE students.
World Refrigeration Day

An A4 poster to help get the word out about World Refrigeration Day.

What is HVAC&R?

A two-page A4 flyer promoting the industry, why we need it and its career opportunities.

AIRAH free student membership

  Expand your knowledge of HVAC&R and learn more about the history of refrigeration, the future of the HFC phase-down and why it's so important for Earth's sustainability.

: On the History Channel's Aussie Inventions That Changed the World (2019), they looked at food preservation. Part of an eight-episode series highlighted accomplishments in Australian ingenuity, it highlighted the work of James Harrison, the pioneer of refrigeration.

Food preservation has been a major challenge throughout Australia’s history. In Victoria, James Harrison invented a process of refrigeration that could make artificial ice on a commercial scale. In New South Wales, Thomas Mort and Eugene Nicolle adapted and improved on Harrison’s technology to build the world’s first freezer works to produce artificially frozen food. In Western Australian, Arthur McCormick came up with the Coolgardie food safe that ran on evaporative cooling, and, in South Australia, Tom Angove invented the wine cask.

Click here to see the trailer for the series and click here to watch their discussion on food preservation.

: For World Refrigeration Day, we're sharing a special adaptation of our AIRAH on Air podcast. In this episode, we explore a global issue: the HFC phase-down. This is a worldwide effort to slow down climate change by reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – synthetic gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration that are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming.

Regardless of your experience and knowledge of HFCs, you’ll want to tune in to learn about the environmental impact; why restrictions have been put in place; the flammability trade-off; and how the industry’s been adapting since the Australian HFC phase-down began in January 2018.

This episode of AIRAH on Air was adapted from "Low-down on the phase-down" (Ecolibrium, August 2018) and features Vince Aherne, F.AIRAH. To listen to more of our AIRAH on Air podcast, click here.

: In 2017, Project Drawdown identified refrigerant management as the number one solution in fixing global warming. For World Refrigeration Day, we've gone into the AIRAH archives to release our interview with American environmentalist Paul Hawken. Listen to it below.

    James Harrison (1816–1893) is the godfather of refrigeration. He was the first to create ice via mechanical means, laying the foundation for the Australian HVAC&R industry.

A Scotsman by birth and printer by trade, Harrison emigrated to Sydney in 1837. Following short stints with Tegg & Co’s Literary News and with the Sydney Herald, he later moved to Victoria – establishing the Geelong Advertiser in 1840 and becoming an inaugural member of the Geelong Council in 1850. A man of eclectic talents, skills and interests, Harrison had also long been intrigued by the science of refrigeration.

While cleaning the Geelong Advertiser’s movable type on printing presses with sulfuric ether, he realised the chemical could have other uses. This led to experimentation with the ether and a whorl coil, sourced from a heating apparatus. Through a partnership with blacksmith John Scott, he would later establish an ice works on the banks of the Barwon River at Rocky Point. 

For more on the man and his refrigeration pioneering, please click here. 

In recognition of his achievements, AIRAH presents the James Harrison Medal at the AIRAH Awards. It is the highest honour AIRAH can bestow upon an individual and recognises the highest levels of achievement in the Australian refrigeration and air conditioning industry. This award is judged on the nominee’s contributions within AIRAH’s sphere of interest and commitment to ongoing achievement and excellence. Nominations can only be made by a third party. It was first presented in 1972 to Dr James Vickery for his notable contributions to the science and practice of refrigeration in Australia, and many highly notable members of the industry have received the award since. 

Find out more about the AIRAH Awards here, and find out about the James Harrison Medal here.
 James Harrison, the pioneer of mechanical refrigeration

AIRAH recognises James Harrison Day every April 17.
 Like World Refrigeration Day, it is an opportunity for those in the HVAC&R industry to bring attention to the importance of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration across all aspects of our lives. We encourage individuals and companies working in the HVAC&R industry to celebrate. Click here for more information. 


For World Refrigeration Day, we asked some of our members to share their stories, explain the importance of the HVAC&R industry and let us know how they'll be celebrating the big day! Explore all their answers below.

Ben Adamson, F.AIRAH Jessica Allen, Affil.AIRAH Elis Balzan, Affil.AIRAH Patricia Bellotti, Affil.AIRAH
John Bourne, Affil.AIRAH Graham Boyle, F.AIRAH Jon Clarke, M.AIRAH Abraham Corona, M.AIRAH
Darron Febey, AM.AIRAH Dario Ferlin, M.AIRAH Massimo Fiorentini, Affil.AIRAH Alan Fok, M.AIRAH
Mikaila Ganado, M.AIRAH Ania Hampton, M.AIRAH Brett Hedge, M.AIRAH Paul Jackson, F.AIRAH
Stefan Jensen, F.AIRAH Sally King-Carmichael, M.AIRAH Lasath Lecamwasam, F.AIRAH Dennis Lee, Affil.AIRAH
Peter Mathieson, F.AIRAH Kevin Navarro, Affil.AIRAH Elizabeth Paparo, Affil.AIRAH Michael Riese, M.AIRAH
Jenny Smith, Affil.AIRAH James Spears, M.AIRAH Christopher Ward, M.AIRAH Dr Stephen White, F.AIRAH


Other voices from the industry

Jennah Wone Aakriti Bhandari Iain Campbell Sheila J. Hayter

Niusha Memarpouri

On June 26, the HVAC&R industry comes together to celebrate World Refrigeration Day.

For the 2020 campaign, our friends at Woolworths put together a great video that captures the scale, scope, and enthusiasm for the world of refrigeration. Click here to watch it.

Is your organisation hosting an event for World Refrigeration Day? Tell us about it so we can help spread the word.

For more information on World Refrigeration Day and AIRAH, please contact our national office on 03 8623 3000 or at [email protected]

AIRAH is the leading specialist membership association for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) professionals. Formed in 1920, AIRAH is proud to celebrate over 100 years of leading HVAC&R. For more, please visit

This page was last updated June 17, 2021