A whole-of-industry pathway to a low-emissions future



To have an Australian HVAC&R industry that is highly skilled and professional, safe, cost-effective and environmentally effective.  


Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, gave an update on PRIME in May 2017.

PRIME is an initiative developed by a coalition of stakeholders from within the Australian heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry. The industry has been under pressure to help reduce the environmental impact of HVAC&R. Key stakeholders have taken a step back and spent some time evaluating exactly what needs to be done to develop low-emission solutions for the essential HVAC&R services we all depend upon. 

PRIME stands for the five pathways to transition: Professionalism, Regulation, Information, Measurement, and Emission abatement. All of the industry-sourced solutions have been allocated into one of these five categories. Information for PRIME stakeholders is available here


PRIME prospectus

Download the PRIME prospectus.

PRIME-endorsed projects

Regulating building commissioning

AIRAH, AMCA, NEBB and CIBSE are working together on this PRIME priority project.

This discussion paper has been prepared by the PRIME Working Group on Building Commissioning and explores the benefits and options for introducing specific mandatory requirements for building commissioning into Australian Building Regulations and offers two alternatives for how this could be achieved.

The paper outlines what comprises building commissioning by defining five ‘levels’ of commissioning activity and explaining how these relate to the current requirements of NCC 2016. The paper also provides and overview of what a mandatory performance-focussed commissioning process could comprise of, in terms of both process and documentation.

Click here to read more and download the documents.


Innovation is a priority area for PRIME. The PRIME executive group approved and endorsed the CSIRO lead project – Net zero HVAC Roadmap. This will help deliver industry commercial needs, while addressing current challenges for a sustainable, energy-efficient future.

The initial Phase One project is to identify a wide range of technology options, consistent with a future Net Zero Energy HVAC industry, and quantify the possible benefits in different climates and building archetypes. We will use computer simulation to model the hour-by-hour HVAC energy consumption of different scenario technologies,in different representative buildings, in each of the main capital cities/climate zones. 

The challenge is to transition to Net Zero Energy HVAC Industry and government needs to work together to support this transition. More information is available here

PRIME-aligned projects

The Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling

In association with the CSIRO and PRIME, AIRAH is proposing to establish the Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling, or iHub.

The Innovation Hub for Affordable Heating and Cooling will facilitate the HVAC&R industry’s transition to a low-emissions future, stimulate jobs growth, and showcase HVAC innovations in buildings.

More information about the iHub is available here.

Minimum building air tightness requirements within the National Construction Code

The AIRAH Building Physics Special Technical Group are collaborating with ABCB and other stakeholders to review and improve building air tightness for the National Construction Code 2019.

More information is available here.

Residential air conditioning standard

There are many emissions issues in relation to residential air conditioning. The industry decided that a critical first step to resolving the problems was an Australian Standard that provides a national cohesive picture for design, selection, install, commissioning etc so that the consumer can at least have a minimum set of criteria of what to expect.

Standards Australia is leading this project under committee EE-001. AIRAH is proudly represented by Beau Logue, Aff.AIRAH, from Wood and Grieve Engineers. More information is available here

Energy All-stars

The Energy Allstar concept aligns with one of the solutions proposed under the PRIME framework. It provides clear information on life cycle energy costs and highlights the long-term benefits/savings of high efficiency equipment.
This type of website/app will really help to refocus the industry (or at least some of the stakeholders within it) to look beyond minimum efficiencies and minimised capital costs to unlock the energy productivity benefits and cost savings available over the longer term from super high energy efficient plant and appliances. 

More information is available here.

Calculating Cool

Calculating Cool is an Energy Efficiency benchmarking tool for HVAC systems. It is designed to rate the main HVAC system serving the building.   

Calculating Cool has been developed in collaboration with industry bodies including the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH), the Property Council of Australia (PCA), the Facilities Management Association of Austraplia (FMAA), and the Air-conditioning and Mechanical Contractors' Association (AMCA).

The project is being managed by Sustainability Victoria on behalf of the Council of Australian Government Commercial Buildings Committee with joint funding from the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

More information is available here.

PRIME Implementation Workshop outcomes

The following focus areas and priority areas were established at the Implementation Workshop and subsequently endorsed by the PRIME Steering Council in May 2015. Download the summary of outcomes from the PRIME Implementation Workshop.

PRIME focus areas

The concept is for PRIME Steering Council and Executive Group activity to focus on those projects and activities that require all-of-industry input and agreement. As well as the communications and funding related activities associated with the delivery of all activities, the proposed PRIME action areas are:
  • Training and education;
  • Licensing and registration;
  • Maintenance for energy efficiency; and
  • Flammable refrigerants.
Download the focus areas summary.

PRIME priority areas

The following nine projects have been endorsed by industry as potential impactful projects that could be delivered relatively quickly. The approach to these sector specific or application specific issues will be for PRIME to endorse individual associations, or partnerships of associations (or companies, entities or individuals), to lead the activity in the following nine project areas:
  • Project 1 - Building commissioning
  • Project 2 - Building Log Book
  • Project 3 - Access to plant
  • Project 4 - Residential air conditioning standard
  • Project 5 - Refrigerant handling Code of Practice
  • Project 6 - Managing HCFC phase-out
  • Project 7 - Refrigerant Leakage and enforcement
  • Project 8 - Leakage and energy efficiency
  • Project 9 – Innovation
Download a short report, which introduces the nine projects listed above.

PRIME road map actions

Download the PRIME road map actions from April, 2013.

Discussion paper: Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions

This discussion paper is a report on the industry views on low-emission HVAC&R, at least to the extent that AIRAH has been able to define them. The paper has been developed as an open-source document, with extensive consultation with industry stakeholders, including government and end users.

Download the AIRAH discussion paper – Transition to low-emission HVAC&R: Issues and solutions

Supporters of PRIME

PRIME is supported by the following organisations.





Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
Trainers Alliance




PRIME projects – Pro-forma project proposal template

The PRIME pro-forma project proposal template can be used by PRIME Steering Council members to develop project proposals for PRIME projects and PRIME focus areas.

A series of suggested headings are provided with a brief description of what should be covered under each heading.

For a project to be endorsed by PRIME it is helpful if each proposal is structured similarly to allow comparisons to be made and project proposals to be properly assessed.

Download the project proposal template here


The HVAC&R industry has some key challenges at a local level, including skills and compliance issues, right through to the global stage, where extreme and disruptive weather events are increasingly prevalent. AIRAH has consulted with industry leaders (via PRIME, Special Technical Groups (STGs), AIRAH conventions and division events), and has identified the key issues requiring AIRAH thought leadership. Click here to read more. 



If you're interested in PRIME, and helping on the journey to the future, email