AIRAH on Air podcast
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About the podcast

The AIRAH on Air podcast explores stories from the built environment in Australia and abroad, with a focus on the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry – a sector in a constant state of development and innovation.

AIRAH on Air is a chance to delve into topics covered at our major events and in Ecolibrium, AIRAH’s official journal, in a new way. We hear from experts on issues of national and international importance, including conversations around global warming and big data, plus unique insights into site-specific projects and builds.

Listen to the latest episode (released June 2022):


Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple to never miss an episode. You can also find each episode below, alongside links to original articles and more information on our guests.

Episode 1: What you need to know about HVAC&R and climate change

Despite playing a major role in global emissions, HVAC&R isn’t often a phrase associated with climate change. This episode gives an overview of how the refrigeration and HVAC industry interacts with climate change; the industry’s role and responsibilities; and why AIRAH is part of the discussion about climate change mitigation in our society.


Episode 2: What does “net zero” mean for buildings, and how will we heat and cool them without carbon?

How are we improving the design and construction of buildings? In the first episode of AIRAH on Air, we explore how we’re working toward a “net zero” future – and what, exactly, that means.

Adapted from "The zero effect" (Ecolibrium, September 2018)

Guests: Paul Cooper, F.AIRAHClare Parry, M.AIRAHTony Arnel


Episode 3: What is big data for the built environment, and what does it mean for HVAC&R?

Big data. It’s a big idea. It’s also moved from the “next big thing” to business as usual. But what does it have to do with the built environment and why does it matter to the humans who occupy it?
Adapted from "Big deal" (Ecolibrium, November 2018)

Guests: Chris Stamatis, M.AIRAHCraig Roussac, M.AIRAHChris King, M.AIRAH


Episode 4: How is one of the oldest buildings at the University of Queensland one of its best? On retrofitting the Forgan Smith Building

When a building gets older, often the obvious option is demolition. But what if there’s a way to save it and preserve its history? How can that help increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions?

Adapted from "Law and order" (Ecolibrium, December 2018)

Guests: Danni Roberts / Phil Wilkinson, F.AIRAH


Episode 5: From dinosaur boneyard to Australia’s most sustainable housing estate: inside The Cape

It was the site of Australia’s first dinosaur bone excavation, then it was neighbour to a coal mine, and now it’s the future of sustainable housing. Join us for a visit to The Cape – a new development located about two hours south-east of Melbourne in the seaside village of Cape Paterson.
Adapted from "Cape crusader" (Ecolibrium, February 2019)  

Guest: Clint Hare


Episode 6: The long goodbye: what’s this HFC phase-down all about, and why should I care?

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.

Adapted from "Low-down on the phase-down" (Ecolibrium, August 2018)

Guest: Vince Aherne, F.AIRAH


Episode 7: Talking natural refrigerants at AIRAH’s Refrigeration 2019 Conference with Michael Kauffeld

Refrigeration 2019 was held in Melbourne from March 2526 and welcomed 170 attendees, more than 30 expert speakers, and four international keynotes. One of these was Prof. Dr Michael Kauffeld, of Germany's Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, who spoke with AIRAH on Air about his area of expertise: natural refrigerants.

Guest: Michael Kauffeld


Episode 8: What is the Global Cooling Prize? How could you win a million dollars?

In this special episode of AIRAH on Air, we talk with Iain Campbell of the Rocky Mountain Institute – a US-based not-for-profit working to find practical, market-based solutions that will shift dependency from fossil fuels to renewables. Part of the Institute's work involves administrating the Global Cooling Prize, an international competition calling upon inventors and innovators to develop the next generation of cooling technology.

Guest: Iain Campbell


Episode 9: ARUP, a firm famous for the Sydney Opera House, has a new headquarters in Sydney; it’s something special

In this episode, we take a trip to visit Investa’s Barrack Place – the new Sydney headquarters for Arup and the first Australian building to earn a WELL Core & Shell Precertification at the Gold Level from the International WELL Building Institute.

Adapted from "WELL and good" (Ecolibrium, March 2019)

Guests: Andrew Pettifer / Jack Noonan


Episode 10: Melbourne Forum – What is energy poverty, and how does it affect HVAC&R?

This episode of the AIRAH on Air podcast was recorded at the Melbourne Forum on June 25, 2019. We hear from Dr Nicola Willand, a lecturer at RMIT University’s School of Property, Construction and Project Management. In her presentation, Willand explains the concept of energy poverty; how it can be measured and understood; who’s most vulnerable; the social implications; and what can be done to assist those struggling to cool or heat their homes. 

Guest: Dr Nicola Willand


Episode 11: Melbourne Forum – Are energy suppliers giving people what they need?

The eighth episode of the AIRAH on Air podcast was recorded at the Melbourne Forum on June 25, 2019. Kerry Connors, the associate director of research at Energy Consumers Australia (ECA), details the Power Shift program and research underlining the link between energy and household health.

Guest: Kerry Connors


Episode 12: 25 King Street – Tall timber

Brisbane's 25 King is a timber building pushing boundaries in construction, sustainability and indoor environment quality. We speak to Danni Roberts, Affil.AIRAH, and Joel Fernandes of Aurecon, an engineering consultancy firm, on what it was like to not only deliver the structural engineering design, building services and ESD on the project, but also now occupy the building as its main tenant.

Adapted from “King in the north” (Ecolibrium, April 2019)

Guests: Danni Roberts, Affil.AIRAH / Joel Fernandes


Episode 13: Melbourne Forum – What’s involved in retrofitting low-income households?

In the last of three episodes from the 2019 Melbourne Forum on energy poverty, Michele Burton, formerly of Sustainability Victoria, details a pilot project in Victoria's Latrobe Valley that aims to retrofit low-income households. Burton's talk covers the advantages (including the energy cost savings and thermal comfort improvements) and challenges of the initiative, as well as the project's next steps. This episode also features a Q&A with Burton and the other Melbourne Forum speakers.

Guests: Michele Burton / Dr Nicola Willand / Kerry Connors


Episode 14: A career in a prosperous, stable industry? HVAC&R Salary Survey results

In 2019, AIRAH conducted a comprehensive analysis of salaries in the Australian heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry. It is the first of its kind and covered professionals and practitioners across the sector. Almost 500 people participated, providing benchmarks for the industry. This episode offers insights into the findings from the survey analysts.

Guests: Dr David Iacuone / Leigh Funston / Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH

Click here to see the 2019 HVAC&R Salary Survey results.


Episode 15: AIRAH gets physical at Building Physics 2019

On October 23 and 24 at AIRAH's Building Physics Forum in Melbourne, over 100 attendees came together from the fields of building science, architecture and design to discuss topics related to different areas in constructed performance. From air movement to thermal performance, control of moisture, passive house principles, and window design, it was an insightful two days of discussions into how we can create buildings that are more environmentally effective, comfortable and healthier for their occupants.

Guests: Marcela Brauner / Dr Arianna Brambilla / Jenny Edwards, Affil.AIRAH

Find out more about AIRAH’s Building Physics Forum here.


Episode 16: Passivhaus at Scale

Last year at AIRAH's Building Physics Forum in Melbourne, Clare Parry, M.AIRAH, from Grün Consulting presented on how to create high-performance buildings with the help of the Passivhaus methodology.

In this episode of AIRAH on Air, you'll hear Parry present a detailed case study of Australia's first scale Passivhaus building: Gillies Hall at Monash University's Peninsula Campus in Frankston, Melbourne. She also expands on this –and on the increasing prevalence of Passivhaus principles – in an interview with AIRAH's Mark Vender

Guests: Clare Parry, M.AIRAH

Find out more about AIRAH’s Building Physics Forum here, and the Building Physics STG here.


Episode 17: Celebrating 100 years 

As AIRAH celebrates 100 years, we commemorate not just our Institute’s history but also our members and their contributions to heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. In this episode of AIRAH on Air, we talk to two former AIRAH Presidents about the state of HVAC&R.

In an interview with Ecolibrium editor Matt Dillion, Sean Treweek, F.AIRAH, and Ania Hampton, M.AIRAH, detail their careers in the hidden industry; give some predictions for where HVAC&R is going; outline their experiences with AIRAH; and offer advice for those interested in a career in an essential industry.

Guests: Ania Hampton, M.AIRAH / Sean Treweek, F.AIRAH

Find out more about AIRAH's 100 Faces here.


Episode 18: The critical role of data ontologies

The name may sound abstract, but data ontologies have a very practical role to play in making our buildings work better. Whether it’s Brick, Haystack, VBIS, or something else, their purpose is essentially the same: to help us organise data from the built environment.

In this episode of AIRAH on Air, host Mark Vender talks to four members of AIRAH’s Big Data and Analytics Special Technical Group about data ontologies, the issues we face when people use different systems for managing their data, and how we can overcome these challenges.

Guests: Tristan Webber, Affil.AIRAH / Nicholas Lianos, Affil.AIRAH / Sylvia Quaglia / Daniel Porragas, Affil.AIRAH

Find out more about AIRAH’s Big Data and Analytics Forum here, and the Big Data STG here.


Thank you for listening to AIRAH on Air. Have an idea for an episode or want to learn more about the podcast? Please email [email protected]