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Photo credit: Energy Efficiency Council

News update

AIRAH at the EEC National Conference

May 17, 2024

AIRAH CEO Sami Zheng, Affil.AIRAH, attended the EEC National Conference on May 15-16 in Sydney, and participated in an expert panel about heat pumps and residential decarbonisation.

The session also featured Deepthi Worthing, Affil.AIRAH, A/Director, Circular Economy Division, DCCEEW; Alan Pears AM, Senior Industry Fellow, RMIT and Fellow, Melbourne University; Douglas McCloskey, Program Director, Energy and Water, Public Interest Advocacy Centre; and Rachael Wilkinson, Senior Advisor, Policy and Partnerships, EEC, who chaired the panel.

The group discussed how heat pumps are emerging as a dominant technology globally to reduce carbon footprints, increase energy efficiency, and save households money. They explored the current role of heat pumps in Australian residential settings, and their future role in our net zero transition.

Pears went into detail about the science behind heat pumps, how they improve energy efficiency, and the looming maintenance challenges that come with their rapid growth in popularity. McCloskey talked about the human aspect of the heat pump transition: how this technology can improve lives and what we can do to make the transition fair and equitable for consumers. Worthing, who has extensive experience in government and regulatory work, focused on the transition from high-GWP refrigerants to climate-friendly alternatives.

Zheng's presentation focused on the skills shortage, both in HVAC&R and in trades more broadly. She highlighted the need not just for attracting new talent and investing in training, but for investing in the HVAC&R professionals we already have and making sure we retain that skill and experience in the industry.

"The message is clear to me: to drive the change, it's not just the technologies, it is the people – the way we think and how we work together.

Sami Zheng, AIRAH
Sami Zheng, Affil.AIRAH

“We must collaborate, support one another, and strategically assign roles to foster a cooperative environment essential for achieving our net zero targets.

“One promising initiative is the adoption of heat pump technology. Success in this endeavour depends on establishing an efficient and effective ecosystem. The industry must engage with businesses and investors, paving the way forward.

“Despite the complexity of this journey, the mission is possible. AIRAH will act as a vital conduit, partnering with businesses, engineers, tradespeople, government, and the education sector to contribute in every possible way.”

Learn more about the Energy Efficiency Council

The EEC is the peak body for Australia’s energy management sector. A not-for-profit membership association, EEC works to:

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