Three awards for the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre team

UOW’s Senior Professor Paul Cooper was awarded the prestigious James Harrison Medal at the recent Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating industry awards in Sydney.

The Sustainable Buildings Research Centre Director was awarded the institute’s highest honour “for his focus on developing the most efficient and effective engineering solutions to improve the quality of living and working environments for all”.

During his acceptance speech, Professor Cooper acknowledged the industry has “a major part to play in reducing… societal and environmental impacts, such as the current global heating crisis”.

Senior Professor Paul Cooper

“In particular, we need people who have the creativity and drive to help our society meet some really significant global environmental challenges that are happening right now and will continue into the coming decades,” said Professor Cooper.

“Buildings in fact account for approximately 40% of global energy use and greenhouse emissions (IEA) – and a large fraction of this is due to HVAC systems and other building services.

“We need to continue to develop ways to drastically reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse emissions resulting from these systems.”

When asked how he was feeling about the award, Professor Cooper said AIRAH have only made this award 5 times in the previous 10 years, “and I am the only academic awarded the medal during that time – so I’m feeling pretty happy about that”.

Along with Professor Cooper’s award, Desert Rose won the Excellence in HVAC&R Research award and SBRC’s Brendan Banfield won Student of the Year – Higher Education or Research.

Robyn Dawson, SBRC’s Administrations Officer, was “ecstatic with the outcome”.

“Three wins from three nominations is fantastic. I am so proud of the team and a well deserved lifetime achievement award for Paul,” she said.

AIRAH president Ian Harwood, F.AIRAH opened the black tie event reflecting on the underlying purpose of the awards.

“I don’t know of any engineers, contractors, designers, researchers or indeed anyone at all in the HVAC&R industry who sets out to win an award,” he said.

“It’s just not in their mindset, which is more attuned to using BIM or CFD, or to calculating set-points and dew-points.

“And that’s the whole purpose of the AIRAH Awards – it’s our chance to recognise, to elevate and to celebrate a group of people who have always been more about the work than receiving awards for the work.”