The average energy efficiency of air conditioning equipment has improved 60 per cent in the last 20 years with two thirds of that reduction occurring in the last decade.

Describing it as a significant achievement, Refrigerants Australia executive director, Greg Picker, said the RAC trade should be proud of what it has delivered.

“Sometimes we focus too much on our problems and challenges,” he told participants at CCN Live. “Its good to occasionally step back and look at what we have achieved in the areas of refrigerants, energy efficiency and trade.”

Picker said that since the industry began phasing out CFCs and HCFCs it has reduced emissions by 90 per cent since the early 1990s.

“Now that is a remarkable level of achievement and the HFC phasedown will take that even further,” he said. “Over a forty year period no other sector anywhere in the world or industry in Australia has delivered anything like this.

“Meanwhile when it comes to the trade we’ve delivered lower leak levels, better servicing and better management of refrigerants. Put all three together and that’s a phenomenal performance.”

On a more sobering note, Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association (ACMA) executive director, Graham Mackrill, talked about a subject that isn't discussed enough at public forums. And that's the issue of suicide, which is particularly high in the construction sector.

“The number of suicides in the construction industry is higher than the community average,” Mackrill said.

“This is a mental health reality which is why we have created a blueprint for suicide prevention. It includes a range of measures for employers to adopt.

“Sadly, men would rather take their lives than make a simple phone call which is why we created this intervention program.”

To raise awareness in the HVACR sector, Mackrill said AMCA is sending the blueprint to industry groups throughout Australia.

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