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It takes a special kind of innovator to succeed in today's manufacturing sector, especially in Australia.

But Innovator of the Year finalist, Ian Rich, is committed to Australian manufacturing. As the managing director of AIRA, he is in the business of developing high efficiency heating and cooling products for the Australian market.

He has a policy of employing creative people who can think outside the box which he says has contributed to the development of high efficiency lobby pressurisation systems that can halve energy consumption and the company's complete range of high efficiency condensing boilers.  AIRA employs draftsmen, apprentices and boiler makers.

CCN's second finalist Gregg Chapman is the managing director of the Mobile Air Conditioning Service, which has developed a 24 volt DC air conditioning system that allows the cab of earthmoving equipment to be cooled while the machine is switched off.

The benefits of this include fuel savings, less idle time which can cause damage to diesel engines and  less gas being released into the atmosphere.  

“We built a test cab and proceeded to run tests up to 45 degrees; we reduced the temperature inside the cab to 28 degrees in less than 30 minutes,” Chapman said. “The next test was to see how long the system would operate for - we achieved three hours.  As solar and power storage become more advanced we can explore more applications.”

Meanwhile, two finalists have been selected for the Sustainability Leader of the Year Award. They are NSW Office of Environment and Heritage team leader, Dan Granger, and Habitech Systems managing director, Chris Barnett.

Finalist Dan Granger began his career in sustainability more than a decade ago. He works closely with the HVACR sector developing sustainable solutions for the market and collaborating on resources for industry.

Most recently he has worked with industry on the HVAC Optimisation Guide which will be launched later this month. It aims to bridge the information gap between BMS and HVAC specialists, energy auditors and building owners/operators to apply strategies to deliver energy and cost savings.

He has also represented government on  numerous targeted refrigeration and HVAC energy audits – project managing consultants to identify energy efficiency opportunities for abattoirs, food manufacturers and commercial buildings.

Finalist Chris Barnett is currently overseeing the development of Reservoir House in Melbourne which aims to be completely energy neutral. The house is all-electric and powered by a 6kw array.

While all Habitech houses are sealed well above industry standards, this house takes it to the next level with heat exchange ventilation, high performance upvc windows and door blower testing.

The 8kW rooftop PV system has been sized to require no additional power from the grid in winter. In summer, the house produces five times the amount of electricity the house needs.

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