August 19, 2022 BY Amanda Searle

ARBS 2022, Australia’s only international air conditioning, refrigeration and building services trade exhibition announced the ARBS 2022 Industry Award winners at a gala event held on Thursday 17 August at the Crown Palladium in Melbourne.

The ARBS awards, now firmly entrenched as the pinnacle of achievement in the HVAC&R and building services industry, attracted nominees from across all sectors. The ARBS Industry Awards are held every two years in association with the ARBS Exhibition.

A panel of industry experts evaluated the nominations based on various criteria such as leadership, sustainability, performance, and innovation to select the award winners.


This award recognises the young achievers who have demonstrated enterprise, commitment and leadership. 

A multi-talented, multi-disciplined energy efficiency specialist, Grace embodies the future of the HVAC&R industry. The co-founder of DeltaQ, a boutique energy and carbon management consultancy, Grace has delivered landmark projects for more than a decade. She has also influenced national policy development and championed diversity and inclusion.

Grace has made important contributions to revisions of Section J of the National Construction Code and supported the expansion of the NABERS program by adding to the body of evidence. With talent and perseverance, Grace offers a daily demonstration of the exceptional contribution that women can make to our industry.

PRODUCT EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER: Temperzone – Econex R32 Inverter Air Cooled Package Units 

This award highlights commercially viable HVAC or refrigeration products that demonstrate sustainable practices and innovation.   

The Econex air cooled R32 Inverter package unit range is a new mid-range product family consisting of four models with nominal cooling capacities and is the first R32 inverter package unit range in the ANZ market. Compared to the Eco R420 range the Econex range has a 71–79% reduction in refrigerant related global warming potential per kilowatt of cooling or heating capacity.

As higher GWP refrigerants face increasing cost due to emissions tax levies, using R32 systems represents a significant reduction in the costs of maintaining these systems, combined with a reduced global warming impact.


This award recognises software and digital excellence within the air conditioning, refrigeration and building services industry. 

Kaizen is a powerful data analytics and ongoing commissioning tool that works in conjunction with the building automation and metering systems to continuously monitor a building’s HVAC equipment performance and energy consumption – measuring it against optimal performance guidelines and its own baseline.

Kaizen alerts the user if performance is sub-optimal, or a fault is detected. Along with identifying its location, it then allows the user to take resolving action immediately and often remotely, saving time & valuable resources.

PROJECT EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER: AG Coombs & Aurecon – 25 King St Brisbane 

This award recognises new technologies or the re-application of existing technologies that demonstrate innovation and suitability for the air conditioning, refrigeration and building services sector.   

Australia’s tallest engineered timber office building, 25 King, pushed current boundaries in design, construction, indoor environment quality and sustainability.

The building’s superstructure utilises a combination of engineered cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber.  It is a commercially viable and more sustainable alternative to steel and concrete construction for mid-scale office buildings. Beyond demonstrating the potential future of low to mid-rise construction, 25 King delivered a wellness objective, creating a workplace that is both sustainable and healthy.


This award recognises outstanding contributions to training, education and leadership within the air conditioning, refrigeration and building services industry. 

With airborne transmission now widely acknowledged as the primary source of COVID-19 transmission, the building industry has a vital role to play in supporting Australians to return to workplaces and other indoor settings confidently, safely and sustainably.

Recognising both the technical and people challenges involved, the Building Ventilation Summit brought together experts from across the sector and beyond to discuss the latest approaches being adopted by industry, as well as the health, economic and political contexts and the likely medium- and long-term reform implications.



The ARBS Hall of Fame is the highest accolade for members of our industry – recognising outstanding service, contribution and commitment to the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and building services sector.   

AIRAH – Gwen Gray 

A trailblazer for women in the world of HVAC&R, Gwen worked in the drawing office of the Department of Defence Production during World War II.  It was there, at Fishermen’s Bend in Melbourne, that bombers and Bristol Beaufighters were manufactured. At war’s end, Gwen was engaged by Bassett Consulting, where she worked as a mechanical engineer for 40 years.

Gwen’s impressive CV includes projects such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital boiler extensions in the early 1960s, and the construction of the Arts Centre Melbourne in the 70s. Gwen also helped to develop a para-professional course at RMIT for refrigeration and air conditioning.

With qualifications in mechanical and marine engineering, Gwen was one of the very few women in her era working in engineering. Gwen became AIRAH’s first full female member when she joined in 1967. She went on to become the President of AIRAH’s Victorian Division and was recognised during AIRAH’s Centenary celebrations in 2020 as part of the 100 Faces of AIRAH. Gwen Gray passed away in April 2021 at the age of 94.

AMCA – Chris Wright 

Chris has worked in the HVAC&R industry for more than 48 years – with 45 of those years as a member of AMCA. Chris commenced his career as a cadet engineer, completing his qualifications at night school.

He rapidly rose through the ranks from consultant to director of TCM in Tasmania. Overseeing a team of 30 technicians, Chris has led iconic projects from the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies to CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research Laboratories.

Chris sat on AMCA’s national board for eight years and, as Tasmanian and National President, represented AMCA internationally. He proudly chaired the Alliance of USA, Canada, UK and Australia in 2017. From 2011 to 2020, Chris was Australian President of NEBB, the premier international certification association for firms that deliver high performance building systems. He continues his commitment to the industry as President of the new Testing and Commissioning Association.

Passionate about industry professionalisation, Chris has gone above and beyond for many decades.

CIBSE – Ian Small 

Ian has been involved in the building services industry since 1968. He attended the National College in London and has since held almost every position imaginable – from apprentice draftsman to engineer, project manager to Managing Director of the National Air Conditioning Group.

Ian has volunteered his time and talent to various groups in South Australia, including AMCA, the Specialist Sub-Contractors Association, Engineers Australia and the Society of Building Services Engineering.

He was South Australian Chapter Chair of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. He was also Treasurer of the CIBSE ANZ Regional Committee for 15 years before serving as Chair from 2014 to 2017. As a volunteer with the CIBSE Benevolence Fund, Ian supports members and their families in need of financial assistance – work that was recognised with the Institution’s Bronze Medal. Well respected in his community, and a proud member of his profession for 50 years, Ian is a worthy inductee into the ARBS Hall of Fame.

AREMA – Ken Ball 

During a long and distinguished career, Ken has worked for a who’s who of companies from Kelvinator, Carrier and Haden Engineering through to Mitsubishi and Temperzone.

Ken’s experience is matched with his voluntary efforts. His service to industry has been exemplary. In his roles with AREMA for 20-plus years he has provided advice and contributed to a seemingly endless series of standards and technical committees.

He has been deeply involved in international engagement on standards and training and has provided significant technical support to government officials and industry associations. A previous recipient of the HVAC Leader of the Year, Ken has assisted AREMA members at any time of the day, night or weekend to understand the nuances of issues and their implications. He has mentored apprentices and technicians who have become leaders in the industry, and AREMA and its members owe Ken a debt of gratitude.

RACCA – Noel Munkman 

Noel started as a refrigeration and air conditioning apprentice 50 years ago. The profession has evolved rapidly since then, and Noel’s influence has been instrumental. Noel has held senior roles with TAFE NSW, WorldSkills, Energy Skills Australia, Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee and the Australian Refrigeration Council.

He has been involved in WorldSkills competitions at regional, national, and international levels since 1989 and is currently WorldSkills International’s RAC Skills Competition Manager. In his current role as Technical and Training Manager at the Australian Refrigeration Council, Noel helps technicians and businesses improve their day-to-day operations.

He also participates in national technical committees and working groups to develop solutions for safety, technology, training and refrigerant issues. Whether he is writing new courses, collaborating on committees or rolling out roadshows, Noel gives tirelessly of his time and knowledge. RACCA’s go-to expert for training, Noel has made an extraordinary contribution to our mission-critical industry.

AIRAH – Simon Hill 

Simon was nominated by AIRAH in honour of his four-decade contribution to mechanical services design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance. A life member of AIRAH, Simon has made an exceptional contribution to the industry.

He has developed and presented training seminars on ventilation, fire and smoke control, and fire damper installation, that has upskilled our entire industry. He has acted as an expert witness on HVAC disputes and offered an objective, professional opinion on interpretation of HVAC standards and regulations. Simon has also contributed to Standards Australia on multiple sub-committees.

In recognition of his sustained contribution over four decades, Simon has also earned AIRAH’s highest individual honour, the James Harrison Medal.


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