Olivia Newton-John and Kylie Minogue may have grabbed the headlines in this year’s Australia Day Honours, but there was also recognition for a big name in the HVAC&R industry: Steve Anderson.
Executive Director of Refrigerants Australia from 1987–2014, the initiator of the ACRtick program, and one of the key figures in establishing Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA), Anderson received a medal of the Order of Australia in the general division “for service to the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry through the development of environmental policy”.
“Steve’s recognition is well deserved,” says current Refrigerants Australia Executive Director Greg Picker. “He was the catalyst for innovation in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry. He positioned the industry to work collaboratively with government and to take necessary steps – typically at significant cost and risk – to deliver improved environmental outcomes. The results of these efforts are both astonishing and substantive.”
Picker points to Anderson’s key role in reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and executing the CFC phase-out. The last of these saw the initial passage of the Ozone Protection Act in 1989 and major revisions in 2004 and in 2017.
“The second element of Steve’s genius was to convince the industry to develop and invest in innovative programs that deliver substantive environmental benefits,” says Picker. “This includes Refrigerant Reclaim Australia, an industry-funded program that collects and destroys used refrigerants. RRA was the first of these types of programs globally and remains among the most effective anywhere. Its operations have prevented the equivalent of 10 million tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere and has saved over 10 million tonnes of stratospheric ozone.
Anderson also helped initiate the ARCtick program to certify tradespeople who could demonstrate that they were suitably trained. In 2004, the federal government made this a mandatory license program.