Julian Cook, M.AIRAH
At 27 years of age, Julian Cook, M.AIRAH, is a young leader in the Australian HVAC&R industry.
He works as an HVAC engineer and building services team leader for COVA Thinking, and was appointed President of AIRAH's Tasmania division in 2017.
Based out of Hobart, Cook contributes to COVA's services, spanning mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, fire services, civil and structural, energy and ESD, fire safety, industrial, and bulk materials handling. He says that throughout the company's Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney offices, there is a diverse client base that bring interesting and often challenging projects.
Recently, Cook has been design managing projects across building services and civil/structural disciplines. This has included a distillery, special needs school, and several apartment buildings. He says the projects have been a steep learning curve, helping him to expand his engineering knowledge diversity.
"I've quickly realised that, although HVAC might be the best discipline, it can't be done in isolation," says Cook. "The bst projects are where all services complement each other – especially when energy efficiency is the goal."
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
COVA (previously SEMF) has an annual scholarship with the University of Tasmania. It involves a mandatory three-month work placement and, often, an employment offer on conclusion. The scholarship rotates through disciplines each year, and in 2013 it was an HVAC graduate that was required, so that's where I placed.
After spending the summer learning about solar gain, psychometrics and insulation with my incredible mentor Miles Harrison, I was offered a job effective on graduation. I joined the team a year later. Six years on, I’m now managing that same team with a fresh mechanical graduate of my own.
What's your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
A memory from only fairly recently, but it was truly an honour to have one of my projects (the Repatriation Hospital mechanical plant upgrade), short-listed for Best HVAC Retrofit or Upgrade at the AIRAH Awards 2019.
I attended the gala in Sydney with a colleague – a great conclusion to what had been a reasonably long and complex journey from an initial energy audit, to a full-blown mechanical upgrade three years later. The plant is still running reliably and efficiently. It is often referenced as a benchmark for a great mechanical project in the Tasmanian healthcare industry.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
Since graduating in 2014, I spent approximately 12 months being involved in AIRAH – primarily attending the regular events. This was key in advancing my technical experience, but perhaps even more so in developing relationships with the local HVAC industry.
AIRAH’s Tasmania division has a very high contractor member base, so these relationships have been a great source of learning more about the practical side of HVAC, including construction, commissioning and maintenance – things than junior engineers typically have zero exposure to. Since then, I have spent approximately two years on the Tasmania committee, and now the last two years as President.
What's something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
1. If you can’t see, hear or feel the HVAC system (and the room is comfortable), someone probably spent a very long time designing it.
2. It doesn’t matter what temperature the room is, there will always be someone who doesn’t like it.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
I see the most rapid involvement being in controls advancement and internet of things.
I’m currently building a new house and trying to pack in as many smarts as possible (Wi-Fi connected AC, solar PV with controls, smart lights, blinds, voice control, etc.), and already noticing how quickly residential controls and automation have advanced in only the last few years.
I can’t wait to see this tech being applied to performance monitoring, control and maintenance on a larger scale trickling down to smaller and lower budget projects. Buildings that commission, adjust and adapt themselves can’t be far away.