Gary Knox, F.AIRAH
Gary Knox, F.AIRAH, is engineering manager of Daikin – a leading air conditioner manufacturer. His role includes leading a team of engineers specialising in regulatory compliance, building control systems, product selection software, and computational fluid dynamics analysis.
Having lived in Sydney throughout entire working life, his national role has involved travel throughout Australia, New Zealand and abroad, contributing to Daikin’s regional and global activity.
Previously chair of AIRAH’s NSW division committee, Knox contributes to industry by representing suppliers on Australian Standards committees for air conditioning, ventilation, energy efficiency, and demand response.
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
I graduated from the University of Sydney in 1989 and started in HVAC&R with building services consultant Norman Disney & Young. It was a difficult time in the early 90s, with industry in a downturn. I was blessed to get a start with Daikin in 1991 to help introduce variable refrigerant volume (VRV) to the Australian market.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
I joined AIRAH in 1991. About a year later, I volunteered for the NSW division committee. My task in the committee was writing the division news for the AIRAH Journal (now Ecolibrium).
Two decades passed before volunteering to assist the NSW division as chair. I always enjoyed the many social events that AIRAH facilitates, such as the NSW Golf Day and President’s Shout.
Soon I will be celebrating 30 years with AIRAH.
What's your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
I remember the 1990s as the decade that the HVAC&R industry managed the CFC phase-out. Following ratification of the Montreal Protocol, industry associations worked with government to manage the transition.
AIRAH partnered with kindred associations to facilitate seminars and guides. The events were organised by AIRAH, and included promotion to industry stakeholders. The presenters were sourced from industry associations as experts in their field.
Thinking back, it is an awesome collaborative achievement by industry to mitigate damage to the environment.
What's something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
During the late 1990s, I developed a selection and engineering software package for Daikin VRV air conditioner product named VRVSelect. This software was utilised by Daikin Australia for many years to support customers in product selection, including piping and wiring diagrams.
In the early 2000s, the software was introduced to Europe as VRVXpress – professionally rewritten using VRVSelect as the prototype.
The VRVXpress software was the same as VRVSelect in workflow, input, and output. Over time, this software was distributed globally by Daikin, and it is used by many thousands of engineers to increase productivity and reduce design error. The output is also used by installers to undertake piping and wiring.
VRVXpress continues today as a testament to the quality of the original concept.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
The fundamentals will not change. Refrigeration is required to preserve food and avoid waste. The cooling and heating of buildings supports the comfort and wellbeing of people.
HVAC&R is essential to the community, with engineers as solution providers in the applied sciences of heat and work.
Technology and systems should become more complex and connected.
The HVAC&R industry has a very prosperous future.