On 17 July 1951, the South African Institute of Refrigeration was founded at a meeting of refrigeration engineers and food scientists held at the Bordeaux Hotel in Cape Town. The founding membership of 41 elected Dr Guido Dreosti as the Institute’s first President, an office that he held for the next 5 years and again in 1957 and in 1962.

In 1962, the Institute widened its scope to include air conditioning and became the South African Institute of refrigeration and Air Conditioning (SAIRAC).

In 1961 SAIRAC started establishing Centres in the other major cities of South Africa. Port Elizabeth was established in 1961, followed by Johannesburg in 1963 and Durban in 1967.


SAIRAC serves the Environmental Control Industry. The purpose of the Environmental Control Industry is to implement environmental control measures to ensure:

  • The health, safety and comfort of people.
  • The processing and preservation of perishables.
  • The protection of the environment.

The environmental control measures include:

  • Control of airflow
  • Control of air quality
  • Temperature control
  • Humidity control
  • Noise control
  • Energy control


The purpose of SAIRAC within the Environmental Control Industry is to:

  • Generate, manage and disseminate data, information and knowledge related to the science and technology of Environmental Control.
  • Promote professionalism in the Environmental Control Industry.


The mission of SAIRAC is to offer our membership the following:

  • Regular Technical Meetings, in each of the Centres.
  • Site visits and plant tours.
  • Enrichment courses.
  • Feedback related to the revision of SANS/NCRS codes of practice.
  • Feedback on the HCFC phase-out programme.
  • The SAIRAC Technical Data Manual in CD format.
  • The Dreosti Memorial Lecture.
  • FRIGAIR exhibitions, conferences and workshops.


The creation of a culture of learning and improvement by means of:

  • The recognition of the achievements of SAIRAC members, in their  working environments and professional capacities, in the Environmental Control Industry.
  • The recognition of the achievements of students at tertiary educational institutions.
  • The recognition of the achievements of learners in the Industry.


SAIRAC is active in the following geographic Centres:

  • Cape Town
  • Durban
  • Johannesburg
  • Port Elizabeth


The affairs of SAIRAC in each centre are managed by an elected committee, consisting of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Centre Secretary, Centre Treasurer and representatives of each grade of membership.

National control and management of SAIRAC is vested in a Council, headed by the President, who is elected by Corporate Members. Council members include the Chairman of each centre, a Vice-President, immediate Past President, National Secretary
and National Treasurer.


SAIRAC is affiliated as an International Associate of:

  • The American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • Institute of Refrigeration (IOR)


SAIRAC is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa as a Category A Voluntary Association.