Carlos Flores, M.AIRAH
Raised in Chile and residing in Australia for more than a decade, Carlos Flores, M.AIRAH, is a mechanical engineer by trade and the director of the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). Flores has a background in power generation and renewable energy. He has been working with NABERS since 2009.
The government-run sustainability rating scheme (initially launched in 1998 as the Australian Building Greenhouse rating) is now a leading standard for green buildings in Australia. NABERS continues to transform the property sector through its assessment of energy efficiency, carbon emissions, indoor environment quality, water use and waste production.
Flores was drawn to the HVAC&R industry due to its potential to fight climate change and reduce energy use.
With the looming challenge of creating a carbon-free future, he says he is encouraged by the industry's ability to adapt and innovate.
What brought you to the HVAC&R industry?
I became interested in HVAC because I wanted to make a contribution to the fight against climate change. Energy use is the largest contributor to carbon emissions, and HVAC&R is one of the largest users of energy around the world. There is no solution to climate change without finding more sustainable ways to condition the buildings we spend most of our time in.
How long have you been a member of AIRAH?
Since 2013 I believe. It’s been so long it is hard to remember the exact date.
What's your favourite HVAC&R-related memory?
I grew up near where the Andes reach their top height, a short ride from the snow. I love the feeling of coming downhill from near 4,000m above sea level in absolutely freezing conditions, and finding a warm and cosy hut to have a hot drink. What would winter sports be without heating?
What's something everyone should know about you, your work, or the HVAC&R industry?
My best sport was always tennis, which I played competitively for many years growing up. I eventually ended up hating it and dropping out to play sports I was much worse at, such as soccer or basketball.
It took me years to understand the reason why: tennis is an individual sport, where you win or lose alone. You don’t experience the satisfaction of helping others who are having a bad day, or knowing that someone will be there for you when you need support.
It helped me realise I have a natural preference for activities where you can win as a team, rather than as an individual. It is one of the things that I love about working at NABERS. I am surrounded by colleagues who are not just talented and passionate about sustainability, but are also generous team players. They have my back and I hope they know I have theirs.
How do you see the HVAC&R industry developing over the next 100 years?
In the next couple of decades, we will have to find a way to provide carbon-free HVAC&R globally. This will be a major challenge for the industry, as this will need to occur alongside a huge expected growth in heating and cooling demand from developing countries like my own.
Having seen incredible change in HVAC over the past decade, I am confident we have the collective drive, skills and creativity to tackle that challenge.