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Pursuing a career in energy efficiency

Engineering is a constantly evolving field and, thankfully, it continues to draw in amazing people who care about having an impact. We caught up with three members of our Energy Team about why they chose to pursue a career in energy efficiency, and some of the experiences that shaped their interests along the way.

Lizz Hodgson is an Energy Management Engineer (EIT) with a mechanical design and project management background. She’s also a LEED Green Associate and is passionate about helping organizations save energy. An avid splitboarder and trail runner, Lizz says she was drawn to the mountains and moved a few years ago from Ontario. Now she’s a member of the Alpine Club of Canada and tries to get outside whenever she can along with her 2-year old dog and adventure buddy.

At Prism, you’ll find her busy working on energy studies and recommending measures to help buildings perform better through optimizing controls or equipment retrofits.

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"I wanted a career where I felt like I was directly contributing and in an industry that has a positive impact on the world. Addressing climate change is a real challenge, and as an engineer I want to use my skills to be a part of the solution. Prism is one of the leading energy management companies in BC. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to apply to Prism when I saw the job description! Two things make work feel rewarding for me: feeling impactful and building relationships. The Energy Team is all about helping reducing energy consumption and getting to work with a variety of clients." - Lizz

Alec Suriyuth also hails from Ontario and, having recently moved, he’s excited to be diving into a whole new city and part of Canada. With an interest in photography and mountain biking, earlier in the summer, he raced a round of the Enduro World Series for mountain biking in Madeira, Portugal. Before joining Prism, he also spent three months over the winter traveling in Thailand, which he says was full of amazing moments.

At Prism, Alec has been intent on learning and gaining experience and has been supporting a variety of projects, from energy audits and energy modelling, measurement and verification for a local school to a LEED recertification project.

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"Prism’s work, history and core values really align with what I believe in. I studied Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering at Carleton in Ottawa and focused a lot on building science and sustainability, and Prism seemed like a great opportunity to build on that knowledge. One of Prism’s core values is to help create a greener, more efficient world, which I really connect with. I think it’s essential for everyone to take seriously in our lives. Continuous improvement is also a value I share that applies to everything I do." - Alec

Kirstin Besemann works out of our Kootenay office in Nelson, BC. Like Lizz and Alec, she’s an avid skier and mountain biker, and loves to be outdoors. She’s also taken up juggling and unicycling. A few years ago, motivated to learn more about green building in a hands-on setting, she travelled to New Mexico and Colorado to volunteer building Earthships. Seeing the off-grid buildings in action inspired her to apply green building concepts to more traditional buildings as well. Before joining Prism, she worked as a carpenter’s assistant (including renovating a Geodesic dome!) and says the experiences helped improve her understanding of mechanical and electrical systems.

At Prism, she has worked on various energy audits and studies, including two airports, as well as farm energy assessments. She also helped put together the 6thAnnual PUMA Benchmarking Reports for municipalities, institutions and school districts across BC.

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"I have a strong emotional drive to help create a more sustainable society so that the planet can be healthy for generations to come. I think energy efficiency is a big part in the solution and I am excited to work in this field. I chose to study Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering because I want to make an impact. I’m happy I was able to find work that is impactful! Understanding how buildings work and how the different systems tie together, going to site, making sense of the building and finding energy measures at the same time. Feels like a treasure hunt." - Kirstin

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Photos: top - Kirstin canoeing | above - Lizz with her dog and Alec racing in the Enduro World Series (credit: Andrew Santoro)