Prism Expands our Leadership Team
We are excited to share that we have three new Associates and a new Principal who have joined the Prism leadership team this summer.
Prism Associates are individuals with the experience, expertise, and passion to help grow our company to have an even bigger impact. Each Associate takes on company-level responsibilities, leading different aspects of our business, from quality assurance to business development to employee wellbeing. Our Associates also support the growth and development of our junior team members and are key to fostering our company culture of care and collaboration.
Faisal Emami is a great example of how an individual can grow at Prism. Since Faisal’s start as a co-op student in 2015, he has grown to be a trusted advisor for clients and now leads our electrical systems assessments and design services for distribution, generators and sub-metering systems.
David Joo is another highly valued member of the Electrical team who leads electrical design services for new construction, renovations and fire alarm upgrades at Prism. David’s enthusiasm and positive attitude fosters collaborative relationships with Prism’s partners and clients, leading to exceptional project outcomes.
Christine Obee leads Prism’s presence in Victoria and is an integral part of the Sustainability team. Her work with sustainability engagement, training and green building certification has shaped Prism’s esteemed reputation in these key services.
Our new Principal
Prism Principals provide strategic vision and leadership for the company and demonstrate expertise and experience in their field of work. They exemplify drive, passion and personal ambition which inspires their colleagues and embodies Prism’s core values. We are very excited to welcome Hamid Samani in his new capacity as a principal.
Since Hamid joined Prism in 2019, he has provided outstanding leadership in key service areas including new construction, mechanical services for district energy, HVAC and low carbon electrification implementation. With more than 30 years of project, technical and industry experience, Hamid serves as a valued mentor to team members and is recognized by Fellow of Engineers Canada (FEC) for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the engineering profession in our country.
“I am excited by the addition of Faisal, David and Christine to our leadership team and by the expanded role that Hamid will have. Their drive and commitment are exemplary and will enable us to build on our past successes to help our clients meet their climate and energy goals. On behalf of the entire Prism team, we are grateful to have such passionate leaders to work alongside with.” – Robert Greenwald, President.
Read more about our leadership team here.
*Top banner photo taken at the August Prism/PUMA company meeting and lunch with about 50% of our team in attendance.
Reinforcing Strategic Energy Management through ISO 50001
Like many organizations, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has been making great strides in managing energy performance through various plans and initiatives over recent years. Always looking for ways to continually improve, TRU became interested in exploring ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems). ISO 50001 is an internationally recognized standard that provides a framework for implementing a robust and comprehensive strategic energy management (SEM) system or program.
TRU approached Prism to help explore ISO 50001 and determine what level of effort would be required to become self-compliant in the standard. With funding support from Natural Resources Canada and program support from BC Hydro, TRU engaged Prism to help from start to finish. To begin, Prism conducted an interactive gap analysis to determine what SEM program components were currently in place, and what gaps would need to be filled in order to comply with the standard. The gap analysis gave insights into the work to be completed, and a list of priority areas to focus on first. Prism is now in the early stages of supporting TRU to close these gaps and work towards full implementation of ISO 50001 by 2024.
By pursuing the ISO 50001 standard, TRU intends to make energy management an integral part of what the organization lives and breathes, including with staff, students, and faculty, all while supporting TRUs climate action goals.
Natalie Yao, TRU’s long-standing Energy Specialist has this to say about the whole process. “Prism’s experience with ISO 50001 and strategic energy management in general have made this process both engaging and a great learning experience for our team. The support offered by the Prism team provides us the confidence that we can reach our sustainability goals.”
For more information on ISO 50001 and to learn how pursuing the standard might benefit your organization, check out our webpage here or contact our ISO 50001 Service Lead, Sam Thomas, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Improve the reliability of electricity supply in your buildings
In the summer of 2021, places in B.C. broke temperature records and BC Hydro experienced 19 of its top 25 all-time summer daily peak demand records.
The weather caused concern for British Columbians around the availability of increased electrical supply during extreme weather events. In a survey conducted by BC Hydro, 76% of respondents said they are concerned about the reliability of their electricity supply because of climate change. 
While our electrical utilities are working diligently to continually increase the reliability and supply of electricity, the onus is also on us as building owners, managers, and consultants to act within the facilities we work with to be better prepared. That said, balancing electrical demand requirements with energy conservation and decarbonization goals, asset renewal, occupant comfort, safety, and climate resilience in our facilities can be a daunting task.
To help break this down into bite-size pieces, Faisal Emami, one of our Electrical Engineers, offers an approach that we apply to many of the facilities we work with at Prism.
- Review your utility data
- Look at your historical data for demand peaks to better understand your situation. Platforms such as PUMA make this particularly easy and insightful
- Assess your current situation
- Conduct a facility condition assessment to review the condition, capacity, and remaining asset life of your building systems. Pay particular attention to your current electrical service and identify where your bottleneck in capacity is.
- Determine your future electrical capacity needs
- Consider future requirements for EV charging, electrification of HVAC systems, and increased cooling needs during extreme weather events.
- Free up spare electrical capacity using demand side management (DSM)
- Assess opportunities for energy supply resiliency
- Alternative power sources such as solar photovoltaics and power banks may be good options for reducing your reliance on a single point of supply.
- Develop an implementation plan
- The plan should balance the outcomes of the previous steps with asset renewal and emissions targets.
- Develop a phased approach to upgrade your electrical service to allow for security of supply as we move into the future.
- Seek incentive funding support where available to help with studies, plans, and upgrades.
If this approach sounds like something your facilities could benefit from, reach out to us and our Electrical team will be happy to work with you to identify your needs and provide customized recommendations. Reach out to Faisal to learn more.
Building our team to support change
How do we change for the better? At Prism, we think about this every day.
For us, change means many things. We are known for our work supporting clients with building system improvements and energy efficiency projects. We also support change by helping our clients develop plans and programs that provide a roadmap for improving sustainability performance or reducing energy or emissions over the long term.
We also think about change in terms of our own company’s growth. With over three decades of experience, we know the value of building a strong team of individuals that work together to deliver high-value services. One such team is our Sustainability Team, which supports companies and organizations create a greener and more energy-efficient world.
Collectively, the Sustainability Team members leverage each other’s background in strategic planning, facilitation, coaching, change management, communications, training, and stakeholder engagement, to support clients as they work towards their sustainability and strategic energy management goals.
To continue to support our growth in these areas, we have welcomed some very talented and passionate team members over the last few months to the team (above, left to right): Taniell Hamilton, Shannon Hardman, and Nicole Huard.
Change isn’t always easy. It is a process and takes time and effort, therefore, it is essential to remember that small increments collectively create significant impact. It’s more critical now than ever for us to work towards impact– for the benefit of our organizations, communities, and the planet.
Building owners will reduce energy, save money with 5% tax credit
The Clean Building Tax Credit supports the CleanBC commitment to reduce provincewide emissions by 40% from 2007 levels and aligns with B.C.’s target to reduce emissions in buildings and communities by more than half by 2030.
Prism was invited to speak to local media at the Kitsilano Community Center on July 13th about how we support building owners to retrofit their buildings. The province was making an announcement of a new tax credit that will make energy retrofits for multi-unit residential and commercial buildings more affordable, saving owners 5% on retrofits to help reduce their energy use.
Our president, Robert Greenwald, spoke about the work Prism had completed with the City of Vancouver to retrofit the community centre. The building underwent heat-recovery improvements that nearly eliminated the need for natural gas to heat the facility. It also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80%.
Damian Stathonikos, president of the Building Owners and Managers Association of B.C. also expressed how the tax credit will help reduce the retrofit cost for building owners and lower energy expenses for tenants.
Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance, acknowledged that the upfront costs of these retrofits can be a challenge for people and the tax credit will help owners invest in cleaner energy retrofits.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, shared that “improved energy efficiency means fewer emissions, which is good for our environment and brings our existing building infrastructure closer to net-zero and our climate targets.”
As always, our team is happy to work with you to evaluate your retrofit needs and help you identify any rebates and incentives you can leverage.
Learn more about the tax credit and eligibility criteria here.
View the full news release here.
Read more about our work with Kitsilano Community Centre here.
Same vision, new perspectives
We are excited to announce the launch of our new website this month!
Following Prism’s 30th anniversary in 2020 and the start of the global pandemic, it seemed to be a good time to reflect and re-examine how we provide value to our community.
We needed our digital presence to reflect these changes and help us articulate our ability to make an impact and help our clients create a greener, more energy-efficient world
Our service offerings have also expanded from a focus on energy management to integrating more closely with our other specialties including electrical and mechanical engineering, utility monitoring, and sustainability consulting.
You will find an extensive array of projects that we have supported across various sectors and service areas. We continue to take pride in providing quality, innovative and insightful solutions for complex engineering and sustainability situations.
At Prism, we have built and will continue to build a robust resource library to share our knowledge on timely topics related to our fields. You will also find energy calculators to identify levels of efficiency across various systems such as condensing boilers, pumps, motors, etc.
Go ahead and look around. Let us know if there is anything else you’d like to see.
We’d love to hear about your projects and how we might help with your energy-reducing needs.
Together We Can – Empowering Change Through Collaboration
One of the great things about working as a consultant is the opportunity to be involved in various projects across a diverse range of sectors and settings. In striving to make our planet more sustainable, we take it upon ourselves to share and exchange knowledge and best practices with our peers.
“As an organization, we believe that everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change. The more we can do to empower others through collaboration, the better off we’ll be collectively,” shares Sam Thomas, Director of Marketing, Nelson Branch Manager, and Principal.
Whether it is volunteering on an association board, participating in a steering committee, or mentoring youth on exciting “green careers,” our work outside of client projects enrich knowledge and strengthen the communities we serve.
Ari Spiegel, one of our Energy Engineers and Associates (pictured above on the far left), share that he really enjoys being an active board member of the Association of Energy Engineers (Vancouver Chapter). “We identify relevant issues affecting the energy management industry and work to educate ourselves on the latest trends and technology. It’s rewarding to witness how our events increase our members’ motivation and engagement to make powerful collective change.”
Robert Greenwald, our President, knows that climate change action needs a stronger response from the private sector and not just the public sector. He joined the Catalyst Business Alliance to advocate for actions Prism supports, specifically around CleanBC. “Our work together as a steering committee included consultations with the provincial government on priority setting and encouraging action on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) by sharing our stories with members. We knew we made an impact when Minster Heyman expressed that he appreciated our advocacy and that the province is committed to making climate change a priority for the BC government,” Robert expressed.
Education is also a key element in fueling our future talent. Lizz Hodgson, one of our Energy Management Engineers, recently volunteered her time to be a mentor and speak about her career and experiences at the 2022 Green Bricks Futures Career Conference. “I could see how excited the high school students were about the career options and how they can make an impact on the environment. Their engagement was great! It was an inspiring and rewarding experience for me personally and I know I would have loved something like this when I was making education and career choices.” To reach older audiences at the post-secondary level, Robert has been a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the Sustainable Energy Management Advanced Certificate (SEMAC) program at BCIT since the program’s inception in 2009.
We are always excited to share ideas and challenge each other to go beyond the status quo for action on climate change.
How are you contributing to growing the knowledge base in the industries that you work in?
Prism Opens Okanagan Office in Kelowna
With the demand for our services growing in the Okanagan and Southern Interior region, we are proud to announce that our Kelowna office opened for business at the Innovation Centre on Doyle Avenue last week!
We are excited to be providing local support to our existing clients including the City of Kelowna, Interior Health, FortisBC and regional governments. Specifically, our Mechanical Designer, Bartjan Kiers, will be working more closely on mechanical and energy management projects in the region. Nicole Huard, our Sustainability and Climate Action Specialist, will also be working from Kelowna to provide support for climate action and sustainability projects in the region.
If you are travelling in the area or know of anyone that may benefit from our services, feel free to drop by and say hi at 460 Doyle Avenue or email Bart at Bartjank@prismengineering.com.
Low Carbon Resilience to Climate Change Hazards
2021 was a difficult year for many in BC. From summer wildfires brought on by high temperatures and drought conditions to fall flooding from extreme rain events, the impacts of a changing climate are all around us and are more evident than ever. While disaster response and remediation are essential, they are also short-term, reactive solutions.
As we begin 2022 and look now to the future, climate science tells us that such extreme weather events and the hazards that go with them are likely to persist and increase in frequency and severity. So, what are we to do? We must learn to adapt. We must increase our resilience to climate change hazards through a proactive, not reactive, approach while simultaneously working to reduce emissions so that the long-term effects of climate change are reduced.
So, what is Low Carbon Resilience and why do we need it?
An organization works towards low carbon resilience when it chooses to pursue climate change mitigation and adaptation simultaneously, while also considering the co-benefits of each. Climate change mitigation work seeks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and prevent climate change. Climate change adaptation work seeks to respond to the impacts of climate change. For buildings, this means working to reduce a facility’s vulnerability to current and future climate change hazards such as extreme rain events, flooding, high temperatures and forest fires.
Historically these two areas of work, mitigation and adaptation, have often been siloed and worked on either by different parts of an organization or at different points in time through separate planning processes but there are many advantages to pursuing them simultaneously.
Advantages to pursuing mitigation and adaptation work simultaneously include:
- Project management cost savings (from streamlining planning processes and reducing the occurrence of contradictory or doubled-up work)
- Improved property value
- Improved occupant comfort & safety
- Improved air quality
- Green job creation
- And many more
One of the primary sources of GHG emissions in buildings is energy use, particularly for heating. Therefore, energy efficiency improvements, when undertaken strategically with climate hazards in mind, can help to increase a building’s resiliency while simultaneously reducing its GHG emissions. Some examples include improving the building envelope, upgrading HVAC filtration systems, and installing renewable energy generation or storage.
Regardless of where you are on your journey towards low carbon resilience, Prism can help. Prism’s sustainability and energy management teams can leverage their strategic planning and stakeholder engagement expertise to help you design low carbon and resilient climate action, sustainability and strategic energy management plans and policies. These plans and policies will focus on your organization’s priorities in areas such as: GHG emissions reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction and zero-emission vehicle fleet transition.
Our electrical and mechanical teams can help you with facilities assessments, feasibility studies and building design and upgrades to assess and improve your buildings. We can help you identify a wide range of low carbon resilience opportunities in areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, low carbon electrification, and fleet charging infrastructure. We can also help with disaster relief and recovery when it is called for.
By planning early and considering climate change adaptation and mitigation simultaneously you can help your organization to increase its low carbon resilience now and into the future.
Join the EV evolution
There were more than 60,000 light-duty electric vehicles (EV) on BC’s roads in 2021. As one of North America’s leaders in EV adoption, the number of EV vehicles in BC are expected to surpass 200,000 by the year 2026 and 300,000 by 2028. Many businesses and residences will require upgrades to meet the new demand for EV charging as drivers will need to recharge at home, work, school, or leisure facilities.
The benefits of improved air quality, greenhouse gas and noise reduction, and sustainable economic development have already prompted many municipalities to require EV charging infrastructure in new residential and commercial developments.
How can facility managers, building owners and property managers of residences, public facilities, commercial and industrial buildings prepare?
Prism has worked with numerous organizations in the province to complete feasibility studies, evaluate the electrical infrastructure requirements and provide updated recommendations for building and municipal bylaw updates to plan for this evolution.
We asked our electrical engineers for their top tips on EV charging infrastructure. Here is what they shared:
- Take advantage of rebates and incentives
- CleanBC is offering rebates for EV Ready plans, EV ready infrastructure, and EV chargers – learn more here.
- NRCan offers a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Program for multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs) – read more here.
- CleanBC Go Electric Fleets Program offers funding to reduce barriers for the adoption of ZEVs – review program requirements here.
- Be mindful of challenges most MURB stratas face. This includes infrastructure cost approval, load sharing, limited space within electrical rooms and costly network fees.
- Consider load management or load sharing for constrained electrical systems. This can be done at the circuit, panel, or system level.
- Review and familiarize yourself with manufacture, municipal, and utility provider guidelines and requirements.
- Plan for the long-term. You will save money if you do all your coring and trenching at the same time and use conduits large enough to be used for future expansion rather than having to do it each time a new charging station needs to be installed.
- Don’t forget about fleet vehicles. With more medium and heavy-duty EV options becoming available, it is a good time to start evaluating ZEVs to reduce your organization’s GHG emissions.
Our Electrical team will be happy to work with you to identify your needs and provide customized recommendations. Reach out to us to learn more.