Welcoming our newest Associates

We are excited to share that we have five new Associates joining the Prism leadership team this fall. Prism Associates are individuals with the experience, expertise, and passion to support our clients in creating a greener, more energy-efficient world.

Each Associate takes on company-level responsibilities, leading different aspects of our business, from quality assurance to business development to employee engagement. Our Associates support the growth and development of our junior team members and are key to fostering our company culture of care and collaboration.

Our new Associates:

Tim Aske is a valued member of the Energy Team and maintains a high standard in client deliverables by carrying out technical reviews for Energy Team projects. He currently leads the Fault Detection Diagnostics, Recommissioning and Direct Digital Control services within Prism.

Sarah Colman is an integral part of the Sustainability Team, leading the Sustainability Strategy and Reporting Service areas. She will be working with the Marketing team to set the direction for Prism’s long-term marketing plan and leading the company’s B Corp assessment.

Adam Franklin currently leads Electrification and Electric Vehicle, Lighting & Lighting Controls and Power Quality Service areas at Prism. Clients know Adam as consistently delivering high quality work and acting as technical reviewer for electrical projects.

Lyn Papio has stepped into the role of the People, Culture and Operations Team Leader and has been instrumental in helping the company respond to the many challenges we faced in the last couple of years all while continuing to dedicate her energy to supporting the employee experience at Prism and PUMA

Ari Spiegel leads the Energy Audits and Training Service teams. As an avid teacher and enthusiast for energy management, Ari will also be providing leadership to Prism’s sister organization, PUMA, and supporting them in their business development efforts.

“We are very fortunate to have these individuals who are passionate and dedicated to their work join the leadership team at Prism. Each of them has demonstrated their willingness and ability to mentor others and share their knowledge to create value for our clients. Together, along with every Prism employee, we look forward to helping our clients make an impact.” – Robert Greenwald, Principal and President.

Learn more about our current opportunities and reasons to join the Prism team.

Making the most of rebates and incentives

Financial support for energy conservation and climate action projects through rebates and incentives is a critical component of helping many projects proceed. However, without knowing which funding options work best for your project, it’s possible you may be missing out.
Rebate programs can help to offset 50-100% of the cost of an energy study and as much as $1M towards the cost of retrofits.  Sometimes more than one incentive program can be applied to a single project, while some programs may offer less for a study but more for implementation.  Understanding these programs and which one will offer the most value to your project can be confusing and time consuming.

Although many of us are aware of various rebates and incentive programs that support energy and carbon reduction projects, learning about new programs and keeping up to date with changes is important if we want to maximize the funding available and get projects moving.

Some tips from Prism’s team when you’re looking at rebate and incentive options include:

  1. See if the program will offer an incentive for implementation of measures once the study is complete if you’re conducting a study first.
  2. Consider whether the program favours energy savings or carbon reduction and how this aligns with your priorities.
  3. Check that the program timeline works for your project and aligns with your internal funding schedule.
  4. Understand any measurement and verification (M&V) requirements and the impact of equipment performance on the incentive.
  5. Read the fine print – see if there any claw backs associated with not implementing the project.

While the Prism team can help educate and navigate you on various programs, there are also several useful online resources available to help.  Below is a summary of our ‘go to’ resources you might find beneficial:

Resource Sector
Comprehensive incentive list by province and sector All
BC Community Climate Funding Guide Local governments & Indigenous Communities
Community Energy Association – Funding Guides
BC and Alberta
Local governments
CleanBC Better Buildings All
BC Hydro Programs & Incentives All
FortisBC Programs & Incentives All
Goverment of Canada Climate Adaptation Funding All

Here’s what some of our clients have shared about the value of finding the right incentive program:Now is a great time to consider possible funding contributions to your projects through rebates and incentives.  Momentum continues to build around deep carbon reduction in the built environment, and so too does the funding programs and incentives out there to help support it.

“Prism has been instrumental in maximizing the City of Port Moody’s investment to reduce emissions from civic facilities. They identified several funding options for the City to consider and worked with staff to customize an approach that maximizes the City’s investment and meets all project goals. Prism has led the City’s team through the funding application by researching and laying out application requirements, tracking application components, and preparing key documents.”
-Laura Sampliner, Sustainability and Energy Coordinator, City of Port Moody
“The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has found the custom study from Prism and the FortisBC incentives invaluable to progressing energy saving actions in corporate buildings. Incentives offered for the study and the incentives in the study have received high-5s and smiles from the engineering and finance departments. Without these incentives, it is doubtful an engineering report of this calibre would have been affordable.”
-Jeremy Dresner, Senior Energy Specialist, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Depending on whether you are considering funding for a study only, or study followed by implementation, the best incentive program to maximize your overall contributions might not be the most obvious path.

Contact Sam Thomas if you’re unsure about which funding path to pursue, and we’d be happy to help guide you in the right direction!

Operators Training Results in $140,000 in Energy Savings

“As a technician, being able to implement energy saving activities and knowing how to make adjustments for sustainability in our buildings has been very rewarding,” says Bob DePaiva, Colliers Building Operator.

In 2019, Prism worked with the Colliers Energy & Sustainability Manager and General Vancouver Operations Manager to design and deliver the “Colliers Building Operator Challenge”. The year-long challenge provided quarterly training sessions, ‘take-home’ exercises, and participation prizes. It gave operators the opportunity to come together to learn, discuss, and share ideas about saving energy in their buildings.

The combination of training, discussion and easy-to-implement actions meant operators not only learned how to identify and implement energy saving strategies, they were inspired and motivated to apply these learnings.

Before Prism designed the challenge and accompanying training sessions, a survey was conducted to understand operator needs and desires as well as what would motivate them to participate in the upcoming challenge.

“We believe that a thorough understanding of our audience is key to developing initiatives that will engage and educate. Our survey results allowed us to narrow in on topics that were most relevant to the group and to structure the challenge in a way that positioned operators to ‘do the best job they can’. This was the number one motivator operators identified for participating in the challenge,” shares Christine Obee, Sustainability Engagement Specialist at Prism Engineering.

Once the challenge wrapped up, PUMA, a web-based utility monitoring software, was used by Nicky Arthur, Energy & Sustainability Manager at Colliers to analyze energy savings. Evidenced by energy usage data and the absence of other capital projects that could have reduced emissions, Nicky concluded that the bulk of these savings were attributable to low and no-cost actions, such as those covered in the training sessions.

“We wanted to measure the actual savings that could be attributed to actions by our operators.  Based on feedback from our team, we realized that many of the measures they implemented had a significant effect on gas consumption – things like altering Direct Digital Controls (DDC) schedules and setpoints,” shared Nicky.

When comparing 2019 (with the Operator Training Program in place) to 2018:

  • Electricity consumption savings increased from 10.5% to 12.8%
  • Natural gas consumption savings increased from 0% to 4.8%
  • Overall energy consumption savings increased from 7.5% to 10.3%
  • Overall energy cost savings increased from 10.2% to 12.5%

The estimated energy saving attributed to the building operators after their training is 2,584,372 ekWh (9300 GJ), or 2.8%. This is equal to saving over $140,000 annually. Emissions saved equals 264 tCO2e.

Climate Action Planning and Strategies for Low Carbon Resilience

At Prism we recognize that the key to our success is our people. This fall, we are fortunate to have another passionate, experienced sustainability professional join our team.

Julianne Pickrell – Barr joins the Sustainability Team as our Climate Action Specialist.

Julianne will be helping our clients tackle the complexities of both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Julianne will be helping organizations assess their GHG emissions footprint, identify reduction opportunities, and develop practical, action-based sustainability and climate action plans. At the same time, she will be helping organizations conduct climate hazard assessments, identify low carbon resilience strategies and develop adaptation plans for future climatic conditions.

“Julianne brings a unique combination of knowledge and skills to our team. With a background in marketing and extensive experience in energy management, zero-emission vehicle adoption, GHG tracking and reporting, policy evaluation and climate action planning, our clients will truly appreciate her ability to engage and educate as a subject matter expert,” shares Sarah Smith, our Sustainability Team Lead.

When asked about joining Prism, Julianne reflects that “I was drawn to Prism because it has an excellent reputation in the industry and is known for doing interesting and impactful work. I look forward to working with diverse organizations to meet their climate action goals. During my time as the Manager of Energy and Environmental Sustainability for the Abbotsford School District, I had the opportunity to establish and work on a variety of collaborative, cross-departmental teams which helped to guide the district’s overall environmental sustainability goals and increase participation in environmental sustainability initiatives. I found the process of strategic planning, implementation and coaching very rewarding and look forward to applying my skills at Prism.

Julianne is currently completing her master’s degree in Resource Management (Planning) and is also a member of the Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team (START) at Simon Fraser University. Her research project is focused on zero-emission vehicle and alternative fuel vehicle adoption in organizations.

Outside of the home office these days, Julianne enjoys biking, cooking, gardening, and back woods camping – “the kind where nature is all around us and the silence is deafening” she adds.

In particular, she enjoys being able to grow her own food. Most recently, her garden has yielded over 30 lbs of potatoes and a variety of apples and berries.

Julianne grew up in British Columbia and spent a lot of her time in the great outdoors. This has instilled in her a lifelong desire to find ways for humanity to better coexist in balance with nature.

Learn more about our current opportunities and reasons to join.

Engaging Employees in Sustainability: 4 Insights from Supporting the Government of Canada

Real Property Services (RPS), a branch of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), hired Prism to support their efforts to engage employees in embedding sustainability actions into operations across Canada.

A multi-year project from 2019-2021, we developed a Communication Plan and supporting employee engagement materials to help RPS employees understand what sustainability actions they need to integrate into their work. Based on our time working together, we’ve pulled together four reflections that we believe are important for any successful sustainability strategy and implementation project.

The 4 insights:

1. Change is a process, not an event. 

At its core, integrating sustainability commitments into organizational practice is a change management project. We know that change doesn’t happen overnight; individuals will move through change at their own pace.

For this project, RPS is asking employees across the country to make changes to current work processes that will take time, resources and require critical thinking and problem solving. We worked with RPS to develop communication materials and a plan that provide employees with the information and support they need to move from awareness to execution.

2. Customize communication to your target audience(s).

Successfully implementing a change management project depends on effective communication and engagement with the people involved in the change. In the case of RPS, we segmented the audience into three groups: senior leadership, middle management and teams.

Research and experience tell us that senior leaders provide the authority and credibility necessary for successful change. They must be active and visible sponsors. Middle management is the group most likely to resist change, but also best positioned to coach and influence their teams. Individual employees and teams are at the heart of organizational change and, ultimately, a project’s success is dependent on their ability to adopt new ways of working.

At RPS, we consulted and learned about each of these stakeholder groups to understand their motivators and barriers to support the integration of sustainability actions. Based on the results, we tailored communication and engagement initiatives to speak to the right person, with the right message, at the right time, in the right place.

3. Design with the end-user in mind.

We developed all of our communication and engagement materials for the project with the end-user in mind. Through consultation and collaboration with employee groups across the country, we asked questions to understand how departmental processes work, what challenges employees foresaw with the rollout, what support systems would be helpful, as well as perspectives and attitudes about the project and its impact. The result is a plan and suite of materials that employees already support and are practical for them to use.

4. Collaborate and iterate.

Working with RPS felt like a true team effort. Instead of delivering lengthy drafts based on assumptions about content and direction, we collaborated during weekly working meetings to iterate content and make decisions. And, as we describe throughout this article, we engaged with stakeholder groups across the country to ensure we made informed decisions that listened to our audiences’ needs. The result is a plan and suite of materials that we are proud to see implemented across the country.

Our commitment

Our experience with this project highlights what we see time and time again: people are at the heart of change. At Prism, we’re committed to working with organizations to develop and implement sustainability strategies that engage people every step of the way.

Working on a sustainability strategy or implementation project? Learn how we can help