What is your position at City Science?
My job title is Energy and Sustainability Consultant and I manage a number of different projects on decarbonising transport and energy.
I also work on a technical level in areas such as data analysis, building models, user interfaces, design, stakeholder engagement and generally helping out where needed.
How did you come to be working at City Science?
I’m here because I want to save the world!
I originally completed a Business Management degree at King's College London but after working for several years in a variety of roles, as well as travelling extensively, I realised I have a passion for sustainability and want to do good for the environment. It became a career goal to be in sustainability and to be able to make the biggest impact possible on decarbonisation over the course of my career.
While working in a previous role I signed up to do an Engineering degree at The Open University, specialising in environmental technologies. When I finished this in September 2020 and started looking for jobs, I heard of City Science and was excited about what they do.
I sent a speculative email to introduce myself and ended up having an amazing conversation with Laurence (Oakes-Ash, CEO). Other jobs I was looking at were trying to fit me into a box, but City Science is flexible and dynamic. They appreciated my unique skill set and created a role for me.
My previous career, for example, involved working in business development and training so I have experience in developing people and negotiating between teams. That’s been really helpful at City Science on the stakeholder engagement side. We want to create solutions that are going to be feasible and are going to be used in real life. We don't want to create them in isolation. So we always have a user engagement element to all of our projects. And yes, it's been really good to use these different skills within one role.
If I'd gone to one of the other companies, I wouldn’t have been utilising my entire skillset and therefore wouldn’t be making the biggest impact I can. I feel I've landed on my feet here because I've been given so many opportunities and have been entrusted with a variety of exciting and important projects. Laurence took a risk on me considering I had no previous experience in a role in this industry and I’m so glad he did as I can feel that I’m already making a difference.
Can you give examples of some projects you've been working on?
District heat networks
One project we’re working on aims to make it easier for councils, energy consultants and property developers to understand whether a district heat network will be viable, and then optimise the design. (District heat networks are a much more efficient way of providing houses with hot water, where a large central energy centre heats the water and pumps it in a continuous loop).
We’ve developed an evolutionary algorithm that avoids long, costly manual processes that are not properly optimised and instead provides a tool that designers can use to efficiently test all types of configurations to get the most efficient possible design. It will encourage more local authorities and engineers to test the viability of using a district heat network, because it will make this much easier and cheaper to do so, and make a higher percentage feasible because of the optimisation.
We’ve also been involved in lots of EV innovation. We recently released a whitepaper, which you can read here, to support local authorities with accelerating the shift to electric and zero carbon vehicles. I’m currently working on a project to enable more people to be able to charge an electric vehicle at home, supporting a client developing an innovative solution to safely allow households without off-street parking to trail the charging cable from their house to their car that's parked on the road.
If you could wave a wand to change one area of policy to help decarbonisation, what would it be?
We need to build policy that enables all areas of society to be able to travel in a carbon free way. Whether that’s helping people like me, living in flats and wanting to be able to charge an EV, helping people to reduce travel as much as possible, or more about developing Mobility as a Service systems. That means improving travel from public transport to active travel options in a really seamless way, having ‘Boris bikes’ available in every town, or having a better integrated bus and train network, where you just buy one ticket and you can go the whole way rather than needing to contend with booking multiple tickets for one journey.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I really love yoga asana! With the aim of enhancing my own practice, over the last year I have gained a yoga teaching certification and am currently enrolled on an advanced training course. So when I’m not working you will normally find me either practicing yoga or learning about it. I live near the beautiful Dartmoor and enjoy going for long walks. I’m also learning to play the drums.