Kiernan Salmon

"I like to stretch what’s possible and see how far I can push things, giving others some freedom to creatively approach a problem."

Kiernan Salmon is a project developer in the Facilities Management (FM) Energy Conservation Office (ECO), creating two-way communication about campus energy usage and brainstorming innovative energy saving solutions.

While studying towards her Environmental Science and Management bachelor’s degree, Kiernan (’13) interned in the FM Energy Conservation Office (ECO). After some post-graduation traveling, Kiernan returned to ECO full-time to continue educating people about campus energy and giving them the ability to provide feedback about their own thermal comfort. Kiernan is now a project developer working on the Campus Energy Feedback System (CEFS), which includes the Campus Energy Education Dashboard (CEED) and TherMOOstat, featuring Joules the Cow.

Kiernan and her team created CEFS to facilitate two-way communication about campus energy. The CEED portal allows visitors to view (among other things) which buildings use the most energy, while TherMOOstat allows members of the campus community to share whether their room is too hot, too cold, or just right. This feedback, as well as data collected from building energy meters, helps ECO develop energy saving projects, while improving thermal comfort in work, play and study areas. Kiernan and her team get a lot of, “wouldn’t it be great if…” suggestions from students and staff. These ideas assist Kiernan and her team to develop efficient solutions.

As a recent intern, Kiernan, and ECO as a whole, is great about offering meaningful internship opportunities. Through internships prior to ECO, Kiernan wasn’t offered a lot of opportunity for creativity. She often found procedures monotonous, which isn’t how she manages projects now. Instead, she gives her staff and interns clear instructions, a timeline, any necessary tools, and trusts them to complete the task however they determine best. According to Kiernan, “I like to stretch what’s possible and see how far I can push things, and give others some freedom to creatively approach a problem.”

Kiernan helps ensure her colleagues’ success by building her own capacity to lead, which includes completing SD&PS’ Developing as a Supervisor certificate series. While it’s often common for supervisors to have performed the jobs of those they supervise, that isn’t the case with Kiernan. Her background is in environmental science, and she supervises web developers and graphic designers. To ensure their success, Kiernan facilitates regular meetings with the whole team as well as monthly individual meetings to discuss team members’ projects and their goals. She then seeks out opportunities to aid their professional development and improve their overall work experience.

Working at FM has been a great experience for Kiernan. She spends her days exploring how energy is used on campus and how to improve its efficiency - to make better use of resources and to improve thermal comfort on campus. The communication tools they create are interactive, visually appealing and most importantly, user friendly. At the end of the day, Kiernan hopes to “get more people excited about energy efficiency on campus and engaged in the data behind it.”