People News

Our People: Zoe Dolan.

27/05/2021

Supporting the schools of the future.

Zoe works in our Performance group. Over the last four years she’s been ensuring that the buildings we work on perform to the best of their capabilities.

I grew up and studied in Dublin…

…and I have always enjoyed figuring out how things worked. So, naturally, I focused on forensic engineering at university.

My master’s thesis involved dropping weights on bovine tibias to see if I could predict when they’d fracture (not a great activity for a vegetarian…)

I joined Hoare Lea in 2017…

…as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer. In 2019, I moved to the Performance Group to start my career as a Performance Engineer. I now work with buildings after they’ve been handed over to try to find issues and improvements.

While buildings can be similar in design, every group of users will have unique experiences and priorities. Because of this, every project presents its own set of challenges.

Energy performance in schools…

…is becoming increasingly important as younger generations are more aware and knowledgeable about climate change.

When I was younger, we used to leave the showers running during gym class so that there’d be a sauna afterwards. Things have changed now, and I find it really encouraging to see how schoolchildren are holding their schools and governments to account.

The experience people have in buildings…

…is a key component of building performance.

Young people care about our planet’s future, so we must also assume that they care about how their school operates too.

I’ve been doing aftercare…

…at a school in Aylesbury for the past 18 months. It’s been really interesting seeing how energy consumption has changed throughout the pandemic.

Even though occupancy was low for most of the year, social distancing meant that the entire school had to remain open. We had to figure out how to reduce energy consumption while maintaining a safe and comfortable learning environment.

While this has been challenging, we’re now prepared for whatever the next year brings.

I’m looking forward to seeing…

…what the schools of the future look like.

I recently worked with Laing O’Rourke to see what would have to change in their standard school design to bring it in line with various low-carbon benchmarks.

The easy wins, like switching fluorescent bulbs for LEDs, are well known. But when you’re looking to half annual energy use, the entire design team needs to rise to the challenge.

I’m excited to see how it goes, necessity is the mother of invention…

In my spare time…

…I like to get out on my bike. During the first lockdown I got into long-distance cycling. It’s one of the few sports where eating while exercising is encouraged and that was enough for me!