Alyse Falconer
Alyse Falconer
Associate Principal, Point Energy Innovations

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Close Up
  • What I Do

    Every day I design systems which are affect people’s everyday lives, whether they realize it or not.  Human beings spend the majority of the day inside a built environment.  I try my best to ensure that my HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system designs create comfortable environments for the occupant while hitting aggressive energy targets.  I am a Mechanical Engineer, which I am a consultant to architects, owners and real estate developers.  I complete energy analysis and load calculations to produce drawings that are used to build buildings!

    Most of my system designs target building energy efficiency savings of at least 30% energy savings when compared to traditional buildings.  Most clients I interact with realize the importance of sustainable building design and are aiming for Net Zero Energy balances, while some reach even further for Net Zero Water balances   Climate change and CO2 emissions are very real threats.  The United States has more CO2 emissions per person than any other nation in the world.  Buildings consume more energy than any other sector.  My influence as a design engineer allows me to directly affect energy consumed in this nation.  I have direct interaction with owners and I am able to communicate to them why their building should hit more aggressive energy targets.  I impact people’s lives by creating the environment they occupy, by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints of buildings all while being a female role model. 

  • Why Engineering?

    I was always good at math and science.  My mom pushed me to excel in these subjects, which were challenging but also very rewarding.  I also loved the arts and architecture.  I paired my two passions together and went to school for Architectural Engineering.  My mom helped me to find this path, her background as an artist and a pipe fitter heavily influenced me.

    My high school Calculus and Physics teacher Mrs. Taylor made science and math fun, interesting and easy to understand.  She had faith in me when I nervously asked her if women could be engineers.   She thought I would be an excellent engineer and asked me to come back after I graduated to speak to her high school students about engineering.

    My dad, a hardworking blue collar steel worker, went to school for engineering but didn’t finish school.  He was trying to pay for school and college at the same time and found it too difficult.  I asked him if he felt I could be an engineer.  He told me no, it was too tough and I couldn’t do it.  I decided I would show him and grind through the five years required for architectural engineering.  Looking back, he was there for every phone call, every question, and every late night tear session.  I realized over the course of my education that he was my biggest cheerleader, heartbroken that he never finished what he started.  He was my main motivation every day while I was at Penn State.

  • School Days

    I went to school at Penn State University at University Park, Pennsylvania.  I studied Architectural Engineering, which is a 5 year program in which you study both architecture and engineering.  I have a minor in Architectural Studies.

    While in college, Alyse volunteered with Engineers for a Sustainable World, completing a mission trip to Daule, Ecuador to build a levee to prevent a local village from flooding every lunar tide.  She also attended the Sedi de Roma study abroad program with the Architectural Engineering Department.  

  • My Day At Work

    My day can vary every day.  I can be inside my office or outside on a construction site for a building.  I often head to architects and real estate developers offices for meetings in which we work on building designs and coordination of systems.  At my office, I complete calculations, select equipment based on my calculations, write reports, create drawings for contractors to build.  Once a building is built, I will visit the building to ensure it has been built per my initial design and complete a quality assurance of the final building. 

  • Best Part

    I love working in a team and figuring out problems with others!  I love designing a system for a building, calculating my original assumptions, documenting my work and seeing the project come to completion.  It's an incredible feeling when you see a building come to life, which you've worked on for several years!

  • Proud Moments

    I have a few moments in my career that I'm very proud of.  I have two projects that I put my heart and soul into - One was a Math and Science Building for a local community college.  I was given this project at the beginning of my career and I was allowed to research it and figure the design out - Mostly on my own.  The project has achieved LEED Platinum status.  The other building was a Cancer Center Medical Office Building.  I worked on this project when my aunt had cancer.  It helped me during this difficult time within our family.

    Finally, the moment I was incredibly proud of was when I achieved an award from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) which I was nominated as the society's New Faces of Engineering.  The award was announced to our 55,000 members and written-up in local newspapers and online.  I was honored to have received this award. 

  • Challenges

    My biggest challenge has always been my own self doubt.  Sometimes, it can be really hard to be the only woman in a room.  It feels intimidating and overwhelming at times.  However, I think to all of my friends within the industry, both men and women who support a seat for women at the table.  It's easier to overcome that fear whenever you remember your circle of support.  When I decided to become an engineer, I didn't know any women in engineering, but now I hope I can be that example of a women engineer for all young girls out there considering a STEM career. 

  • My Family

    I've been married to my husband James for about 4 years now.  We have been together for 8 years in total.  We live in Oakland, California and we both work in San Francisco, California.  My mom and dad live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I grew up.  My brother and his wife live in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I have family all throughout the United States which is really fun!

  • Dreams and Goals

    My dreams and goals are to continue learning and expanding my engineering knowledge.  I hope to bridge the gap between technical knowledge and communication to our building design and construction teams.  I want to build better buildings through a fully collaborated team so that occupants feel their best in my buildings. 

  • Inspiration

    My dad and mom, my high school Physics teacher, Mrs. Taylor... Women who have inspired me include Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Ellevate Sallie Krawcheck, businesswoman Arianna Huffington, the Late Nina Gruen, Principal Sociologist of Gruen + Gruen in San Francisco, whom I was lucky enough to get to form a very brief friendship with.

     

    Sheryl Sandberg's book LeanIn was very inspirational to me as well as Nina Gruen's book Believe it Or Not: The Challenges Facing One Professional Woman a Half Century Ago. 

  • Want to be an Engineer?

    Just go out there and give it your all.  You'll always think there are people doing it better than you, but they aren't.  Women need to stop doubting themselves and start to become their own cheerleaders.  Engineering degrees can be very difficult, but it's worth it once you get into the field.  As a career, engineering can be very rewarding and teaches you valuable analytical skills that can translate into different areas. 

    Don't be afraid to ask questions - I used to be afraid in college as I thought my classmates were smarter than I was.  They weren't.  They were learning the same things I was and I should have asked MORE questions to make sure I really understood the subject material. 

    Also, always ask people for coffee, lunch, advice, input, whatever!  People who have done well in their own careers are usually pretty eager to share.  Find those people and ask them how they accomplished their career. 

  • Hobbies

    I love to cook, like I really love to cook probably more than anything.  It clears my mind by allowing me to explore foods and different cultures.  I enjoy creating healthy and satisfying dishes for my friends and family.  I think just about any problem or issues can be solved when you're sitting at a table with people you love and enjoy.  

    I also enjoy photography, traveling and working out.  I'm really into mental health right now.  Yoga, meditation, hiking, etc.  All of these activities help you to balance your life and rejuvenate your mind. 

Biography

Alyse Falconer is an Associate Principal at Point Energy Innovations, an MEP consulting firm specializing in highly cost-effective net-zero energy and sustainable buildings. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a bachelors of Architectural Engineering and a minor in Architectural Studies.

As a registered Professional Engineer & LEED Accredited Professional, Alyse creates system designs which positively impact the environment by reducing buildings’ energy consumption and carbon footprints. She is often the driving force behind sustainable design solutions, working with teams’ of engineers and architects to bring innovation to the forefront of design. Alyse’s responsibilities include designing efficient mechanical systems, optimizing envelope construction and implementing energy conservation measures in schools, hospitals, offices, and laboratories. She has designed, managed, and completed multiple LEED, CHPS, Net Zero Energy, and Passive House projects. 

Alyse has a passion for business development, networking with peers and continuing her knowledge of the industry sector. She spends much of her personal time at local AIA functions, Urban Land Institute (ULI) events, and San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) evenings. She enjoys learning about the industry within the Bay Area and around the country.

Alyse acknowledges the importance of continuing her own education through continuing education courses at University of California, Berkeley’s Extension. She has completed the following courses: Load Calculations and Psychrometrics, HVAC Building Controls and Basic Corporate Finance.

An active volunteer in ASHRAE, Alyse was recently awarded the New Faces in Engineering Award, which recognizes the outstanding talents, skills, and abilities of engineering leaders ages 30 or younger. Alyse has given multiple presentations throughout the building community, both locally and nationally, including ASHRAE and GreenBuild. She spends time volunteering with First Graduate, a mentorship program for students who aspire to become the first college graduates in their family. 

As a female engineer, Alyse has made it her mission to help younger females not be dissuaded by engineering and other technical career choices but rather embrace the possibilities that lie ahead. She strongly believes in equality in the work place, especially regarding STEM careers. Alyse hopes one day that it will be an equal split of men and women within the engineering and science workforces.

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