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Zoe De Grussa

Interview with Zoe De Grussa

Zoe is a PhD Researcher at LSBU in the School of Engineering and she also completed her undergraduate degree in BSc (Hons) Engineering Product Design here. Currently she’s working as a Sustainability Engineer and Communications Designer for the British Blind and Shutter Association.

Zoe joined us during Part One of the event series to talk about her time at LSBU and a bit about her current role. This time round, Zoe will be going into more detail about some of the work she does and will be focusing on how daylighting can make a difference to the environment and your wellbeing….

Zoe, welcome back for Part Two of the event series! At the last event you spoke about how LSBU had helped to embed sustainability into your course, your thinking & career. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges in encouraging people to behave and think more sustainably?

I think a lot of us have the best intentions but changing the way people behave is very challenging. We need to be aware that our own day to day actions have an impact. Changing bad behaviours for good behaviours is very difficult. I am definitely guilty of having bad habits – turning the kettle, getting distracted and not making a cup of tea and then having to turn the kettle on again – is one that I repeat time and time again. It may sound silly, but doing this several times in a day, every day has an environmental impact that could be avoided. We can’t always be perfect but recognising that making small changes to our lifestyles and the way we behave can add up to making a significant difference.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Earlier this year I sat my Viva for my PhD and passed! I still have some corrections to do but this has by far been one of my proudest achievements. It is quite a lonely journey doing a PhD and I’ve always struggled with decision making but this really pushed me to become more decisive and confident in my decision-making process.

Tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

I have just started a new project which is continuing the collaboration between the British Blind and Shutter Association and LSBU. The project is part of a programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Low Carbon London with the aim of empowering the window blind trade to sell energy saving solutions. Very few people realise the energy saving potential of shading products - they help stop buildings getting to warm in summer, too cold in winter and opening them at the right times of day can help reduce the use of electric lighting. It is something the industry wants to promote and educate users in as often the energy saving benefits are overlooked and only aesthetics and visual comfort are thought about when it comes to choosing shading products.

You’ve studied at LSBU for a while. What words of wisdom can you share with our students, and the younger generations in our community, for their futures?

Make the most of the time you have here. Find out about the experiences of your lecturers - many of whom have or still work in the field your studying in - and make use of the resources available within the university. I suppose it is also worth saying your LSBU journey doesn’t end at graduation, there are a number of initiatives and opportunities the university has for alumni to get involved in. Make the most of them.

And finally, what’s next for you after your PhD?

Well the new project I have embarked on with BBSA is going to keep my busy for a while. I have also been asked by LSBU to help mentor LSBU students who are studying BSc (Hons) Product Design and Engineering Product Design  - the course I did as my undergraduate degree - so I’m looking forward to working and supporting them in developing there innovative design ideas. On a personal note I have just bought my first house which is a bit of a do-er upper, so I am looking forward to getting busy in my home workshop.

Zoe will be delivering her session on Friday 6th November on the day devoted to Wellbeing. Her talk is titled Lighten up! How daylighting can benefit your wellbeing & the environment.

For more information and to register for this event, which will be delivered online, visit the event page.

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you there!

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