University of Vermont

Jeffords Hall

Career Pathways

by Richard P. Smith III '13, CEF Summer Intern

While working with both the clean energy fund of the University of Vermont and the CHA engineering firm I have been able to reflect on possible career options for my future. Much of the work and involvement I'm experiencing this summer holds much relevance to possible career options I have interest in. While working under CHA's leadership I've gained experience in site surveying for various renewable energy systems such as Solar PV, Wind Power, and Solar and Geothermal Heating and Cooling. This involves knowing what about an area works or doesn't work for each system, being able to measure the potential of the system and then formating the field data into a report that clearly explains to the site owner or manager what's going on. The report informs on cost and payback, size and installation needs, and proposed system design.


Site surveying for different renewable energies has become my major interest when it comes to just out-of-school career options. I find that this occupation holds a great balance in many aspects. There are elements of both being outside, on-site in different environments and working in an office. This also comes with working both with others, whether it be members of a team or people connected to the site being surveyed, and as an individual. The site survey is the initial stages of a renewable energy system project. Understanding the potential of a location and being able to report information about this potential to the project manager is an attempt at conception of a life of the project. Without this primary connection projects with great potential may never become fertile and defunct projects may be pursed only to then fail, causing loss of money and resources.This position also makes connections with other positions I have interest in such as system installations and designs.


This summer I have been conducting energy audits at some of the Universities Farms. Working in this environment and understanding where energy is used and where it can be produced has gotten me interested in pursuing a future career in working with farms specifically in Surveying, Design, and Installation of both passive and active renewable energy systems. Farms are one of the major energy consuming facilities that are necessary for the continuation of the human population. Focusing efforts on making these areas fully self sustaining , closed loop systems will ensure that when we do find ourselves with limited fossil fuels, we will still be able to produce the pure necessities of life. These areas will be so naturally beautiful and harmonious that they will even function as ideal retreats for those suffering from modern societies' downfall. It may take some adjusting to, but in the dispare of not being able to drive our gas guzzling vehicles, we may find relief in an environment where we've achieved a spot in the cycle of nature.