The EarthCraft crew is growing! We’re excited to welcome Elizabeth Karlsson, the new Fellow for Residential Sustainability Services, to our ranks. Surrounded by the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, we sat down to learn how Elizabeth joined our team:

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you go to school? Where were you before Southface?

I grew up in Houston and spent my first two years of college at GWU in Washington D.C. I then moved to Atlanta to attend GA Tech and study civil engineering. Before Southface I worked a spring season at Pike Nurseries and at a saltwater aquarium shop called the Fish Store, and before that I worked for about a year and a half at Winter Construction based here in Atlanta.

What excites you the most about working in the environmental industry?

I am pretty outdoorsy and love plants and animals, so I was excited to be able to work in an industry that would combine all of the knowledge I have about building and engineering and use it to do something good for the environment at the same time.

What interested you the most about working for Southface?

I remember taking the tour of Southface back in one of my classes at Tech, and I was really intrigued by the idea of working in a place that is a showcase for all of the technology and the philosophies they encourage. A lot of the solutions are so simple, but so impactful on how well the building functions in its environment. It’s great to be reminded of those things every day. I also loved the green roof and all the gardens on site. They’re still here!

What work will you be doing for EarthCraft?

Right now I’m starting my first assignments, which include helping our EarthCraft House program find out how efficiently homes use water, and finding out if there is a way to re-write a few sections in our EarthCraft Communities program so that they are easier for developers to understand and put into practice. I also get to test homes around Atlanta to see if they are energy efficient, and I will be giving tours of our Eco Office soon too!

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?

I love to travel and explore. The most recent place I got to go was Iceland this past February. We saw the Northern Lights six different times in the week and a half we were there! Lately I’ve also really been enjoying visiting all the little neighborhood centers and nature preserves around Atlanta. It’s really fun to see what’s in your own backyard, and we’ve got some good stuff!

Do you have a personal mantra or motto that you try to live by?

I think an optimistic attitude is pretty practical if you’re trying to accomplish anything, and I guess a mantra might be, “You don’t know unless you try” or the similar “You haven’t failed until you quit trying.”