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Sarah Mollier: From France to Quebec to work on energy efficiency!

Sarah Mollier works in energy efficiency and is part of a team conducting research on the latest generation of cold climate heat pumps. A recent report published by Natural Resources Canada shows that these heat pumps provide an effective solution for residential heating and cooling while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money.

February 2023

Portrait of Sarah with her arms crossed.

Sarah Mollier, NRCan research engineer, TRP

Sarah Mollier is an engineer for Natural Resources Canada, with a temporary restrictive permit, working at CanmetENERGY in Varennes, near Montréal. Originally from France, Sarah left that her country in 2018 to study engineering at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, specializing in renewable energy and energy storage. Among the few places where Sarah could study this specific field, she chose Quebec, because she believed it was a province she would like to live in once she finished her university studies.

With degrees from the École nationale supérieure des mines d’Alès (France) and the Polytechnique de Montréal, Sarah has been working for the federal government for three years. “Something inside me just clicked while doing an internship in a company,” she says. “I discovered that I wanted to contribute to the advancement of science, to give back to the community, and to help ensure that the knowledge gained would be of maximum benefit to the public.”

Sarah works in the Buildings Group at CanmetENERGY in Varennes. On a daily basis, she performs various simulations to evaluate peak electrical demand as well as assessing any reduction in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and utility bills that heat pumps can provide. Her simulations are based on various factors and conditions, both for private residences and federal buildings.

Compilation: Sarah working at laptop, exterior of test sheds, interior of test shed with heat pump

Sarah Mollier working in the heat pump test facility. There are two insulated sheds converted into an indoor and outdoor test facility They can maintain conditions from –30C to +30C depending on the season. The indoor test facility can be controlled to mimic household heat loss / heat gain in order to acquire a wide range of performance data.

Sarah believes that work teams should be inclusive and diverse. “This is how we will be able to face the great challenges of today: climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and even pandemics,” she says.

Sarah admits that she has already encountered sexist remarks during her studies and internships in France. This is one of the reasons she’s motivated to participate in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science and contribute in her own way to a positive and inclusive culture for women and girls working in science.

Sarah encourages teenage girls to think about the subjects that they enjoy most and those that play to their strengths: “You have to choose an academic path that you enjoy and where you can achieve your full potential. In science, the opportunities are enormous. You will constantly learn to have a better understanding of the world around you and many doors will open. You just have to go for it.”

For more information:

Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump

CanmetENERGY IN Varennes

Adapting Heat Pumps to our Canadian climate (Simply Science video)

The future of home heating: Hybrid systems offer energy savings and reduce GHG emissions

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