By Benjamin Brits

These are the points of highlight for young engineer, Priscilla Carneiro, no matter the pressure one is under.

October 2021 personality profile sponsored by:

Spending her younger days growing up in Johannesburg, Carneiro attended Leeuwenhof Akademie, followed by completing her mechanical engineering degree at the University of Johannesburg where she obtained her honours.

Getting into the HVAC sector was essentially a very smooth transition as she was employed directly after graduation. “I always had a passion for thermodynamics and other related HVAC elements of my studies. My employer, Intramech and where I am still employed today, sent me down to their branch in Cape Town immediately, appointing me into a HVAC post where I specialised in chillers and control systems.”

A driven engineer focusing on controls, BMS, and plant management systems. Image credit: Priscilla Carneiro

A driven engineer focusing on controls, BMS, and plant management systems. Image credit: Priscilla Carneiro

In terms of hobbies and interests outside of work, Carneiro humourously notes that her work keeps her very busy! “I consider myself a compulsive learner having recently completed further studies in aeronautical engineering, but I also love running, reading and learning anything new.”

Considering what she enjoys most about her work, she is most fond of when a project is finished, and the final handover to the client. This is the pinnacle of accomplishment after the many hours put into something. “When you’re finished with all aspects and you wrap up on a project commissioning, everything is working beautifully and perfectly – that is what I look forward to,” she notes.

Carneiro adds that she also enjoys working under pressure. While many people don’t like this aspect of work at all and is the reason for many failures, she is one of those few people that thrive under such conditions, albeit that she candidly suggests that each project does age her by another ten years.

The question of the most significant achievement to-date is easily identified for Carneiro. Being involved in the African continent’s largest data centres top her list with involvement as project manager on the chilled water systems. These data centers are located in Johannesburg, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. “There is huge cooling required in these facilities that includes about 15 megawatts of chilled water (chillers) with more to be deployed with the client’s future planning and expansions,” she says.

Carneiro’s view on where the HVAC sectors is headed in terms of technology is also very clear. As a controls specialist, she is involved in various controls systems, building management system and plant management systems. From a technical aspect from the control side, she has identified a definite drive to make the control system more reliable and more efficient.

“Everything from the control aspects just keeps on improving. Systems today, and in future will be more capable of being up and running on their own with much less human intervention (and error) involved primarily because of the updated technology that is being used, as well as the logic implemented around these systems. From an HVAC component perspective everything is moving quickly towards efficiency. There is a lot more free cooling from equipment as an example, particularly in the data centre environment that is growing rapidly, and further I expect to see an ongoing drive on overall reduction in energy consumption or equipment performance as better efficiencies are demanded,” Carneiro concludes.