Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

CEE student Lizzy Kolar launches innovative sustainability podcast

$ Adds Up

Students in the Sustainable Design and Construction program are preparing for careers focused on the built environment. They research, design and consider all aspects of buildings and infrastructure with a focus on maximizing lifecycle economic value as well as net contribution to social functions and services. As such, Kolar has been thinking about everyday things like toilets and light bulbs, and how to reduce their environmental impacts by highlighting their corresponding financial costs. Each episode of the “It All Adds Up” podcast is under ten minutes long.

The initial episodes will focus on home improvement of items (lighting, AC, heating, plug loads, dishwashers, toilets, showers, sinks, washing machines, etc.) that can reduce water and energy bills. Kolar says, “We think this is especially relevant now that (1) people are spending much more time at home racking up utility bills, (2) people have time for home projects, and (3) finances are particularly tight right now for many.” She plans to explore food, transportation, and more in later episodes.

Kolar graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in 2015. She started her engineering career as a design and operations engineer at GE, before moving to Sierra Leone, Africa, to be a project manager for the installation of a solar mini grid and a clean water production center for a remote hospital. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked as a project engineer for Ameresco (an energy savings company), where her team focused on renovating military base housing. They created energy and water consumption profiles of the houses and designed technology packages within their renovation budget that reduced their utility consumption usually by about 30%. Kolar’s experience at Ameresco inspired the idea for this podcast.

Additionally, her coursework at Stanford in lifecycle assessment has been helpful for ensuring that the podcast’s recommendations are both financially and environmentally beneficial. She had been thinking about making this podcast for about a year, but with the advent of Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place order, she and her brother had the time and the resources to turn the podcast into a reality. Kolar’s brother is an audio engineer and musician, so he writes and produces all music for the podcast and mixes our audio, and Kolar creates the content.

Listen to episodes through their website, (, Instagram (@ItAllAddsUpPodcast), or Facebook page (It All Adds Up, The Podcast). The episodes can also be played on the website or on the hosting site (Podbean).

Kolar + Dog

More News Topics