Bright Employee: Pristine Johannessen, Legal Counsel


We’re proud of the intelligent, passionate, and hardworking people that make up the Bright Power team. Each month, you’ll get a chance to meet one of them, understand how they contribute to the organization, and what makes them excited to come to work every day.

Meet Pristine Johannessen, Legal Counsel.

What are some of the things you like most about working at Bright Power?
Everyone is mission-focused, driven, motivated, and inspired by the environment. But they aren’t just motivated about their work; they also care about the bigger picture. A group of us volunteered together to get the vote out before the 2020 Presidential election, which was fun and really interesting. Not every workplace is like that, with people who care about things bigger than themselves and take action to make the world better.

In my role, the legal issues vary every day: technology, privacy, vendor relationships, legal changes after COVID, office and work restrictions, and building contracts to further our work, and more. That’s not something that happens for lawyers in a firm; they usually only get to do one thing. I love having that variety.

What’s something people might not know about you?
I actually studied environmental engineering and was an environmental engineer! I worked in Hong Kong as an environmental consultant right out of college for two years and was the only woman on site, which was challenging and lonely. During that time, I started doing environmental advocacy work with an organization focused on Hong Kong harbor and the marine environment and became interested in legal and advocacy work. That led me to law school. If you go to my office, you’ll see a big picture of Hong Kong Harbor.

What are some projects and accomplishments you’re most proud of?
Transitioning to a fully remote workforce is challenging for any job, but it had unique implications for my role as Legal Counsel because lawyers have so much paper.  Also, keeping confidentiality is critical as Counsel. Usually, I would meet and collaborate with colleagues in person, which would ensure confidentiality. When we all went remote, I needed to find a way to collaborate while maintaining confidentiality. I’m proud that I created a system using different pieces of technology to allow us to continue collaborating while maintaining confidentiality.

You’re a member of Bright Power’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative, Alliance for Multicultural People in Sustainability (AMPS). Tell us about that and what made you get involved.
I was inspired to join AMPS because it was so challenging to be a woman engineer when I was starting out years ago. It’s wonderful to see how that’s changed and how we can continue to support that change. As a woman who is half-Asian, I also feel I have a responsibility to do more because I have experienced all of the benefits of looking white. By being part of AMPS, I am creating an inclusive and equitable community for all Bright Power employees. And the work we do with AMPS is fun and everyone involved is amazing!

What’s the one service offering we have that you think is the most beneficial to clients and why?
While all of our offerings are important, we saw in the last year that having remote monitoring and real-time energy management through MoBIUS® really helped our clients’ building performance while energy and water usage was changing so rapidly.

Additionally, the data analysis and energy benchmarking we do hold us accountable to see the impact of our energy and water improvement projects. It also provides our clients with a bigger picture of how they are consuming energy and water. With buildings contributing to 70% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions, utilizing that data to make improvements is essential in the fight against climate change.