In Memoriam: Margaret “Meg” Fels, May 1, 1941 – November 12, 2011

Blog Post | November 16, 2011 - 1:21 pm
By Steven Nadel , Executive Director

Long-time friend and colleague, and former ACEEE Board member (1995 – 2001), Meg Fels died suddenly on Saturday, November 12 in Princeton, New Jersey. Meg apparently had a heart attack while biking on the tow path near her home. She was revived by a passing Samaritan, but her brain was without oxygen for too long. She died Saturday night surrounded by loved ones. Her third grandchild was born in the week while she was in the hospital.

Meg was a trailblazer. In the words of Miriam Goldberg, her former student and colleague:

Meg helped to create the field of energy efficiency program evaluation. She served on the ACEEE Board for many years, and as a panel leader for the 1988 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. She developed the Princeton Scorekeeping Method (PRISM) into a standard software package for program evaluation using whole-house billing analysis. It's easy to dismiss such a simple tool, and of course we evaluators love to use ever more sophisticated and comprehensive methods. But PRISM is a rigorous, standardized methodology easily and inexpensively used for a wide range of programs and conditions. That tool has provided meaningful quantitative results that guided programs around the world. The "Scorekeeping" issue of Energy and Buildings, which she edited, remains a foundational guide to billing analysis methods, and answers many questions that practitioners continue to ask.

Meg was an atomic physicist who worked under Edward Teller, and was one of the few women on the Princeton Engineering School faculty. After leaving Princeton, she trained teachers to teach science and math, focusing particularly on getting girls to learn math.

We are saddened by this news, but are richer for having known and worked with Meg. Her lively spirit and sparkling eyes filled with fun and mischief will be sorely missed.

New York Times obituary