How to Become an Energy Efficiency Engineer


Career Path Guide

If you want to become an energy efficiency engineer, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:


• You have an interest in promoting good environmental stewardship of through increased energy efficiency

• You have a keen academic interest in applied science and engineering

• You have the professional commitment needed to become a Professional Engineer

• You enjoy diversity in your work activities

• You enjoy consulting with others and performing work that involves analysis

• You have the ability to use computer modeling programs, such as AutoCAD

• You are very precise and methodical when performing work that involves calculations


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an energy efficiency engineer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Energy Efficiency Engineer

Many employers hire candidates for energy efficiency engineer jobs that have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, applied science, environmental science, or a related scientific or technical field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates that have a master’s degree in one of these fields.





What is an Energy Efficiency Engineer?

Energy efficiency engineers are responsible for providing technical expertise and support in the development of energy conservation initiatives associated with energy distribution systems for residential, commercial and industrial clients. Energy efficiency engineers aim to identify ways to increase the efficiency of their client’s or employer’s energy systems.



General Job Description

The job description of an energy efficiency engineer can vary depending on which sector of industry the engineer works within, as well as the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and other factors.


Energy efficiency engineers may conduct energy audits, in which they inspect, survey, model, and analyze the primary energy flows (mechanical, electrical and thermal) in existing residential, commercial and industrial buildings, for the purpose identifying opportunities to reduce energy usage and improve energy efficiency.


Energy efficiency engineers may be called upon during any stage of home or building construction, ranging from the design or building of new structures to the remodeling of existing ones, for the purpose of auditing one of the energy-consuming components of the structure, such as the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning (HVAC), or lighting systems.


They may be responsible for helping corporations develop energy usage goals, and guiding, monitoring and mentoring their energy team to ensure those goals are met. They may also be responsible for conducting cost-benefit analysis, scope and bid development, and project performance verification. 



Typical Job Duties

• Perform quality control functions

• Manage technical aspects and coordination of the project team

• Perform building inspections to identify energy conservation measures (architectural, mechanical, electrical, etc.) in commercial, institutional and industrial facilities

• Conduct detailed engineering analysis including baseline models, end-use analysis, and post retrofit analysis

• Prepare report to submit to senior management regarding recommended energy saving actions

• Develop cost savings estimates associated with energy saving initiatives

• Train junior energy conservation engineers to perform site surveys and energy and cost saving calculations

• Develop complex building energy models with specialized software



Who Creates Jobs for Energy Efficiency Engineers?

The following types of employers typically employ energy efficiency engineers on a full-time or contractual basis:


• Engineering consulting companies

• Energy auditing companies

• Automation and control companies

• Oil, gas and mining and companies

• Renewable energy companies

• Nuclear energy companies

• Residential, commercial and industrial construction companies

• Manufacturing and production companies

• Various government departments, such as Transportation

• Telecommunication companies


Work Environment

Many energy efficiency engineers work a standard 40-hour workweek. They may occasionally be required to put in overtime hours, such as when deadlines or design standards bring extra pressure to a job. Energy efficiency engineers may be required to travel extensively in order to conduct energy audits at industrial sites or homes outside of their immediate area.


Energy efficiency engineers spend some of their time inside residential homes, industrial facilities and commercial buildings for the purpose of conducting energy audits. Some settings, especially industrial facilities, can be quite noisy at times. They spend a good portion of their time in their own office space for the purpose of conducting modeling and analysis work. 





Certification and Licensing

Professional Engineer (PE) Designation


Although licensing requirements can vary by region and by employer, energy efficiency engineers are typically required to be licensed as professional engineers. Those who become licensed carry the designation of Professional Engineer (PE). To be licensed as a Professional Engineer, you generally need to meet the following requirements:


• A degree from an accredited engineering program

• A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam

• Relevant work experience

• A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam


LEED AP Accreditation 


Employers involved in residential, commercial or industrial building contsruction may also require energy efficiency engineers to have LEED AP accreditation. The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) in the United States is responsible for LEED AP credentialing. In addition to being an employment requirement with several organizations, there are many benefits of pursuing a LEED AP credential, including:


• Marketing yourself as knowledgeable about green buildings

• The ability to make substantial contributions to design and construction meetings on LEED projects

• Demonstrate a commitment to the green building community



Skills and Traits Needed to Become an Energy Efficiency Engineer

In order to become effective in a career as an energy efficiency engineer, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These personality traits, as well as hard and soft skills will help you make the most of your career by allowing you to perform your job duties with competence, and effectively handle unforeseen challenges in your job.


Many of these skills and traits are also in high demand with organizations that employ energy efficiency engineers; you will see many of them, or variations of them, listed on Energy Efficiency Engineer job postings.


Personal Characteristics


• A keen interest in science, technology and the environment

• Able to self-motivate and demonstrate initiative

• An interest in staying current with relevant technology and innovation

• A results-oriented approach to work activities


Soft Skills


• Excellent oral and written communication skills

• Excellent organizational skills

• Leadership skills and the ability to delegate tasks

• Able to work in a variety of work environments, including those that are noisy


Hard Skills


• Knowledge of relevant legislation pertaining to energy efficiency and carbon emissions

• A strong understanding of building structures, services and systems installation, as they relate to energy

• IT skills, including knowledge of 3D software such as AutoCAD

• Demonstrated proficiency in energy modeling software such as EnergyPro



Current Job Opportunities

Our job board below has 'energy efficiency engineer' postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Average Salary Level

The income level of energy efficiency engineers can vary depending on their level of education, their level of experience, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


There is no reliable salary information specifically for Energy Efficiency Engineers, although we can get an idea of their earnings by looking at the salary level of closely related careers.


Energy Efficiency Engineer Salary Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers occupational group earn an average salary of $81,018 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 1, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Industrial Engineers occupational group is $78,860 per year.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to 'energy efficiency engineer', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Energy Auditor

Energy Researcher

Environmental Engineer

Industrial Engineer

Nuclear Engineer




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an energy efficiency engineer.


Occupations in Alberta:Power Engineer.” (March 19, 2016). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

Architecture & Engineering:Industrial Engineers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 13, 2019.

Job Profile:Energy Engineer.” AGCAS editors (December, 2017). Prospects website. Retrieved November 13, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming an Energy Efficiency Engineer

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant for getting the required education to work in this field. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors by visiting our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an energy efficiency engineer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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