Knowledge of environmental issues and sustainable sources of energy will often be useful.
As an energy consultant, you will provide ideas for how a company might make their use of energy more cost-effective and/or environmentally friendly.
In this role, your responsibilities will generally include:
- conducting research into and analysing the company’s current energy usage
- writing reports and mapping the total energy usage
- thinking of ideas for actionable options
- coming up with ideas and explaining them, with information such as pros and cons, feasibility, and costs
- presenting your findings, ideas and opinions
- responding to questions from (often senior) employees
- persuading employees to go ahead with the plan(s) you believe to be the most effective.
Key skills for energy consultants
As environmental issues are becoming a greater concern for both the government and the public, the role of many energy consultants has moved from just cutting costs to one that combines this with improving a company’s ‘green’ credentials. Therefore, knowledge of environmental issues and sustainable sources of energy will often be useful. As an energy consultant, you’ll generally need:
- good research skills
- to be numerate and able to understand data
- the ability to think analytically and creatively
- strong written and verbal communication skills
- to be persuasive when presenting arguments or thoughts
- confidence when talking with senior employees.
Typical employers of energy consultants
As an energy consultant, you might decide to work for:
- a large organisation, either in the public or private sector
- a consultancy firm
- yourself, by taking on freelance work.
Your responsibilities will differ according to which of the above you choose. Perhaps most importantly, if you work for a consultancy firm or go freelance, you’ll spend time investigating and advising several different employers, while as an energy consultant for a large organisation you will focus solely on that company.
The most common route into work as an energy consultant is to get an undergraduate degree, then gain a graduate position with a consultancy firm or large organisation.
While a few employers are willing to take graduates on from any discipline, many require a related degree. If the subject you studied at undergraduate level is unrelated, you could gain a relevant postgraduate qualification.
The degree subjects that will set you up well for a career as an energy consultant include:
- energy engineering
- energy management (this is usually just provided as a postgraduate qualification by universities)
- sustainable development
- environmental management
- general engineering degrees.
While you may see vacancies for energy consultants that don’t require an undergraduate degree, these are usually junior sales-type positions that have different responsibilities to those listed here. So, it’s important to read the job description attached to each vacancy carefully.