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Energy consultants help companies to understand their energy usage and provide advice for how they might alter this.

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.

Qualifications required

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
  • architecture
  • environmental management
  • surveying
  • 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.

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