Energy consultant: job description

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

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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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