What is an Energy Manager?

Energy management is the strategic evaluation of energy use. Energy management is concerned with planning for energy efficiency. It may involve the energy usage of machinery, equipment, buildings, other physical structures, or processes. It deals with planning new projects and improving existing ones.

An energy manager evaluates energy use and designs energy programs that increase efficiency and reduce energy-related costs. They redesign processes, retrofit buildings and equipment, and plan energy-related systems for new projects.

Energy managers may also be responsible for improving the efficiency of water systems. Some energy managers specialize in certain systems or aspects of energy management such as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems or lighting.

What Does an Energy Manager Do?

Energy managers perform audits to evaluate energy use, costs, or efficiency initiatives. They monitor and analyze energy consumption, and sometimes water consumption as well. They design energy efficiency projects and manage their implementation to ensure they meet deadlines, budgets, specifications, and legal requirements. This usually involves conducting life cycle analyses and inspecting job sites. Energy managers plan and renew energy initiatives for new construction, renovations, and retrofits that maximize energy conservation. They review plans for future projects to determine their feasibility and energy requirements.

Some energy managers are responsible for supporting LEED certification of green buildings, or reporting greenhouse gas data to support voluntary climate commitments. Some also deal with utility procurement, ensuring that the company or client is getting the best value. Energy managers must write reports, work plans, and evaluation plans and submit them to management. Some are also tasked with identifying appropriate funding sources for projects and submitting the required documentation to funding agencies.

Energy managers are tremendously important professionals who help slow climate change, conserve energy resources, and maintain energy independence by making our industries and offices more efficient and less wasteful.

Where Does an Energy Manager Work?

Since manufacturing and heavy industry are energy-intensive endeavors, many energy managers are employed by manufacturing companies. Due to their commitment to the futures of their students, colleges and universities also frequently employ energy managers. These workers improve the energy efficiency of campus utilities, lighting, dining and residence halls, laboratories, and classrooms. Many energy managers also work for federal and state government agencies. For example, they may work to conserve energy at military bases or government offices.

Energy managers spend much of their time working in offices, where they create and review plans and write reports. However, they also work at job sites, where they oversee project implementation and monitor energy usage. They may need to travel to reach job sites.

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What Is the Average Energy Manager Salary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that energy managers, who fall under the broader BLS category of environmental scientists and specialists, earned a median salary of $73,230 as of May 2020.*

What Is the Job Demand for Energy Managers?

The job demand for energy managers and other environmental scientists and specialists is projected to increase by 8 percent between 2020 and 2030.*

How Do I Get an Energy Manager Degree?

The educational requirements for energy managers are broad. Many positions require a bachelor's degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited program. However, many also accept candidates with relevant degrees in architecture, mathematics, or physical sciences. Some even have business backgrounds as facility managers.

Energy Manager Certification

Most positions require a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) credential. The education requirements for CEM certification are flexible, and take into account the range of educational degrees and years of experience candidates may have. Candidates must have a combination of education and experience, attend a preparatory CEM training seminar, pass an exam, and pay a fee. Certified professionals must participate in continuing education to renew their certification.

Energy Manager Licensure

Aspiring energy managers with engineering degrees should be aware that engineers who offer their services directly to the public must be licensed as professional engineers (PEs). Licensure generally requires:

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

College graduates may take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam immediately. Engineers who pass this exam are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After gaining four years of work experience, EITs and EIs can go on to take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to qualify for licensure.

Several states require engineers to participate in professional development activities in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as that state's requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

Related Degree Options for Energy Management

What Kind of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Energy Managers Have?

  • The Association of Energy Engineers (AEM) provides information and networking opportunities to professionals involved in energy management, renewables, energy services, power generation, sustainability and more. It has over 17,000 professionals in 90 countries and 95 local chapters. It also organizes an Energy Managers Society (EMS) division. AEM administers Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certification, as well as many other related certifications.
  • The Energy Management Association (EMA) is a new professional society offering an optional Energy Management Professional (EMP) certification. It also organizes an annual conference, offers professional development, and publishes an Energy Management Guideline.

*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for environmental scientists and specialists reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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