There are good career prospects within energy management for graduates interested in helping businesses save money and manage energy more efficiently

As an energy manager, you'll plan, regulate and monitor the energy use in an organisation or facility. Your aim will be to improve efficiency by evaluating energy use and putting in place new policies and changes where needed.

You'll coordinate all aspects of energy management, from reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, to waste management and sustainable development by:

  • encouraging the use of renewable and sustainable energy resources within an organisation or community;
  • developing solutions for carbon management;
  • raising the profile of energy conservation.

Responsibilities

To be successful in your role, you'll need to:

  • develop, coordinate and implement strategies and policies to reduce energy consumption;
  • create policies and systems for buying energy and helping with contract negotiations;
  • provide technical and practical advice and offer training on energy efficiency;
  • develop promotional activities and materials to publicise particular schemes;
  • liaise and negotiate with contractors, the building supplies industry, council services and other relevant organisations;
  • keep accurate records and regularly collect energy monitoring data;
  • carry out site inspections and energy surveys;
  • benchmark energy consumptions against best practice guidelines;
  • keep up to date with legislation such as the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Salary

  • Starting salaries within energy management range from £22,000 to £33,000. This is dependent on the work sector and geographical area. You may earn a higher salary if you have a postgraduate qualification or suitable experience.
  • Once you've built up substantial experience after five years of working, you're likely to get a salary of around £30,000 to £45,000.
  • Beyond ten years of work experience you may reach salaries of more than £60,000 for roles with a significant level of responsibility and organisational management.

Some organisations, particularly those in the private sector, may offer additional benefits. This can include a company car if a lot of travelling is required, a mobile phone, pension scheme, health insurance or bonus scheme.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Typical hours of work are generally 9am to 5pm, sometimes with flexi-time arrangements. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to attend meetings and promotional events.

Part-time work is possible as are career breaks, but you would ideally need to keep up to date with changes in legislation and initiatives.

What to expect

  • In some organisations it can be an isolated job as you may be working alone. In other cases, there may be strong team support.
  • In general, the job is not highly stressful, although this may depend on the organisation and your level of responsibility. Sometimes complex reports must be produced to strict deadlines and there are often targets that need to be met.
  • The dress code depends on the particular organisation. It may be either smart-casual or more formal business wear.
  • The role involves both office and field work. Opportunities are available throughout the UK. Travel may form a large part of the role, particularly if your organisation has multiple sites. Overseas travel is rare.

Qualifications

You need to have a good understanding of electrical and mechanical systems as well as knowledge of the energy use of organisations. A degree is not essential but there are specialist subjects available that focus on energy and the environment, for example, energy engineering, sustainable energy and climate change. In addition, one of the following subjects may also be helpful:

  • architecture;
  • building and construction/surveying;
  • business studies/administration;
  • engineering;
  • environmental science and management.

It's also possible to enter the career with a HND or foundation degree, particularly if it's in a related subject such as:

  • building technology;
  • business studies;
  • engineering;
  • environmental studies.

You don't need a postgraduate qualification but it may help you to secure a more senior position. There are a number of specialist courses in energy management. If you're considering postgraduate courses in environmental science look particularly at courses offering a work placement.

Skills

You will need to have:

  • confidence;
  • numerical skills;
  • good communication skills to be able to present a case briefly and logically;
  • influencing and negotiating skills to motivate various colleagues to work towards a common goal;
  • potential to stimulate and manage change;
  • project management skills;
  • the ability to establish effective networks both within and outside the organisation;
  • potential to educate and train other managers and the workforce;
  • knowledge and enthusiasm for energy management and renewable energy issues;
  • a driving licence - this may be necessary as the role can often involve travelling.

Work experience

There may be limited vacancies as there's often only one person or a small team in an organisation and this can make competition fierce. You can increase your chances of getting a job by making sure that you have relevant work experience. Some courses offer a sandwich placement, which will be particularly relevant.

You could try to get a part-time job or work experience within a company's energy management department. Any administration or management work that provides you with the necessary skills will be useful.

You could apply for a place on an energy management internship, such as the twelve-week EDF Energy internship.

Employers

Any organisation that is a large user of energy is likely to have someone who is responsible for energy saving, although it may be part of another job. Employers can be found in a variety of areas and sectors and include:

  • energy agencies and partnerships;
  • health trusts;
  • higher education institutions;
  • large charities;
  • local government;
  • voluntary/community organisations.

If you want to work in the commercial sector you could find work with:

  • construction companies;
  • environmental consultancies;
  • manufacturers;
  • nuclear energy companies;
  • retail chains and supermarkets;
  • utilities companies.

Look for job vacancies at:

Professional development

Once you're in the job it's essential to keep up to date with legislation, compliance and reporting requirements through training and continuing professional development (CPD). You may go on to do a postgraduate qualification part time, such as a Masters in energy management, while you're working. There are also options to develop your IT skills in specialist software designed for monitoring energy efficiency.

It's likely that you will become a member of the Energy Institute (EI), which offers a range of training options suitable for the different stages of your career. These include:

  • Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials;
  • Level 2: Energy Management Professional;
  • Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager (AEM).

More information is available from Energy Institute - Energy Management Training.

You may take specific training courses, such as the BREEAM assessments, which relate to the environmental performance of buildings. See the BREEAM website, for further information about this sustainability assessment method and certification.

Career prospects

You may progress in your career in a number of ways and your options will depend on your employer and the sector you're in. With experience, or further qualifications, you could specialise in a certain area such as:

  • corporate and strategic matters;
  • energy consultancy;
  • environmental engineering;
  • environmental protection;
  • facilities management.

If you're a member or fellow of the EI you can work towards the title of chartered energy manager. It's usually expected that you'll have a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification (or equivalent) and at least four years' experience before you apply for chartership. The assessment process includes a professional development review and interview. Find out more at Energy Institute - Chartered Energy Manager.