Energy auditors measure, record and evaluate the flow of energy in order to pinpoint opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce costs. They work with a diverse array of clients to assess systems and equipment in residential, commercial and industrial properties.
“To cut down your energy consumption in a systematic way you need somebody to come in and do an energy audit,” explains Yogendra Chaudhry, the vice-president of professional services at Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada. “You need to quantify how much you’re consuming, how much you’re losing, and what are the opportunities for savings.”
Energy auditors are employed in a range of settings, including working for government agencies, utility providers, environmental engineering and consulting firms, construction contractors, property management companies, non-profit organizations, postsecondary institutions and more. Some also work as independent contractors or consultants.
Specific tasks may include observing workplace procedures, or using specialized equipment to test for energy waste – such as heat loss from poor insulation. Other typical tasks include collecting and analyzing data associated with energy use, drafting reports that outline opportunities for energy savings, and supervising the installation of energy-efficient systems.
According to Glassdoor, the average annual compensation for an energy auditor in Canada is $61,000, with salaries ranging from $43,000 to $88,000 per year. According to Mr. Chaudhry, salaries typically range based on the employer type, as well as the auditor’s level of professional experience and education.
An educational background in STEM – specifically in civil engineering, environmental engineering and environmental technology – is often preferred, as is an undergraduate degree in any scientific field, but the industry still lacks specific educational standards, says Mr. Chaudhry.
“A lot of the time people are learning on the job,” he says.
Demand for energy auditors is growing, according to Mr. Chaudhry. He says taxes and fees on carbon emissions are making it more costly for individuals and organizations to waste energy, while subsidies and incentive programs are helping to offset the cost of improving efficiency. As a result, more individuals and organizations are hiring energy auditors to help them meet certain efficiency standards.
For example, many Canadian businesses have implemented the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 50001, a global standard for efficient energy management. According to Natural Resources Canada, industrial organizations that adopt the standard save an average of 10 per cent on energy costs within the first two years, equating to up to $2-million for large companies.
“That was one of the drivers for many organizations to systematically pursue improvement projects,” explains Mr. Chaudhry. “For many years the Government of Canada has rewarded companies that go for certifications like ISO 5001, so those are also drivers that will contribute to the growth of the profession.”
As a relatively new industry, there is no standard educational pathway to becoming an energy auditor, and a lack of specialized training can make it difficult to break into the industry, Mr. Chaudhry explains. He says most of the training happens on the job, but training new candidates is expensive, which is why most employers prefer hiring candidates with previous experience. As a result, job postings for entry-level positions often list relevant work experience as a requirement.
Why they do it
Energy auditors enjoy a rewarding career that helps their clients save money while helping the planet. According to Mr. Chaudry, energy auditors also learn skills that are relevant to an array of new careers in the green energy sector. This makes it a popular starting point for related careers in sustainability and energy management.
“Energy auditing will always be an integral factor for most energy related jobs,” explains Mr. Chaudhry. “There will be a lot of new jobs coming up, and if you choose this path it will be much easier to grow in that profession.”
The popularity of energy-efficient household products can lead some to believe that reducing energy usage is largely a matter of replacing old appliances and light bulbs, according to Mr. Chaudhry. But he says the biggest opportunities for improved efficiency typically require the skills of a professional energy auditor.
“People think they can identify energy-saving opportunities and do it themselves,” he says. “When you hire an energy auditor they can look at all your electronic infrastructure, they can do measurements, they can identify energy losses in terms of, say, your heater emissions, or maybe an efficiency in equipment, and often you can get more savings over a longer duration.”
Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.