Overview | Specific Work Activities | Common Work Activities | Related Occupations | Skills and Abilities | Working Conditions | Physical Demands | Knowledge | Interests | Wages | Current Employment | Outlook |
Helpful High School Courses | Preparation | Related Educational Programs | Hiring Practices | Licensing/Certification/Designation/Registration | Advancement Opportunities | Additional Sources of Information
At a Glance
- Seek ways to improve energy efficiency or cut energy use
- Work in the construction field
- May specialize in one area, such as heating and cooling
- Review designs and plans
- Have at least a bachelor's degree
- May need a license
Energy engineers design, test, and install new energy designs and systems. They look for ways to reduce energy costs or improve energy efficiency.
Energy engineers may specialize in one of several areas:
- Air conditioning
- Electrical systems
- Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Green buildings
- Air quality
- Energy procurement
Sometimes energy engineers write energy management plans for large energy systems or buildings. They may also oversee an energy conservation project. Other engineers focus on smaller buildings and homes.
Energy engineers work on new construction projects and help to remodel older buildings so they become more energy efficient. They work on projects during both the design and the construction phase.
Energy engineers identify ways to save energy and make recommendations to homeowners, builders, and architects. Energy engineers follow budgets and timelines. They review drawings and layouts. They make sure that each project conforms to federal and state laws. Energy engineers often visit construction and building sites to do inspections.
Energy engineers also conduct energy audits on buildings or large energy systems such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units. They look for ways to save energy and cut energy costs. Sometimes they recommend or design a new system and other times they figure out how to make an existing system work more efficiently.
Specific Work Activities
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to energy engineers.
- Find ways to save energy. Recommend methods that use energy to do work more efficiently.
- Manage the development, design, or construction of energy conservation projects from start to finish. Monitor costs, timelines, and laws, and. Ensure the high quality of work on the project specifications.
- Conduct energy audits to check energy use, costs, or conservation measures.
- Monitor and analyze energy use.
- Perform energy modeling, measurement, and verification.
- Advise clients on ways to improve energy efficiency using energy modeling, sustainable design, and other methods.
- Oversee design or construction aspects related to energy such as energy engineering, energy management, and sustainable design.
- Make job site observations, field inspections, or sub-metering to collect data for energy conservation tests.
- Review plans and specifications to check energy efficiency. Determine feasibility of designs.
- Inspect energy systems. This includes the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Check lighting for energy use or savings.
- Create schedules for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and other automatic systems.
- Check construction design such as detail and assembly drawings, design calculations, system layouts and sketches, or specifications.
Common Work Activities
Energy engineers perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Use computers.
- Analyze data or information
- Make decisions and solve problems
- Get information needed to do the job
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates
- Update and use job-related knowledge
- Think creatively
- Communicate with people outside the organization
- Process information
- Inspect equipment, structures, or materials
- Explain the meaning of information to others
- Provide advice and consultation to others
- Document and record information
- Establish and maintain relationships
- Identify objects, actions, and events
- Evaluate information against standards
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work
- Develop and build teams
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people
- Schedule work and activities
- Coach others
- Develop goals and strategies
- Teach others
- Coordinate the work and activities of others
- Guide, direct, and motivate others
- Convince others to buy goods or change their minds or actions
- Monitor and control resources
- Resolve conflicts and negotiate with others
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Hawaii Career Pathways:
- Industrial & Engineering Technology
Related O*NET Specialties:
Skills and Abilities
Energy engineers need to:
- Read and understand work-related materials.
- Understand written information.
- Understand spoken information.
- Listen to others and ask questions.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Write clearly so other people can understand.
Reason and Problem Solve
- Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
- Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
- Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
- Follow guidelines to arrange objects or actions in a certain order.
- Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
- Recognize when important changes happen or are likely to happen in a system.
- Recognize the nature of a problem.
- Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
- Identify what must be changed to reach goals.
- Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
- Develop rules that group items in various ways.
- Think of original, unusual, or creative ways to solve problems.
- Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
- Think of new ideas about a topic.
Use Math and Science
- Choose a mathematical method or formula to solve problems.
- Use math skills to solve problems.
- Use scientific methods to solve problems.
- Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.
Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things
- Check how well one is learning and doing something.
- Manage the time of self and others.
Work with People
- Be aware of others' reactions and understanding the possible causes
- Persuage others to approach things differently.
- Change behavior in relation to others' actions.
- Teach others how to do something.
- Look for ways to help people.
Work with Things
- Analyze needs and requirements when designing products.
Perceive and Visualize
- Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.
- Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
In a typical work setting, energy engineers:
- Have a moderately high level of social interaction. They spend most of their time talking to other engineers, managers, and clients.
- Communicate with people daily by telephone, e-mail, and in person.
- Write letters and memos on a monthly basis.
- Work as part of a project team.
- Have limited responsibility for the work done by others.
- Are somewhat responsible for the health and safety of others.
Physical Work Conditions
- Usually work indoors. Occasionally work outdoors, especially when visiting construction sites.
- Occasionally wear protective or safety attire.
- Sometimes travel to and from work sites in an enclosed vehicle, such as a truck, car, or van.
- May share office space with other workers.
- Occasionally are exposed to loud or distracting sounds and noise levels, such as when visiting a job site.
- Must be very exact and accurate. Errors can delay construction projects.
- Rarely consult a supervisor before making a decision or setting tasks and goals.
- Meet strict daily and weekly deadlines. This makes the work atmosphere somewhat competitive.
- Often make decisions that strongly impact coworkers and their company.
- Repeat the same physical and mental tasks.
Hours / Travel
- Often must meet deadlines.
- Usually work a standard work week, but often work overtime.
Energy engineers frequently:
- Sit for long periods of time.
It is important for energy engineers to be able to:
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
It is not as important, but still necessary, for energy engineers to be able to:
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
Energy engineers need knowledge in the following areas:
- Engineering and Technology: How to use computers and rules of engineering to design and produce goods and services.
- Mathematics: The rules and uses of numbers.
- Building and Construction: The tools and methods used to construct buildings, roads, and other structures.
- Customer and Personal Service: Providing special services to customers based on their needs.
- Mechanical: The design, use, and repair of machines and tools.
- English Language: The meaning and use of the English language.
- Physics: The features and law of matter and energy.
- Design: Making and using plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Administration and Management: How to run a business or group.
- Economics and Accounting: Banking and business.
- Computers and Electronics: Computer hardware and software.
Energy engineers are people who tend to:
- Consider good working conditions important. They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.
- Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
- Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.
- Consider recognition important. They like to work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which they are looked up to by others.
- Consider support from their employer important. They like to be treated fairly and have supervisors who will back them up. They prefer jobs where they are trained well.
- Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.
- Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.
Occupational Interest Codes:
Wage information is not available specifically for energy engineers. However, they are part of the larger group of "engineers, all other."
Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The engineer's level of training, experience, and responsibility also affect wages.
Energy engineers who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Some employers also provide a retirement plan.
The number of energy engineers employed in Hawaii and nationally is not available.
- Engineering firms
- Federal, state, and local government agencies
In Hawaii, outlook information is not available specifically for energy engineers. However, they are included in a larger group of "engineers, all other." Employment is expected to decline for workers in this group. through the year 2024.
Nationally, outlook information is not available specifically for energy engineers. However, they are included in a larger group of "engineers, all other." The number of workers in this group is expected to grow slower than average through the year 2024.
Much of the job growth for energy engineers will be due to the growing green sector of the economy. Energy engineers will be needed to help design more energy efficient systems. Opportunities will be best for engineers with strong technical, computing, and communication skills.
Job openings will occur each year as workers leave this occupation or retire.
The table below provides information about the number of workers in this occupation in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.
Engineers, all other
Helpful High School Courses
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for the graduation requirements for the Class of 2016 and beyond. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements.
Energy engineers use math and science frequently. Try to take math classes through Trigonometry and science classes through Physics.
You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Blueprint Reading
- Computer Applications
- Computer-Assisted Design (CAD)
- Computer Science
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
To work as an energy engineer you typically need to:
- have a high school diploma or equivalent;
- have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering; and
- have a license.
Education after high school
Energy engineers need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. More universities are developing engineering programs specifically in energy engineering, but it is possible to get a degree in civil, mechanical, electrical or another type of engineering and still work in this occupation. In addition, some colleges and universities also offer engineering programs with an emphasis on environmental systems and design. Engineering programs take four to five years to complete.
Some schools offer certificate programs in energy engineering. These programs are designed for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Consider participating in an internship with an engineering firm while you are in college. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
It is common for newly hired energy engineers to receive some on-the-job training. This varies by employer, and can last anywhere from a month to a year.
Related Educational Programs:
- Electrical/Electronics Technologies
- Engineering Technologies
Licensing / Certification / Designation / Registration
In Hawaii, engineers (except those employed by the federal government) whose work involves the safety or health of the public must be licensed by the Hawaii board of professional engineers, architects, surveyors, and landscape architects. In Hawaii, licenses are offered in seven disciplines of engineering which include agriculture, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and structural. Licensure requires meeting educational and experience requirements and paying fees.
© Copyright 2016 Hawaii Green Jobs Initiative, LMI Innovation Grant, Research and Statistics Office, Department of Labor & Industrial Relations, State of Hawaii. All Rights Reserved.