Imagine you are wearing your bright white hard hat, steel-toed boots, and safety glasses. With clipboard in hand, you begin your tour of a massive bottling factory.
You are an energy auditor and you have been hired by the factory to perform an energy audit of the facility.
The factory's owners are concerned with rising energy costs and have asked you to evaluate their operation and find ways to reduce energy consumption.
The owners also want to demonstrate their commitment to a progressive environmental policy to the facility's staff and the public. Making the factory more energy efficient is one way to do so and will in turn help meet Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.
You and your auditing team will spend several days at the facility reviewing processes and operating data. You will observe workers too, looking for ways the facility can reduce the amount of energy it uses and decrease energy costs.
As an energy auditor, you are an expert on how facilities like this bottling plant can cost-effectively manage their energy consumption.
One of the first things you look at is the monthly energy costs on the factory's utility bill. You will also look at the energy rating of the equipment in the plant, for example, the motors, boilers, and heating furnaces, because the energy rating tells you the maximum joules of energy each machine uses per hour. In this case, the factory's machinery is only a few years old, so its equipment already has a very efficient energy rating.
In addition to the energy rating, you will review the plant production logs and maintenance records for potential opportunities. For example, the bottling plant has hundreds of metres of conveyor belts: if the bearings on the conveyor belts are not greased regularly, the belts do not move as smoothly as they should and require more energy input to keep them moving.
You'll also check if the furnace or any other machinery has night settings that will stop them from using as much energy when no one is on site.
Next, you will spend considerable time interviewing workers as to their practices, looking for ways individuals can help reduce energy consumption.
The result of your energy audit will be a report for the bottling facility's owner detailing current energy usage and making recommendations with evaluations of economic opportunities for making the facility more energy efficient.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as an energy auditor:
Energy auditors work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to:
There are a number of places energy auditors can find employment. They include:
Search for jobs on the ECO Canada Job Boad
If you are a high school student considering a career as an energy auditor, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as an energy auditor is a university undergraduate degree.
If you are a post-secondary student considering an energy auditor career, the following programs are most applicable:
In addition to the above programs, energy auditors may also have a background in skilled trades, for example as electricians or building construction tradespeople.
It is not necessary to be certified in order to work as an energy auditor, though some practitioners with engineering backgrounds may be required to obtain their licence and Professional Engineer status through their provincial association.
Other certifications that would be considered an asset include:
Requirements for professional status vary among provinces.
Hard/ Technical Skills (obtained through formal education and training programs)
Soft Skills (personal attributes and characteristics)
Environmental employers look for professionals who can combine technical knowledge with soft skills. Watch our free webinar “Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry” or take our Essential Skills courses.
While the rest of his friends were slogging through their first year of university, Dan Boudreau was taking time off. During his two-year break, he worked a number of what he calls dead-end jobs, earning minimum wage. "That experience was enough of a wake-up call to prompt me to apply for university.” Five years later, Dan had his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of New Brunswick.
Today, Dan works as a project manager with Enerplan, an energy management company based in Moncton, New Brunswick. As a part of his job, Dan regularly conducts energy audits. "Over 90 percent of the time, we conduct energy audits to help our clients reduce their own energy costs.”
The most important starting point before the energy audit contract is even won is looking over the proposed client’s energy bills. By doing this, Dan can compare the building or structure to a similar benchmark building and determine how much energy the building is using compared to the average energy expenditure.
Then Dan heads out to the site to conduct a visual inspection. On-site, Dan can be found crawling over pipes, crawling under ductwork, and generally trying to get a good feel for what he can do to save the company energy. "I just love getting on my hands and knees and seeing how a building works.” Dan also takes several different energy measurements to determine what areas, such as windows and doors, are losing the most energy. Once his inspection is complete, he heads back to the office, where he writes up the proposal.
When the contract is won, Dan researches a variety of solutions to reduce a building’s energy emissions. Usually, this can be completed at his desk and involves referring to similar projects he’s worked on, as well as researching new and innovative ways to conserve energy. Often the solutions are simple. "We’ve seen a lot of offices where the air conditioner and the heater are running at the same time, essentially fighting each other energy-wise.” In this case, Dan recommends that his client install an energy management control system (EMCS), a computer-operated system that can control everything from the heating, lighting, and air conditioning in a building. "An EMCS ensures that a building’s systems—heating, ventilation, air conditioning, etc.—are running as efficiently as possible.”
Despite offering this type of solution, Dan says people are apprehensive when they see an energy auditor in their office. "A lot of people think that we are going to reduce the temperature and leave them freezing in their office.” Energy auditing is about more than lowering the temperature to reduce energy costs. It’s about figuring out the best, most efficient ways to use energy: "Anything we can do to reduce our energy consumption would go a long way to preserving the environment, as well as save us money.”
As an energy auditor, the energy audits you perform usually fall into one of three categories: home, commercial buildings, and industrial plants. They also range in complexity, from a quick walk-through inspection to a comprehensive analysis of the implications of alternative energy efficiency measures.
Once an energy audit has been conducted, you work with a team of professionals to analyze the results and produce a technical report for the client that reveals areas where energy efficiency can be improved and reduce carbon and environmental footprints.
This occupation may require travel. Energy auditors are often required on site to perform audits, but they may be based out of a central location. When on the job, you are attentive to detail and perform audits in accordance with a given framework.
To be successful in this occupation, you need to be well versed in the technical side of things. You also need to have a positive attitude, strong communication skills and a friendly, approachable demeanour as you will be interacting with different business types and individuals.
We use energy every day whether to cook, or to power our homes, facilities, and businesses. A lot of times, we aren’t conscious of the ways in which we consume energy.
Whether it’s letting the tap run for too long or not turning the lights off when you leave a room, there are many parts of our daily routine that contributes to the misuse of energy that we may pay no attention to or even realize is wasteful.
Reasons such as these are why there is a need for energy auditors.
Some people mistakenly think that energy auditor’s look to reduce temperatures to the extent that rooms are left freezing. In reality, becoming an energy auditor involves a lot more than lowering room temperatures to reduce costs. It’s more about calculating the best and most efficient ways to use energy.
When performing an audit, an energy auditor may suggest installing an energy management control system (EMCS), which is a computer-operated system that can control everything from the heating, lighting, and air conditioning in a building. This type of management system ensures that all the building’s systems are running as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Not only does this benefit the environment; it lessens the works required to reduce energy consumption and helps save money in the long run.
Individuals employed as energy auditor may be classified in one or more of the following occupational groupings:
NOC Code: 1111- Financial Auditors and Accountants
NOC Code: 2262- Engineering Inspectors and Regulatory Officers
NOC Code: 2263- Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety
The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data, describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.
The NOC is developed and updated in partnership with Statistics Canada to coincide with the 5- year census cycles. It is based on in-depth occupational research and consultations conducted across Canada, to reflect changes in the Canadian labour market.
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