Prior to attending EMEX 2015 this week (11-12 Nov), Paul Gosling, Executive Director at ALLEN & YORK outlines the opportunities on the horizon for the Energy Manager.
The Energy Management profession is a varied and multi-faceted area of expertise. It has been steadily growing since its early days in the 80’s when a more distinct role as Energy Manager evolved. The Climate Change agenda has given the role increasing prominence as part of the broader Sustainability agenda and we have increasingly seen the conflation of the Sustainability and Energy roles over the last 10 years.
The drivers behind Energy Management can be broadly split into;
- Cost reduction
- Reputational Risk
- Part of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Sustainability agenda
When combined these create a very significant drive for effective energy management for companies of all sizes in all sectors.
Background and Experience
Individual entry points into the profession are as varied as the roles themselves with no single type of qualification or accreditation being relevant to every part of the Energy Management profession.
People find their way to the sector from Engineering (mainly M&E), Building Surveying, Environmental Science and Business Management (particularly within Procurement).
IT skills are of growing importance with the Energy Management skillset and while they currently form a relatively small part of an Energy Manager’s role, we see that as the trend towards Big Data and increasingly ‘Smart’ and more granular metering continues, the ability to understand and manipulate large datasets will be increasingly important.
A recent trend we have also seen is, the increasing use of IPMV Protocol (International Performance Measurement and Verification) to define and validate energy savings made, often as part of a contract with service providers who have to demonstrate the efficacy of projects and deliver energy savings as part of their contracts.
Larger organisations with complex energy issues such as retail or manufacturing, will have relatively large teams and require a mix of skills across; Engineering, Facilities Management and Environmental Compliance.
Smaller organisations will require a wider mix of skills and the background of the person working within these organisations will vary greatly, depending on the particular focus of the issues facing each organisation.
Qualifications and Accreditations
The qualifications and accreditations required vary quite considerably depending on the aspect of Energy Management being looked at, but generally roles in Energy Management are driven by experience and skills than qualifications.
In the Energy Services field having the right qualification is more important, particularly for EPC assessment, BREEAM /LEED and related standards, where having the correct accreditation is crucial.
This type of work is rarely the only element of the Energy Manager’s role however, and generally people will move around, gaining more experience across a wider range of skill-sets.
As in many areas of business, it is the non-technical skills which are also hugely valuable. The ability to influence and negotiate with stakeholders is an often underestimated, but vital skill of the Energy Manager. Being able to navigate the corporate maze to identify the influencers and present sufficiently compelling cases to make change possible is a crucial part of the energy manager’s role.
The Energy Manager’s Association promotes the idea of a 40:20:40 split in relation to manging Energy Efficiency within a company; 40% of the improvement being Behaviour, 20% Control and 40% Product based in terms of the improvements being made, which further indicates the importance of people skills to the role.
The public sector, including Universities and hospitals are some of the biggest users of energy and traditionally employ large numbers of Energy Managers. As budgets are squeezed, roles may diminish, however the more enlightened organisations understand that the Energy Manager’s activity is a crucial element to delivering the required annual savings.
Other opportunities for Energy Managers are within FM providers and contracted services companies, as many companies are looking to outsource their energy management function.
The opportunities and potential for the next generation of Energy Managers is immense. There are now options to choose Energy Management at University, both public and private companies understand the value of managing energy consumption, increased fuel prices and pressure to reduce carbon emissions are drilling this message home, as well as opportunities for integrated sustainable building and infrastructure projects, for which we are experiencing an increased demand.
If you are an Energy Manager looking to progress your career, please do contact us, as we would love to speak to you.
Come and talk to me at EMEX 2015, I will be part of the panel discussing 'The Future of the Energy Management Profession' at 15:10-15:40 on Day 1, in the Energy Management as a Profession Theatre.