Job Opportunities for Facilities Managers
You may be most familiar with the term "audit" in the context of a financial review. While one goal of energy audits is dollar savings, energy auditors are reviewing the inflows and outflows of energy in buildings rather than dollars in monetary accounts. A fiscal auditor ensures that your budget is sound from the standpoint of economics and finance; an energy auditor ensures that your building is sound from the standpoint of physics.
According to O*Net, Energy Auditors "Conduct energy audits of buildings, building systems, or process systems." They "May also conduct investment grade audits of buildings or systems." O*Net lists the following job-specific tasks:
- Identify and prioritize energy saving measures.
- Prepare audit reports containing energy analysis results or recommendations for energy cost savings.
- Collect and analyze field data related to energy usage.
- Inspect or evaluate building envelopes, mechanical systems, electrical systems, or process systems to determine the energy consumption of each system.
- Perform tests such as blower-door tests to locate air leaks.
- Educate customers on energy efficiency or answer questions on topics such as the costs of running household appliances or the selection of energy efficient appliances.
- Calculate potential for energy savings.
- Prepare job specification sheets for home energy improvements, such as attic insulation, window retrofits, or heating system upgrades.
- Recommend energy efficient technologies or alternate energy sources.
- Quantify energy consumption to establish baselines for energy use or need.
O*Net reports that Energy Auditors use tools such as:
- Air velocity and temperature monitors — Air current testers; Draft gauges
- Leak testing equipment — Blower doors; Smoke generators; Smoke pens
- Multi gas monitors — Combustible gas monitors; Flue gas analyzers
- Multimeters — Digital multimeters
- Two way radios
O*Net reports the following technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Architectural Energy Corporation ENFORMA Building Diagnostics; Enercom Energy Depot for Business; Psychrometric chart software; The Weatherization Assistant *
- Data base user interface and query software — Abraxas Energy Consulting Metrix; dBASE; Microsoft Access
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer *; Web browser software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Recently, I had an energy audit conducted of my own home. Tests like the "blower door" mentioned above indicated significant air leakage – and thus, heating or cooling energy wasted. After the holes were identified and plugged, energy experts installed additional insulation as well as a new, energy-efficient heating and cooling unit that was made affordable by a state-based energy efficiency grant/loan program. Last month, utility bill comparison site MyEnergy dot com rated my home as using 36% less energy than average for my locale, for a savings of more than $70 on a single month’s energy bill!
At Ecotech Institute, we train Energy Auditors for both industrial/commercial (Facility Management Technology) and residential business sectors. Here is Residential Energy Management Program Director Tiffany Burton talking about some of the skills students learn in their training:
"Ecotech Institute is a great school for people that are looking to find a new beginning, a new opportunity." ~John Wiseman, Residential Energy Management student
Kyle G. Crider (MPA, LEED AP ND) is a professional science and sustainability "story teller." In his spare time he is pursuing his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary (Environmental Health) Engineering and traveling the highways and by-ways of home state with his wife Beverly in search of fact, fiction, and folklore for Strange Alabama.