What is Energy Consulting?

Margo Upson

Energy consulting is done by professionals who have studied and worked in the field of energy. They are experts who are capable of helping individuals and businesses reduce the cost of their energy needs. This includes reducing the amount of energy used, and switching to alternative energy sources.

An energy consultant may make suggestions aimed at lower energy consumption, such as switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.
An energy consultant may make suggestions aimed at lower energy consumption, such as switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.

The first way that energy consulting can help a company is by auditing previous energy bills. By reviewing these bills, consultants can look for any mischarged fees, and have them refunded to the company. This will also give consultants a good feel for how energy is used within the business. They can then help a company to find the best energy supplier for their needs, one that offers the lowest rates and the best service.

An energy consultant may help a company switch to hybrid cars.
An energy consultant may help a company switch to hybrid cars.

After reviewing the bills, an energy consultant can create a plan on how to reduce the energy used by the company. Energy consulting firms will look for areas in which the company can save money by cutting back consumption or by purchasing products that are more energy efficient. After observing where energy is being wasted, a plan will be drawn up to reduce energy bills. The consultant can then help the company to implement this program.

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An energy consultant might make suggestions, such as conserving energy by replacing older air conditioning units with newer energy efficient models.
An energy consultant might make suggestions, such as conserving energy by replacing older air conditioning units with newer energy efficient models.

A third way in which energy consulting can help a company is through finding environmentally smarter options for their energy use. This could mean everything from buying energy efficient products to installing a windmill to provide all the power needed to run a large company. By switching to renewable resources for energy production, a company can both save money and reduce the pollution it creates. A company may be advised to replace older company cars with hybrid or electric cars, to invest in better building insulation to reduce heating and cooling needs, and to begin a company-wide recycling program.

Energy consultants work to educate people about ways to reduce their energy usage. Energy consulting firms may offer classes and seminars in their local area, which both educates community members about energy use and gives the consulting company a great advertising opportunity. Consultants can inform individuals and businesses about grants and loan programs available to help them make the switch to a more energy efficient lifestyle.

Following the plan put together by a consultant is essential to saving money, especially when companies are faced with high energy costs. Hiring an energy consulting firm can save a company hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year, making it an investment that will pay for itself several times over.

An energy consultant can help a business use alternative energy sources, like wind power, to become more environmentally friendly.
An energy consultant can help a business use alternative energy sources, like wind power, to become more environmentally friendly.

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Discussion Comments

anon947240

What are the qualifications of an energy consultant?

Georgesplane

I have seen real-time energy auditing devices that allow the consumer to do what an energy efficiency consultant does. The devices work by monitoring and collecting energy use data, allowing the consumer to see where energy is being consumed the most, and the effect this has on the price the consumer pays for energy. The consumer can then reduce energy use during peak hours, or look to make efficiency improvements to inefficient equipment.

I have also heard that some of the utilities in California offer "black boxes" to consumers that allow them to program certain devices to operate at certain times. It allows people to run the dishwasher, washing machine, and refrigerator during off peak hours when electricity is cheapest. I would be curios to know if anyone has used these devices and how much they save on their energy bill.

cougars

@Igeenway- I do not think that there is one organization that accredits energy consultants. Energy consultants cover a broad spectrum of work. An energy provider may hire an energy consultant to manage risk, while a homeowner or homebuilder may hire an energy consultant to determine how they can improve efficiency and conserve energy. Each of these instances would require a consultant with different qualifications.

A consultant who works with building energy may want to seek certification by BPI, LEED or ASHRAE. Probably the most relevant of the three I just listed is the Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP) Certification by ASHRAE. BEAP has very stringent qualification standards, and proves competency in analyzing energy use in all types of buildings, including residential, commercial, and industrial structures.

lgreenway

Who accredits energy consultants?

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