Energy Engineer

Design and Engineering

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    Required Education, Credentials, and Licenses

    • Bachelor’s degree in engineering

    Preferred Education and Credentials

    • Experience related to building systems, energy efficiency, sustainability 
    • Master’s degree in engineering or related field
    • Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification
    • Professional Engineer (PE) license
    • Specialized certifications from trade organizations


    • Analytical
    • Problem-solving
    • Engineering
    • Math
    • Mechanical
    • Detail-oriented
    • Computer literate, including energy modeling software
    • Project management
    • Communication (verbal, written, interpersonal)
    • Teamwork


    Energy engineers design, develop, and evaluate products and systems to promote energy efficiency, including building mechanical systems. Those who work in the HVAC/R field need an understanding of traditional equipment such as boilers, furnaces, and chillers that use fossil fuels, and they need knowledge of the most current environmentally friendly equipment to effectively maximize buildings’ energy efficiency. This includes electricity-based heating and cooling systems such as variable refrigerant flow and air and ground source heat pumps as well as building automation systems and related technologies that support smart buildings.

    Energy engineers must be detail-oriented critical-thinkers with strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Job duties typically involve conducting energy audits and evaluating and interpreting energy data; working on commissioning or retro-commissioning projects to ensure that buildings comply with government regulations regarding sustainability; designing or redesigning programs, products, or systems to improve energy use; and troubleshooting mechanical problems that affect the efficiency of existing systems. They use spreadsheets and energy modeling software (e.g., eQUEST, Ea-Quip, TREAT) and run simulations to assess the feasibility and benefits of a project, estimate greenhouse gas emissions, calculate cost savings, and recommend strategies and measures that will improve energy conservation. 

    Oral communication, interpersonal, and customer service skills are necessary because energy engineers regularly interact with other engineers and energy analysts, contractors, and clients. Energy engineers must be effective writers to produce technical reports that document a project’s scope, methodology and assumptions, calculations, and conclusions.

    Experienced energy engineers are responsible for project management, including drafting work scopes, budgeting, setting schedules and timelines, ensuring adequate staffing, and organizing workflow among team members. Senior-level energy engineers are leaders within their organization who also train and supervise the work of less experienced staff, oversee quality assurance, present project proposals and results to clients, and attract and develop new business.

    Energy engineers spend most of their time in offices, but the job may involve traveling to worksites to conduct inspections and investigate problems with mechanical equipment and systems. Those who specialize in renewable energy (e.g., solar or wind energy) spend more time outdoors. Energy engineers typically work full-time. 

    Job Outlook

    According to the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), there are approximately 4,200 energy engineers and other engineers not otherwise classified in New York State. (Energy engineers are classified under the Standard Occupational Classification title Engineers, All Other, along with engineers who focus on mechatronics, microsystems, photonics, robotics, nanosystems, wind energy, and solar energy systems.) NYSDOL projects that this occupation group of miscellaneous engineers will grow by only 260 jobs between 2018 and 2028, which reflects a relatively small projected growth rate and a modest number of expected job openings compared to other occupations.

    Entering the Field

    Energy engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering to qualify for entry-level jobs. Programs that focus on mechanical engineering are particularly relevant for jobs in the HVAC/R field, and degrees in electrical or energy engineering may also be acceptable to employers. Junior engineers generally work under the supervision of a senior engineer for a few years before they can work independently. Some employers prefer to hire energy engineers with a master’s degree, especially for senior positions. Work experience or training in energy efficiency, sustainability, green building design, HVAC/R systems (including clean energy technologies such as heat pumps), or building automation systems is valued. Positions may be available to candidates without a degree who have extensive work experience, such as that gained working in facilities management.

    Many employers also require additional certifications related to energy efficiency or renewable energy. Examples include those offered by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) (e.g., Certified Energy Manager [CEM], Energy Efficiency Practitioner [EEP], Certified Energy Auditor [CEA], Certified Building Commissioning Professional [CBCP]), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) (e.g., Building Energy Modeling Professional [BEMP]), the U.S. Green Building Council (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED]), or the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) (Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialist [CRES]). Having a New York State Professional Engineer (PE) license can also be advantageous. 


    In New York State, the median wage for energy and all other miscellaneous engineers is approximately $98,300. Entry-level workers earn about $62,900 and experienced workers earn about $119,900.

    Annual Wage (Q1 2021 dollars, rounded to 100s) – Statewide and by Labor Market Region

    New York State$62,900$98,300$119,900
    Capital Region$74,300$105,400$126,900
    Central New York$72,200$101,600$120,000
    Finger Lakes$69,500$97,700$116,800
    Hudson Valley$60,100$99,800$123,400
    Long Island$67,800$108,700$132,200
    Mohawk Valley$42,600$93,300$117,600
    New York City$63,000$96,300$118,200
    North Country$77,200$94,300$101,700
    Southern Tier$51,100$91,100$111,800
    Western New York$57,600$87,700$104,500

    Source: New York State Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey, SOC Code 17-2199 (Engineers, All Other)


    Energy engineers whose work includes HVAC/R equipment and systems may be employed by manufacturers or companies that provide professional services such as engineering design consulting and scientific research and development. Governments may also hire energy engineers.

    The top 3 employers with the most online job advertisements in each region in 2020 are listed below. (Some regions did not have at least three employers that posted relevant job ads.)

    Capital Region

    • American Energy Care
    • TRC Environmental Corporation
    • Siemens

    Central New York

    • United Technologies Corporation

    Finger Lakes

    • TRC Environmental Corporation

    Hudson Valley

    • Willdan Energy Solutions

    Long Island (Employers did not post any job ads online in 2020.)

    Mohawk Valley (Employers did not post any job ads online in 2020.)

    New York City

    • TRC Environmental Corporation
    • Altanova
    • Association for Energy Affordability

    North Country (Employers did not post any job ads online in 2020.)

    Southern Tier (Employers did not post any job ads online in 2020.)

    Western New York

    • Armstrong Fluid Technology
    • Stark Technical Group Incorporated

    Source: Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insight™. 2021.

    Labor Unions

    Workers in architectural and engineering occupations, including energy engineers, are not highly unionized. Engineers who work in the public sector may be more likely to be union members than those who work in the private sector. Check with public unions that represent government workers to see if their members include energy engineers.

    Education and Training Programs

    Energy engineers who want training on specific HVAC/R technologies (including adding to their skillset by learning about modern variable refrigerant flow systems, heat pumps, and building automation systems) can take courses offered by manufacturers and distributors of the equipment. See which companies partner with NYSERDA through Clean Heat Connect and check with individual manufacturers and distributors for a complete list of online or in-person offerings and to see which courses are intended for design professionals.

    Steven Winter Associates, Inc. offers a Building Electrification Training Series. It includes design professionals and consultants among the target audience for its courses covering topics such as heat pumps and strategies for implementing clean energy mechanical systems.

    HVAC/R industry organizations that offer certifications often provide training courses as preparation for taking the certification exam. The following organizations offer certifications relevant to energy engineers (examples are listed above in Entering the Field). Check their websites for available courses, study materials, and/or a list of approved training providers.

    American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

    Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)

    Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA)

    U.S. Green Building Council

    For workers just starting in this field or seeking advanced education, schools throughout New York State offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical engineering that prepare students to become energy engineers. Many schools listed below also offer electrical engineering degrees. Schools noted with an asterisk (“*”) in the table below offer degrees specifically related to energy management or sustainable building design (separately or in addition to mechanical engineering degrees). Many community colleges offer associate degrees in engineering or engineering science that prepare students to transfer to a bachelor’s program upon graduation. Check with local community colleges for program availability.

    Educational InstitutionDepartmentCertificateAssociateBachelorMasterPhD
    Capital Region
    Excelsior College*TechnologyNoNoYesNoNo
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)School of EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    SUNY at Albany*College of Engineering and Applied SciencesNoNoYesYesYes
    Union CollegeMechanical EngineeringNoNoYesNoNo
    Central New York
    Syracuse UniversityMechanical & Aerospace EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    Finger Lakes
    Rochester Institute of Technology*Kate Gleason College of EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    University of RochesterMechanical EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    Hudson Valley
    SUNY New PaltzDivision of Engineering ProgramsNoNoYesNoNo
    Long Island
    Hofstra UniversityDeMatteis School of Engineering & Applied ScienceNoNoYesNoNo
    New York Institute of Technology*College of Engineering & Computing SciencesNoNoYesYes
    Stony Brook University*College of Engineering and Applied SciencesNoNoYesYesYes
    Mohawk Valley
    SUNY Polytechnic InstituteMajors & ProgramsNoNoYesNoNo
    New York City
    Columbia University in the City of New YorkColumbia EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    New York UniversityTandon School of EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    Pratt Institute*School of ArchitectureNoNoNoYesNo
    SUNY Maritime CollegeNoNoYesNoNo
    The City College of New York (CUNY)*The Grove School of EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    North Country
    Clarkson UniversityCoulter School of EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    Southern Tier
    Binghamton UniversityThomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied ScienceNoNoYesYesYes
    Cornell UniversitySibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringNoNoYesYesYes
    Western New York
    Alfred UniversityInamori School of EngineeringNoNoYesYes
    University at BuffaloSchool of Engineering and Applied SciencesNoNoYesYesYes

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