Energy consultants advise government and private clients on their energy consumption needs and solutions. Depending on their expertise, energy consultants can specialize in renewable or energy-efficient technologies. Energy consultants who promote products or services for specific companies should have customer service skills. Some positions in energy consulting may require advanced degrees, such as engineering or environmental management. Although certification is not required, energy consultants who are certified enhance their professional status.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification programs are accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED designation is an internationally recognized certification for commercial and residential buildings. LEED certification programs are developed through a peer-reviewed committee made up of professionals and volunteers who work in energy fields, and the U.S. Department of Energy implements LEED initiatives into its energy efficiency program. Energy consultants who are LEED certified are qualified to design and implement sustainable green projects. In addition to measuring energy sustainability, LEED projects evaluate water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and sustainable materials, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED certification courses for energy consultants are offered through various schools that are accredited by the U.S. Green Building Certification Institute. Energy consultants can specialize in certification areas such as home energy and commercial buildings. The courses are offered online or in traditional classrooms; trainees have to complete a series of courses and pass a qualifying examination to be eligible for a certificate. Course highlights for energy certification courses include basics of energy, reduction of lighting costs, advanced energy audit techniques, and economic analysis of energy.
Certified energy consultants must maintain their credentials and stay current on the latest developments in their field by taking continuing education courses. LEED certified energy consultants have to report a minimum number of course credits per year to qualify for recertification. They must also pass a credentialing examination. The Green Building Certification Institute provides a wide array of courses and testing information for energy consultants as well as other professionals who qualify for LEED certification.
In addition to energy consultants, architects, real estate professionals, facility managers and engineers are eligible for LEED certification. The Green Building Certification Institute develops and administers LEED certification examinations, according to its website. LEED certification designations include the LEED Green Associate and a variety of LEED specialty certificates. LEED certification examinations are timed, computer-based multiple-choice tests. Credential maintenance and examination fees can be accessed on the institute’s website.