Saturday, November 19, 2011

How Much Does an Energy Manager Make?

Many people ask this question. In short, the answer is this: if you become an energy manager, you can pretty much expect to make the same salary you get now. Your salary may increase if you can justify it with the additional value you create.

Energy managers are not created equal. To see why I say this, take a minute to read an earlier post, “What Does an Energy Manager Do?” The energy manager concept is new, relative to long-standing responsibilities in operations, maintenance, and procurement management. Because it’s new, organizations have no yardstick for measuring the value of energy management. Chances are that the person in authority offering the position has no clue what’s involved. He or she understands only what you do now—so they expect to pay you what you currently make. For example:

• A tradesman works with hands-on tools, dutifully seeking to “fix what’s broken.” But he is probably not good at monetizing the cash flow results from energy improvements.
• A procurement director may know how to squeeze a vendor for the lowest price of desks and pencils, but is not prepared to manage electricity prices through a portfolio of hedge contracts.
• A young project engineer may know how to specify components for a lighting retrofit, but may not be prepared to overcome the resistance when Department A pays for the improvement, yet Department B is the one that collects the benefits.

An energy manager is a communicator, negotiator, coach, analyst, and advocate of change. A good energy manager is just as comfortable in the board room as in the boiler room. He or she can demonstrate the linkage between energy choices and core business goals. An energy manager who merely seeks to “save energy” is missing the point and won’t last long. What you get paid is related not just to the value you create, but the value you actually demonstrate.

What do you bring to the position of energy manager? The more of these items you perform, the more money you should expect to make:

Utility bill auditing. You’ll need to understand utility tariffs and analyze bills for accuracy.

Employee engagement to boost awareness. Use media to reach the right people with the right message. Make compelling messages so that staff understand their responsibilities with respect to energy use.

Fuel switching & commodity shopping. Shop for fuel and power, minimizing price risk using financial portfolio management techniques.

Project management. Orchestrate staff, vendors, budgets, and task milestones to achieve project implementation.

Energy and asset inventorying. Prepare a balance summary of energy inputs and end-uses.

Best practice definition, training, and procedural implementation. Train staff and ensure that energy-saving behaviors become part of standard operating procedure.

Performance benchmarking: energy flow monitoring, metering and verification. Create performance metrics that demonstrate progress over time.

Business plan development: goals, targets, accountabilities and metrics. Make the business case to secure the resources you’ll need for continuous energy improvement. Think “process,” not “project.”

Relationship management with vendors and utilities. Match your inventory of in-house needs and capabilities with the capabilities and incentives offered by these business allies.

Performance reporting and shareholder communications. Document and promote your results while gaining recognition for your company.

The real question is “What value do you create as an energy manager?” Answer that question, and you’ll have a much better idea of the salary you command.



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