Energy Efficiency Jobs

Mechanical engineers are critical to the creation of energy efficient products, systems and processes.

Mechanical Engineer Green Job Profile

Mechanical engineers focus on researching, designing, evaluating, and maintaining mechanical products, equipment and systems such as HVACs and solar power generation systems. They frequently need to read and interpret blueprints, technical drawings, schematics, or reports and may recommend design modifications to meet requirements in energy efficiency or water conservation. Mechanical engineers also perform research that tests or analyzes the feasibility, design, operation, or performance of equipment, components, or systems often used in sustainability projects. They may need to investigate equipment failures to diagnose faulty operation, and make recommendations on how to solve specific issues. These green job holders assist in developing the structural design of products using the following tools or computer-assisted design software:

  • Optical laser scanners are used to measure the physical and geometrical characteristics of objects used in green projects.
  • Digital particle image velocimeters, laser doppler anemometers, laser doppler velocimeters (LDV), and pitot tubes are flowmeters used to measure fluid flow velocity when designing systems for water efficiency.
  • Vibration control systems or vibration isolators are tools used for vibration testing and signal analysis.
  • Semiconductor process systems such as plasma etchers, projection lithography equipment, wafer dicing saws, wire bonders are used in the production of semiconductor devices.
  • Function generators and pattern generators are signal generator tools used in designing, testing and troubleshooting of devices to meet energy efficiency requirements.

Mechanical engineers use computer-assisted design (CAD) software to perform engineering tasks. The following technology may be used:

  • Analytical or scientific software such as MAYA Nastran, ReliaSoft Weibull++ 6, Sigmetrix CETOL 6 Sigma, and MATLAB help Mechanical Engineers perform analysis and calculations.
  • Computer aided design (CAD) software such as Autodesk AutoCAD software, SolidWorks CAD software, UGS I-DEAS, and Zeemax software; or Computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software such as Rapid prototyping software help Mechanical engineers in designing of mechanical systems.
  • Development software such C++, G-code, Ladder Logic, Microsoft Visual Basic, National Instruments LabVIEW, and Rockwell Software may also be used in designing of mechanical systems.

Mechanical Engineer Green Job ProfileMechanical engineers also develop and test alternate designs and processing methods in order to assess feasibility of new applications. Mechanical engineers specify system components or the modification of products to ensure they conform to engineering design, performance specifications and most importantly customer requirements. Lastly, they often discuss with engineers or other personnel the best way to implement operating procedures, resolutions to system malfunctions, or provide technical information.

Creating a more energy efficient HVAC system is an example of a green or sustainable project which a mechanical engineer will design. Mechanical engineers also perform analysis of buildings’ heating, ventilation, and cooling loads. They then evaluate energy efficiency impacts of mechanical or lighting system applications and come up with building design alternatives for energy efficiency. Mechanical engineers can also design plumbing and fire-protection systems for water efficiency. They evaluate water-efficiency impacts of various equipment and systems to come up with building options.

Green Job Summary

  • Mechanical engineers perform engineering tasks in designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical equipment.
  • Mechanical engineers manage the installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment such as centralized heat, gas, water, steam and wind power generation systems.
  • Mechanical engineers develop, coordinate, and monitor all aspects of production, including selection of manufacturing methods, fabrication, or the operations associated to product design.

Work Environment for Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical engineers typically work in offices. They may occasionally visit worksites to inspect equipment or assist in resolving problems. Mechanical engineers work mostly in engineering services, research and development, manufacturing industries, and the federal government.

Education, Training and Licensing

Obtaining a green career as a Mechanical engineer requires a four-year bachelor’s degree in the Mechanical Engineering discipline. A Master degree is usually needed for promotion into managerial positions. Mechanical engineers who sell services publicly must be licensed in all states and Washington DC. Tool Designer is a recognized apprenticeable specialty associated with this occupation. Employees in this job usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. This job usually involves coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others.

Employment Figures, Projections, Outlook and Earnings

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in this field to grow 9 percent from 2010 until 2020; this is slower than the average for all jobs. Job prospects may be best for those who stay current to the most recent advances in technology and green energy. The BLS projected 99,600 job openings between 2010 and 2020, and noted 243,000 Mechanical Engineer jobs are currently filled. Job title example are Mechanical Engineer, Design Engineer, Product Engineer, Mechanical Design Engineer, Process Engineer, Equipment Engineer, Design Maintenance Engineer, Systems Engineer, Chassis Systems Engineer, and Commissioning Engineer. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for salaried Mechanical Engineers was $ 79,230 in 2011 with median hourly wage of $ 38.09.


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