With changes to the political, social, and economic undercurrents of our society, the landscape of energy efficiency is constantly shifting. The industry is now largely recognized for its demand-side solution to conserve energy, save natural and financial resources, and build career opportunities. The numbers don’t lie; energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective energy solution out there and the region’s demand for energy is flattening out as more energy efficiency practices take hold. These positive aspects of energy efficiency have caught the eyes of recent college graduates who see the energy efficiency industry as promising, innovative, and full of opportunity. Like many of today’s hot industries, energy efficiency companies seek young professionals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. Degrees in engineering, marketing, political science, economics, and public policy, to name a few, are good stepping stones for breaking into the efficiency industry. NEEP, and other organizations like it, have given young professionals the opportunity to branch out and find their passion within energy efficiency. A quick search of current job opportunities reveals positions in research, marketing and product development – the list goes on but it’s clear that there’s something for everyone.
Energy efficiency’s multifaceted work environment isn’t the only reason the light bulbs are switching on in the minds of recent graduates. It’s easy to get behind the efficiency movement because it speaks to environmental health, economic growth, and energy security/independence. Working in a growing industry provides job security and a sense of pride associated with working towards a wholesome and commendable cause. There are hints of social responsibility to make our human systems and our planet more sustainable for current and future generations. The bottom line is that it makes sense to get involved with energy efficiency because of where the industry is headed; it is growing at a rapid pace and will only grow faster as economic and environmental implications are further realized. A career in energy efficiency is rewarding for recent graduates and young professionals, which is precisely why Fritzi Pieper, a Tufts 12’ graduate who studied anthropology and environmental studies, set her sights on this industry. “Working in energy efficiency has given me exposure to many different professionals who all work towards a common goal,” said Pieper, “In this industry, people enjoy what they do and collaboration is highly valued. As a marketing and communications associate, I get to do what I love while learning new skills in a field that has geat potential for the future.” NEEP recognizes the need for a new generation of professionals, to garner crisp knowledge and fresh, innovative ideas in order to accelerate energy efficiency awareness and adoption. The NEEP Summit, NEEP’s annual signature event, offers scholarships and mentoring to students who are already interested and immersed in a sector of energy efficiency or to those who are just getting their feet wet. At the NEEP Summit students are paired with mentors from across the industry. Tung Huynh, a public policy and technical buildings intern here at NEEP, participated in the scholarship program at the 2011 Summit. “Going to the conference helped me expand my understanding of efficiency beyond my research and helped me solidify my master’s thesis on energy efficiency,” says Tung, “I’ve been able to work on retrofitting, public policy analysis, and now I’m starting to delve into building codes and energy standards. It’s great to be able to continually broaden my energy efficiency perspective.” If you are interested in the NEEP Summit Scholarship program, visit our website for more information about the program and the Summit. Any questions can be directed to Adunn@neep.org or Jotterbein@neep.org.