An energy manager is not a self-appointed title. You also don’t get that title by attending a short course and going out claiming you are now an energy manager. We all know in the electrical inspection industry what used to be and what is now – becoming an inspector required study and then carrying the experienced inspector’s toolbox around watching and learning for a number of years before being entrusted with that job… not sure if there are stats that there are now less fires in buildings vs way back then comparing apples with apples… but the bottom line is, energy managers require the same type of learning experience before being able to claim such a title.
Energy is such a holistic topic really, you cannot focus on one study or work area and become knowledgeable as an energy manager. Energy encompasses the whole process in a factory, building, warehouse, etc and has a major human factor in it – it encompasses not only electrical aspects, but mechanical, thermal, industrial, processes, management, change management, commitment, awareness, systems, purchasing changes, etc. It is something you have to be at all the time, it is a process, a cycle, not only of implementing but of learning, keeping up with the latest in new methods and technologies.
Besides all this, most companies have major production lines with quality control, health and safety, budgets and targets to meet – making changes in the name of the environment or saving energy cannot be recommended, implemented or done by a fly-by-night energy manager, you need to have a person that knows what they are doing to reduce your business risks with any interventions.
Therefore, rather find yourself a Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) who understands the intricacies involved, or employ one to protect your assets against fly-by-nights. Don’t fall for a good sales pitch, savings promised on the packaging of equipment might be accurate for one application but not for the next. You need to know. And if you don’t, get the knowledge yourself, or find someone who has.
That is where the Energy Training Foundation (EnTF) comes in. For 15 years we have been making the international Certification qualification training programmes of a 40 year old developing syllabus from the US-based Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) available to the Southern African region. The training modules are short learning periods from 2-5 days, whereafter an examination is written which requires solving problem and solution statements. AEE’s Certification qualifications training modules are not designed for beginners in the industry – although it gives the most comprehensive overview to introduce you to the fact that it is an industry not to be taken lightly. For attaining the qualification, the syllabus is designed to culminate together all the disciplines in the engineering fields to enhance and build on the experience candidates already have in the industry – to form a holistic understanding of energy and its bigger picture.
The success of the AEE CEM® programme comes in that it requires working experience, more so than existing qualifications – and of course passing the examination with 70%. But the most important aspect is that you need to keep that experience current, and the Certification requires renewal every three years, giving a reasonable amount of assurance to clients and employers that an individual that carries the CEM® qualification is keeping abreast of the industry trends.
The figures speak for themselves, as there are currently just under 17,000 active CEM’s in the world from 105 countries where AEE qualifications are recognised, of which just under 600 CEMs are in the Southern African region in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Seychelles, Namibia and Kenya.
Many other schemes exist – but few as large and successful with so much peer review to accept candidates for Certification. In our region there is a board for the African continent that review Certification applications and renewals, whereafter a similar review process is done internationally. Each applicant’s CV and project descriptions are peer reviewed before Certification is granted.
And once receiving Certification it does not mean you are an expert on any ground other than that you understand how energy fits into the holistic system – which is a critical aspect in any organisation as energy underpins everything in a company… thereafter experience will make you the expert in your field and additional training in the areas you wish to specialise in.
The EnTF has been hard at work expanding its offerings to not only assist CEMs in further training, but to assist CEMs in fundamental training for their teams to enable them to understand the CEM’s approach. Training on various levels for various aspects that surround the requirements of energy management in a company have been developed and is available as public courses or in-house training sessions.
We hope to be training you and your energy team soon, visit www.entf.co.za for more information on our courses and qualifications.
Yours in training.