Similar Titles

Energy Efficiency Consultant, Sustainable Building Upgrade Expert, Retrofit Project Manager, Building Performance Analyst, Green Retrofit Specialist. Energy Conservation Advisor, Eco-friendly Renovation Consultant, Building Sustainability Coordinator, Renewable Energy Retrofit Specialist, Sustainable Infrastructure Developer

Job Description

Energy efficiency is crucial for our planet’s sustainability—and retrofitting plays a pivotal role!

“Retrofitting” adds technology and features to existing buildings and systems to improve their energy use efficiency. It also enables compliance with modern standards without having to completely replace the whole building or system, which would be very costly.

Because residential, commercial, and industrial buildings account for so much energy consumption, Energy/Building Retrofit Specialists focus on these structures by adding better air sealing and insulation, improved heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient appliances​​.

Their roles sometimes require collaboration with architects, engineers, and government agencies to ensure the retrofit job is done right!

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Contributing to energy conservation and sustainability
  • Enhancing the health and safety of living and working environments
  • Saving building owners from more expensive alternatives such as rebuilding 
2022 Employment
2032 Projected Employment
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

Energy/Building Retrofit Specialists work full-time with occasional overtime to meet project deadlines. The job involves traveling to retrofit sites, which may sometimes be outside the local area. Workers must practice safety measures to avoid mishaps and injuries.

Typical Duties

  • Inspect residential and commercial buildings to identify energy inefficiency issues  
  • Conduct comprehensive audits using tools like blower doors and infrared cameras for diagnostic testing  
  • Interpret data and compile findings into detailed efficiency reports  
  • Identify electrical, plumbing, roofing, and flashing installation needs  
  • Propose effective energy-saving solutions and retrofit measures  
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, and policymakers, as needed
  • Report preexisting conditions outside the work scope  
  • Gather necessary equipment, materials, and supplies before starting the work  
  • Safely handle materials and equipment according to specifications. 
    Follow safety protocols for rigging and ventilation. Wear protective gear, as required
  • Implement retrofit measures such as installing dense pack insulation, duct sealing, high-performing energy-efficient appliances, air sealing, moisture barriers, mechanical ventilation systems, etc.
  • Install new windows and doors, ensuring proper insulation and fit  
  • Use protective barriers, such as drop cloths, to safeguard the area
  • Identify and mitigate combustion appliance safety hazards
  • Ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations; advise clients on how to comply, as needed

Additional Responsibilities

  • Attend crew debriefings, safety meetings, and training sessions
  • Address any deviations from the original work scope  
  • Clean up job sites; ensure proper disposal of waste materials  
  • Account for all tools used
  • Perform maintenance and calibration of auditing equipment
  • Engage in public education related to energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Stay informed on evolving standards and technologies
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Adaptability
  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • Clear communication
  • Commitment to quality assurance
  • Cost-conscious  
  • Critical thinking
  • Customer service skills
  • Detailed-oriented
  • Independence
  • Physical stamina
  • Problem-solving
  • Safety-minded
  • Sound judgment
  • Teamwork
  • Visualization

Technical Skills

  • Basic engineering principles
  • Blueprints, technical plans, and drawings
  • Building energy modeling software (in some cases)
  • Computer-aided design (in some cases)
  • Building science and energy systems
  • Comfortable working at elevated heights
  • Data analysis and report writing skills
  • Energy auditing tools like blower doors and infrared cameras
  • Energy regulations and building codes
  • General math skills
  • HVAC systems and building envelope components
  • Normal (or correctable) vision
  • Physical fitness and dexterity
  • Safely working with raw materials
  • Good hand-eye coordination
Different Types of Organizations
  • Consulting firms
  • Government agencies
  • Research institutions
  • Retrofit construction companies
  • Sustainability non-profits
Expectations and Sacrifices

Energy/Building Retrofit Specialists often work outdoors, sometimes under challenging conditions. They must have a solid understanding of client needs, the building they are working on, and the precise materials being used or equipment being installed (such as solar paneling, heat pumps, and external wall insulation).

In addition, they must stay up-to-date on evolving technologies and standards related to retrofitting. Workers must identify all potential hazards and diligently practice safety protocols to avoid mishaps and injuries.  

Current Trends

Buildings account for 40% of energy use plus a substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, it’s vital to make efficiency improvements to achieve climate goals​​.

Retrofitting plays a huge role in making such improvements, as the demand for energy-efficient buildings continues to rise. There’s a growing trend to incorporate renewable and affordable energy sources like solar panels in buildings.

Meanwhile, advanced technologies like building automation systems, smart thermostats, and IoT sensors are helping to optimize energy use. Another trend is enhancing building envelopes with better insulation, high-performance windows, and doors. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…

Energy/Building Retrofit Specialists often had an early interest in sustainability and environmental issues. They likely enjoyed physical activities and being outside a lot, too, and may have assisted with construction-related projects. There’s some math and science involved in the job, so they were probably good at those subjects in high school. 

Education and Training Needed
  • Energy/Building Retrofit Specialists may need either an associate's or bachelor’s degree, depending on the job they apply for
  1. Advanced roles may require a master’s or certification in a specialized area
  • Common degree majors include environmental science, architecture, engineering, and construction management
  • Relevant courses may include:
  1. Building Energy Modeling and Simulation
  2. Building Science and Sustainability
  3. Construction Management and Economics
  4. Energy Auditing and Retrofitting
  5. Environmental Impact Assessment
  6. Geographic Information Systems
  7. Green Building Principles
  8. HVAC Technology
  9. Indoor Environmental Quality and Health
  10. Renewable Energy Systems
  11. Solar Energy Fundamentals and Applications
  12. Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer
  • Internships with retrofitting companies or energy efficiency agencies can provide valuable hands-on experience
  • Students can also apply to a Registered Apprenticeship Program to become an Energy Specialist Apprentice
  • Professional certifications can help boost one’s credentials, too! Examples include:
  1. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program Retrofit Installer Badges
  2. Building Performance Institute, Inc. certifications:

        *Building Science Principles

        *Healthy Housing Principles

        *Site Supervisor Certificate

        *Total Building Performance Certificate

  • Other credentials to consider include Energy Audit that or, Quality Control Inspector, and Crew Leader job task analysis, OSHA 10 certification, Confined Spaces Certification, and Lead Safe Renovation and Repair Certification
  • Note, many states require licensing for certain retrofit work, so check with your local building or energy department!
  • Workers typically require a valid driver’s license to travel to job sites
  • Look for accredited programs in fields like environmental science, energy efficiency, sustainability, engineering, or architecture
  • Consider the cost of tuition, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities
  • Decide on the program format: on-campus, online, or hybrid. Note, that certain hands-on subjects will need to be learned in person
  • Evaluate post-graduation job placement rates
  • Ask if the program has connections to local employers 
Things to do in High School and College
  • Sign up for classes in mathematics (algebra, geometry), environmental science, building trade vocational training, computer-aided design, and electrical courses
  • Classes involving labor, tool usage, or physical fitness will help develop necessary physical aspects
  • Often high school students can take community college classes simultaneously, helping expedite their path to getting a job right after graduation
  • Develop your technical reading and IT skills through classes or by practicing at home
  • Volunteer with local sustainability groups on eco-friendly projects, or for a local Habitat for Humanity project
  • Participate in school science clubs or construction learning experiences
  • Gain practical skills through internships or apprenticeships with retrofitting companies
  • Engage in online forums like the Retrofit Professional Forum
  • Review job post descriptions to learn the current qualifications and specializations employers are looking for
  1. Pay attention to the keywords in job posts, and try to work those into your application materials
Energy/Building Retrofit Specialist Roadmap
Energy/Building Retrofit Specialist
How to land your 1st job

While searching for jobs, keep in mind that in the field of energy building retrofit, there are numerous possible job titles. A few examples include: Energy Efficiency Consultant, Building Performance Analyst, Energy Auditor, Retrofit Project Manager, Energy Conservation Engineer, Building Systems Analyst, Environmental Retrofit Coordinator, HVAC Efficiency Specialist, Building Envelope Specialist, Energy Management Technician, Energy Solutions Architect, Renewable Energy Consultant, Building Retrofit Engineer, Energy Compliance Officer, and Building Sustainability Assessor.

  • Check out job postings on platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, and industry-specific job boards
  • Carefully read job ads for specific requirements and experiences that the employer is looking for. Only apply to jobs you’re qualified for
  • Don’t forget your local Craigslist, or do a Google search for local retrofitting companies
  • Apply for internships, Registered Apprenticeship Programs, or entry-level positions to gain relevant experience
  • Search online for a suitable retrofit resume template
  • Include keywords relevant to the industry in your resume, such as:
  1. Building Automation Systems
  2. Building Envelope Optimization
  3. Building Insulation Techniques
  4. Carbon Footprint Reduction
  5. Cost-Benefit Analysis
  6. Energy Auditing
  7. Energy Efficiency
  8. Energy Star Standards
  9. Green Building Practices
  10. Photovoltaic Systems
  11. Renewable Energy Solutions
  12. Retrofitting
  • Let everyone in your network know you’re looking for job opportunities
  • Ask former supervisors and college professors if they’ll serve as a reference or write you a recommendation letter
  • If you do an internship, talk to your supervisor about the potential for a full-time job
  • Use your school’s career center for help with resume and interview preparation
  • Ask your college program manager if they have ties with local employers or recruiters
  • Prep for interviews by studying current trends and terminology
  • Dress professionally for job interviews 
How to Climb the Ladder
  • Discuss career progression options with your supervisor, and listen to their advice
  • Take the initiative to learn new things and knock out some continuing education courses, a specialized certification, or a higher-level degree
  • Professional development credentials include:
  1. Retrofit Installer Badges
  2. Building Performance Institute certs
  3. Energy Auditor
  4. Quality Control Inspector
  5. Crew Leader
  6. OSHA 30-hour card and Trainer card
  7. Confined Spaces Certification
  8. Lead Safe Renovation and Repair Certification
  • Volunteer for challenging projects to demonstrate your adaptability and leadership potential
  • Keep up-to-date on advancements in retrofitting technologies
  • Participate in professional organizations to grow your professional network and learn new ideas  
  • Mentor junior specialists or interns. Share your expertise, establish expectations, and set the bar high
  • Always practice good safety procedures when dealing with hand tools and powered equipment, or when working in potentially hazardous conditions
  • Consider moving to an area where there are more old buildings that might require retrofitting, since these areas may have more work opportunities
  • If necessary to advance your career, consider switching employers when the time is right
Plan B

There are many related jobs in the retrofit industry to consider. Check out the Green Buildings Career Map to learn more about them! Below are a few of the job titles.  

Commercial & Institutional Construction & Retrofitting

  • Building Performance Contractor
  • Commercial Building Code Official
  • Indoor Environmental Health Specialist
  • Commercial Lighting Auditor
  • Commercial Energy Auditor
  • Insulation/Air Sealing Technician
  • Energy Efficiency Technician

Residential & Multifamily Construction & Retrofitting

  • Building / Home Performance Contractor
  • Residential Building Code Official
  • Multifamily Retrofit Project Manager
  • Residential Quality Control Inspector
  • Multifamily Energy Auditor
  • Healthy Home Evaluator
  • Building Performance Crew Leader
  • Energy Efficiency Technician
  • Building Performance Installer

For those retrofitting as a career but want to review additional options, check out the below list of career fields!

  • Carpenter
  • Climate Change Analyst
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Construction Worker
  • Electrician    
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Glazier    
  • Hazardous Waste Technician
  • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanic
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Ironworker
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Masonry Worker
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Plumber, Pipefitter, Steamfitter
  • Roofer
  • Water Resource Specialist


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