What is Sustainability Engineer?

Do you have a passion for sustainability and a mindset for engineering? However, you don’t know how to combine these two very different industries? We have good news for you! In our article, we introduce you to Sustainability Engineering. This fastly growing industry aims to contribute to the development of a planet-proof technology by incorporating sustainability and engineering. Do you want to get to know more about Sustainability Engineering? Scroll down and read further. 

What is s Sustainability Engineer?

First and foremost, let us tell you what Sustainability Engineer actually means.

The emerging need towards a more planet-proof economy has made its mark on the operation of all industries. Engineering isn’t an exception from this either. However, since (and even before that) the industrial revolution, engineering has been considered one of the most advanced and fastly growing industries, due to the appearance of environmental issues engineering had to reconsider its direction and transform its aim towards a more sustainable path.

The rapidly changing global population is one of the pressing elements among many that influences engineering to search towards new directions.High demand for natural resources increases simultaneously along with our population. The need to find new opportunities that can substitute the Earth’s resources flies on the shoulder of engineering. Besides this issue, engineering also has to deal with the limitations of energy and materials, as well as with a need to reduce waste generation. 

In order to solve these and many other issues, Sustainable Engineering was born. Sustainable Engineering aims to apply the principles of engineering while designing new innovations that drive material and energy efficiency, reduce the environmental impact, cut the costs of production and maximize the delivered value. This mission is mostly accomplished by analyzing the current operation and environmental impact of already existing technologies, and eventually redesigning them in order to optimize their operation.

In which industries a Sustainability Engineer can work?

  1. Manufacturing
  2. New and Existing Construction
  3. Energy Systems
  4. Transportation
  5. waste management
  6. Environmental Remediation

What tasks does Sustainability Engineer have?

Since the aim of sustainable engineering is to deliver technological developments that contribute to the reduction of environmental impact, a sustainability engineer needs to have a deep understanding of engineering in relation to reuse, remanufacturing, recycling and the effects of carbon emissions. Here we have listed all day-to-day tasks as well as key responsibilities that you as a sustainability engineer can have.

Day To Day Tasks

  • Providing low energy advice
  • Working with key client stakeholders in order to develop their sustainable strategies
  • Identifying risks that might influence the company’s sustainable environmental impact as well as advising the clients with sustainable solutions that help to avoid such risks
  • Conducting BREEAM Pre-Assessment
  • Providing design advice
  • Creating visuals and models to illustrate the changes or innovations
  • Monitoring the design process in order to ensure that the process will reach the goal of the client
  • Preparing low and zero-carbon technology studies for local authorities for approval as part of the process

Key Responsibilities

  • Constant communication with the client in order to acquire a clear understanding of their needs and final goal
  • Manage client projects in order to keep them up to the schedule
  • Conduct research and studies on site
  • manage day-to-day activities and implement engineering designs
  • Diagnose construction and mechanism issues
  • Resolve malfunctions and other problems
  • Build portfolios for companies and clients

What studies do I need to finish to become a Sustainability Engineer?


Sustainable or in other words environmental engineers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering (4 years) . It is highly advised for everyone who is aiming to become a sustainable engineer to choose a program that is accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET accreditation verifies that an engineering program meets established quality standards and best practices and is also required by many graduate programs, licensing boards, professional organizations, and employers. You can acquire the ABET accreditation form online and from the university. Students usually have no problem earning the ABET paper by completing the course from home. 

Students are encouraged to find programs incorporating “co-ops” (ie, they award credit for structured work experience). Doing so can help students meet future licensing and employment requirements. Some colleges offer combined five-year bachelor’s and master’s degrees, an accelerated option for students which can be more cost-effective than pursuing the two degrees separately.


The next step towards your dream job in sustainable engineering, you are advised to complete a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering (2 years, depending on the program). Finishing a master’s degree related to this field is not required to enter the field, however lack of it might hold you back in the future from higher positions or additional licenses. At this stage, you have the opportunity to specialize in this field, here are some of the options you can choose from:

  • air pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Risk Management
  • Hazardous and Solid Waste
  • Subsurface Contaminants Hydrology
  • sustainability
  • Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
  • Water Resources
  • Coastal and Ecological Engineering


Most environmental engineers are not allowed to practice without being licensed. Since license requirements vary from the country it always depends on where are you planning to acquire your license. To obtain your license during your exam the following topics can be expected:

  • Math
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Ethics and Professional Practice
  • Engineering Economics
  • Fundamental Principles
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health Hazards and Risk Assessment
  • Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Surface Water Resources and Hydrology
  • Groundwater, Soils, and Sediments
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Air Quality and Control
  • Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Energy and Environment

What are the different positions a Sustainability Engineer can have?

After all, those steps taken here are the following positions you can find yourself as a sustainability engineer:

  • Serving the public directly
  • Starting private firms
  • Bidding on government contracts
  • Managing major projects

How much do Sustainability Engineers make?

The average salary per month as a sustainable engineer is currently 4,360 EUR. This salary can range from 2,140 EUR  (lowest) to  6,800 EUR  (highest).

We hope that we could help you understand this very complex but amazing position. After all this information do you feel like becoming a sustainable engineer? Click here and find all the related vacancies on sustinablejobs.nl

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