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Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology (ESET)

Develop skills in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable design – and contribute to climate change mitigation

A student stands outdoors and holds a tool in front of a home with solar panelling on its roof.
Pilikan House at Annapolis Valley Campus is a living lab where students learn how to incorporate sustainability into residential construction work.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
2 Years

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This program prepares you to work in the fields of energy assessment and management, energy-efficient design, renewable energy and energy storage, and greenhouse gas emission assessment. You're involved in data collection, analysis and modelling, and you work with clients and industry partners in multi-disciplinary projects. With the use of industry-recognized software and technology, graduates can make technical recommendations for energy optimization in a variety of engineering applications.

You learn about:

  • Collecting and analyzing site-specific data for energy audits and renewable resource assessments
  • Analyzing energy consumption in building systems and processes, including building envelope, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting
  • Developing models to optimize energy use and minimize greenhouse gas emissions for any building or process
  • Sizing and selecting equipment for various systems including energy generation and energy monitoring
  • Researching and evaluating technology and best practices related to energy efficiency and emissions reduction
  • Preparing and delivering recommendations to clients based on their specific needs energy sustainability engineering technologists develop technical proficiency in building science, process equipment and renewable energy systems, as well as a strong understanding of how society consumes and produces energy in our built environment

Work experience

  • Work placement is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
    • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work placements are your responsibility.
  • This program is eligible for an optional cooperative education (co-op) credit course between year one and two.
    • Co-op placements provide the opportunity for paid, full-time work in a field related to your program. Opportunities typically last 12 to 16 weeks.
    • Our co-op program follows Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) guidelines.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • Students use Pilikan House, a campus-based living laboratory and a modern residential environment that provides hands-on training opportunities.
  • You study theoretical concepts in class and then put the theory into action within the lab/shop environment and industry settings. When you graduate, you have real-life energy sustainability experience.
  • This program includes courses that scaffold learning and skills in preparation for the NRCan Foundations Exam. In this role, you perform Energuide Energy Assessments on residential homes, helping homeowners improve their home's comfort, reduce energy costs and impact on the environment making you a key part of our climate change solution.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.

Other info

  • Some travel is required for industry visits and/or applicable conferences.
  • Strong computational skills are necessary to be successful in this program.
  • A variety of software tools are used to conduct detailed modelling and analysis of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and renewable resource requirements; therefore, proficiency with computer technology and software design and analysis tools is critical to your success in this program.
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills are an asset in this program, particularly in relation to designing, testing, and troubleshooting equipment and systems.
  • Many employers in this industry seek applicants with strong collaboration and communication skills.
  • The program will require delivery of technical communication (written and oral) as well as collaborative work with other students.

2023-24 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2023

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Annapolis Valley Campus/Online Middleton Full time Blended Delivered through a combination of in-person and scheduled online classes. Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details
  • If you do not have the required academic credits, NSCC offers a variety of credit courses through the Academic and Career Connections program.

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are prepared to provide design, assessment, commissioning and evaluation services to engineers, architects, contractors, project managers and facility owners.
  • Organizations that specialize in energy management, engineering consulting, architecture, technical sales, manufacturing, electrical distribution, HVAC, and alternative energy are potential employers.
  • Graduates may also work for government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and building contractors.

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ESET 1100 - Renewable Energy Technologies I
Renewable Energy Technologies harness natural forces such as solar, wind and tidal to generate energy. The energy captured by renewable systems provides a clean alternative to conventional fossil fuel technologies. With increasing social and economic pressures being applied to the global market place, companies and individuals are looking to renewable energy technologies to supplement and/or replace aging power systems. Learners will explore existing renewable energy technologies while learning how and where to apply them. Natural Resources Canada’s RETScreen (R) software will be used extensively throughout the class, with the expectation that learners will be capable of creating a new project using site collected data.

ESET 1102 - Introduction to Data Collection Analysis and Reporting
Introduction to Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting will introduce the learner to basic concepts and methods used to manage, interpret and present technical data. Emphasis will be placed on the effective use and development of data collection methods as well as data analysis using tools and software that are standard in industry. Particular focus will be given to applying statistical analysis to engineering problems requiring data interpretation.

ESET 1103 - Principles of Energy Management
Energy efficiency and conservation are increasingly important topics in today’s global market. The reduction of energy consumption through alternative design and renewable energy sources is becoming more prominent; however, the proper management of existing energy systems has the potential to significantly reduce both energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Principles of Energy Management will be a focused study of existing energy management best practices and statistical analysis of energy consumption patterns.

ESET 1104 - Communications I
This course introduces students to the research, writing, oral presentation, critical thinking and interpersonal communications skills required of technical professionals in the workplace. Students will also identify personal characteristics which impact academic and career success.

ESET 1105 - Thermodynamics I
Thermodynamics I will introduce the fundamental laws of thermodynamics using practical applications. Learners who successfully complete Thermodynamics I will be able to use thermodynamic equations and engineering problem-solving techniques in the analysis of thermodynamic processes and systems.

ESET 1113 - Applied Mathematics I
Applied Mathematics I is designed to give a review of basic algebra, geometry, functional notation, linear equations, quadratic equations, trigonometric functions, exponents, logarithms, complex numbers, analytic geometry and systems of equations. The concept of the limit and the concept of the first derivative, a special limit, will be studied (time permitting). The course objective is to give learners a basic understanding of mathematical principles so that learners can apply these principles to courses in the engineering technology programs and to prepare for the study of calculus. The use of computer software as a mathematical tool for electrical engineering design will be encouraged. The learner will be encouraged to maintain a mathematics journal that may become part of their personal college portfolio.

ESET 1200 - Renewable Energy Technologies II
Renewable Energy Technologies harness natural forces such as solar, wind and hydro to generate energy. The energy captured by renewable systems provides a clean alternative to conventional fossil fuel technologies. Learners will explore the use of renewable energy systems for the residential market (single and multi-residential buildings). The course will focus on collecting real site data and applying the information to the design of a hybrid renewable system. All feasibility calculations will be done using the RETScreen (R) computer models.

ESET 1203 - Sustainable Design
Sustainable design encompasses everything from product design to building decommissioning. Consideration must be given to complete life cycle analysis in order to effectively weigh economic, environmental and social options. The course will prepare learners to perform complete life cycle assessments of products and materials and will be presented as a means of reducing total energy consumption throughout the design process. Learners will work individually and as part of a team to assess existing products, and make recommendations on the selection of building materials. A capstone project will look at developing a functional product or building material using completely recycled or salvaged materials.

ESET 1204 - Communications II
This course introduces students to the formal technical report writing skills required of technical professionals in the workplace. The fundamentals of clear, concise writing and presenting will be reviewed and refined. In addition, job search documents will be created.

ESET 1213 - Applied Mathematics II
Topics included in this course are limits, slope of the tangent to a curve, differentiation by the delta process, derivatives of polynomials, applications involving derivatives, finding points of extrema, using differentiation to aid curve sketching and to find maximums and minimums, and the introduction to the concept of differentials, and to integrate polynomial functions and approximate numerically the area under a curve.

ESET 1301 - Building Systems
Reducing and conserving the energy consumed by a building requires working knowledge of typical building systems. Learners will undertake a focused study of building systems for residential applications. Through visual and non-destructive assessments, the learners will work through the development of accurate heating and cooling loads using a suite of software models developed by Natural Resources Canada. The course will focus its attention on typical building design, common building materials and the associated thermal performance. Using data collection and standardized forms learners will work towards preparing efficient building upgrades for existing buildings.

ESET 1302 - Engineering Graphics
In this introduction to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software, learners gain knowledge in the use and principles of Computer Aided Drafting. The primary emphasis is the application of AutoCAD®, an industry-standard Computer Aided Drafting software program. Specific hardware used in the CAD environment is introduced and utilized.

ESET 1319 - Energy Systems and Assessments
Energy systems are used in all aspects of our daily life and can be complex industrial processes or simplistic residential systems. Energy Systems and Assessments will explore the common types of generation, distribution and consumption systems used in industrial, commercial and residential applications. These energy systems must be measured, modelled and monitored in order to actively manage the energy consumption. This course will prepare learners to perform comprehensive energy audits of processes and buildings. Course work will focus on real life case studies and field work and where applicable, use metering equipment and simulation software as a means of accurately measuring/modelling energy loads. Upon completion of the course learners will be capable of performing a detailed energy audit and presenting the audit findings in an opportunity report.

ESET 1320 - Electrical Systems
Electrical Systems will introduce the learner to the basic concepts of electricity necessary for Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology. Topics include direct/alternating current, voltage, resistance, Ohm's Law, power, capacitors magnetic circuits, motors and generators. Focus will be given to calculating power and efficiency, applying mathematical formulae and using electrical metering equipment.

ESET 1322 - Engineering Business
This course provides an overview of fundamental business processes and fosters the understanding necessary for contributing to business decision making. Students learn how the work of the technologist is shaped by business considerations, and practice the creative, analytical, and communications skills necessary for developing a business case.

ESET 2404 - Communications III
This course develops formal technical report writing and presentation skills required of technical professionals in the workplace. Job search strategies will be discussed, targeted job search documents (resume, cover letter, and portfolio) will be produced, and mock interviews will be conducted.

ESET 2405 - Thermodynamics II
Thermodynamics II will build on the fundamental laws of thermodynamics using practical applications. Learners who successfully complete Thermodynamics II will be able to use thermodynamic equation and engineering problem solving techniques in the analysis of complex thermodynamic processes and systems. Focus will be given to power cycles, heat engines, system efficiencies and boundary layer heat transfer.

ESET 2406 - Industry Standards in Energy Efficiency
This course provides a comprehensive overview of techniques, approaches, materials and technologies used in creating greener buildings and communities. It will provide an introductory level of familiarity with the various standards in energy efficiency.

ESET 2408 - Measurement Verification and Controls I
This course will introduce learners to the concept and application of Measurement and Verification and how these activities interface with the design and development of control systems for energy management. Emphasis will be placed on how critical data is captured and interpreted. This course will explore the common types of sensors and processors used in industrial, commercial and residential applications. The intent of this course will be to provide the learners with the required skills to assess the design and performance of integrated control and monitoring systems.

ESET 2501 - Advanced Building Design
Reducing the impact humans and buildings have on the environment are important design considerations in today's building industry. Standards such as the Model National Energy Code and ASHRAE's Energy Standard for Buildings (90.1) are considered minimum guidelines for energy; yet neither standard addresses the broader topic of environmental sustainability. The course will focus its attention on advanced building design using the integrated sustainable design approach which has become more popular with rating systems such as LEED for New Construction. Using preliminary architectural drawings, building standards and modelling software students will work towards preparing an integrated sustainable building design report for a proposed new building.

ESET 2504 - Communications IV
This course supports the work of the Senior Project, developing their design, project management, technical documentation and presentation skills. They will submit progress reports and maintain records of progress meetings and design reviews. They will use project management techniques such as Work Breakdown Structures and Gantt Charts.

ESET 2508 - Measurement Verification and Controls II
Building on the learning outcomes and principles explored in Measurement Verification and Controls I, this course will provide learners with the opportunity to gain real world project experience in the design, development, installation, commissioning and operation of measurement, verification and control systems. Emphasis will be placed on employing industry accepted Measurement and Verification (M&V) Protocols to evaluate the performance of Energy Conservation Measures and Energy Management Systems.

ESET 2512 - Geographic Information Systems
This project-based course will introduce learners to concepts related to GIS and spatial data. The course will provide learners with the opportunity to create output products using modern, industry standard software packages. Major components of a GIS, the functionality of these components, and the interrelationship between GIS and other sciences and technologies will be explored.

ESET 2515 - Project Development and Management
Project development and management is the application of logic to the individual tasks that define and constrain the successful delivery of a project. Through the application of standardized estimating and scheduling procedures, project managers and their teams can more effectively track and control the primary objectives of the project (quality, time, budget and safety). Project Development and Management will expose students to the underlying principles of good project planning and management, while exploring the various techniques and tools available to industry.

ESET 2610 - Engineering Law and Ethics
Engineering Law and Ethics deals with the responsibility Technical Professionals have with issues surrounding integrity and accountability. The structure and intent of governing acts on the Provincial and Federal level are explored, as well as applicable professional codes of ethics. Issues that arise through technological development and application will be considered from a legal, ethical and sustainable development perspective.

ESET 2650 - Senior Project
Learners will work on their chosen technical project and monitor their progress by submitting progress reports, participating in progress meeting minutes, and a research journal. They will also use project management tools such as flow charts and Gantt Charts. The project will culminate with a formal technical report and presentation. Workshops and tutorials will be scheduled as required by the learners.

ESET 2700 - Work Experience II
Working with an applied learning partner, the learner will demonstrate occupational, employability and essential skills developed throughout the program to meet current workplace practice and standards. This external applied learning experience contributes to a well-rounded education and serves as a bridge to the labour market.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1025 - Certified Fall Arrest and Protection
This course provides participants with an understanding of the hazards associated with working from heights and compliance with Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (2013). Throughout the course, participants will gain experience in the donning of a harness, an overview and presentation of system components involved when working from heights and learn how to complete a fall calculation and emergency procedures.

Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology Year 1 Prescribed elective course requirement. 2.25 unit/credits.

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