Several years ago, when ESOS was still a twinkle in the Government’s eye, Paul had been pushing organisations to work towards an effective energy management system, or EnMS (the extra “n” is there to differentiate it from environmental management systems – EMS; yes it is confusing!). In the EU, this was EN16001, but in 2011 the EU, US and Chinese standards were brought together in one internationally recognized standard – ISO50001.
In 2012 Paul underwent a 1-week intensive ISO50001 Lead-Assessor training by BSI. Much of the detail was to do with the structure and approach, including the infamous “plan-do-check-act” circle.
So what does ISO50001 do? Primarily, it is a disciplined approach to reducing energy costs, i.e. a formal process to:
➢ monitor energy use,
➢ ensure senior management has insight into energy consumption,
➢ rationally decide amongst competing energy saving options,
➢ secure management commitment to energy improvements, and
➢ instil energy awareness into the organizationʼs day-day culture.
How does this differ from normal, day-day energy management?
From past experiences, organisations are often (but not always) OK at the pre and post monitoring of an EE action, i.e. the small blue “checking” circle. Where robust formal energy management systems tend to fail is in the over-arching policy, strategy and consistent protocol (the outer thin red circle), which requires senior management input at all key stages, and in having this process transparent for others to review and, dare I say, comment.
With any good system, the idea is to start with the “low hanging fruit”, such as air leaks or on/off controls for lights and motors, then move onto system optimisation and process optimisation before considering the larger investment opportunities. Doing it in a logical and structured manner will mean that the investment in (say) a new motor or boiler will be for the optimum size, as opposed to over-sized unit with the extra 10-50% capacity (and cost) servicing the inefficiencies.
So why is ISO50001 any different to traditional energy management?
One only has to look at the way energy has been managed over time.
Historically, it tended to blow hot and cold, depending on what was uppermost in the MD’s mind at the time, which might depend on some new legislation landing on their desk, or a sudden increase in gas or electric costs.
What ISO50001 tries to do is move away from the “roller-coaster”…..
Not only does it drive forward energy and CO2 savings, but helps unblock the bottle-necks and improve site productivity.
So what are the benefits from ISO50001
The trouble is that many senior and middle managers simply see ISOs as an extra burden of administration – extra cost and/or effort on their part on top of their day-day job.
That’s not the intention. The main outcomes from ISO50001 are:
- secure management commitment to energy and put it high on the agenda. Without top-management input and commitment, the scheme will flounder.
- Reduce energy costs. This should be the prime motivator. For many large organisations, a 1% energy-saving can be worth £10s or £100’s k/y. But we are not looking for only 1% savings, more like 5-10% from no/low cost actions then a further 10-20% (or more) from cost-effective investments.
- Show environmental stewardship – which goes hand in hand with above.
- Global recognition: the same process/ protocol is recognized and used worldwide.
- Meeting UK ESOS phase 2: if the organisation were to gain certification by, say, mid 2017, this certificate will still be current 3 years later for Dec 2019
- Better management & control, including monitoring, reporting & verification (MRV) – being able to prove that action X helped save Y kWh/y.
- Marketing/ PR/ branding. Not just ethereal, Government organizations frequently ask for ISO140001 as a PQQ requirement, ISO50001 is already following.
- Make energy awareness an intrinsic part of an organisation’s “culture”.
- Identifying weaknesses and areas requiring attention, including training needs.
Formal EnMS would still require regular energy audits to continually assess and re-assess EE and renewable opportunities, but these would become an integral part of a structured approach to energy management best-practice. The structure and protocol will be in place, so funding for cost-effective investments should be quicker and easier to be implemented.