In an article written for the Major Energy Users' Council, Richard Smith, Director of Business Strategy for Inprova Energy, examines why ISO 50001 should be the backbone of successful day-to-day energy management.
ISO 50001 isn't one of those certificates that you work hard to gain and then quietly forget; it's crucial to business performance.
The international energy management standard draws on global best practice from more than 50 countries. Evidence shows that ISO 50001 accredited organisations are achieving energy performance improvements of 10 per cent or more, often through low and no-cost measures.
It specifies the requirements for building, maintaining and continually improving a high functioning energy management system. The main objective of the standard is to improve energy-related performance and energy efficiency continuously and to identify energy reduction opportunities. This systematic approach helps organisations to establish systems and processes to monitor, manage and reduce energy consumption.
Using a Plan, Do, Check, Act model, ISO 50001 doesn't just ensure that you have the right processes in place; it makes sure that you do what you say you are going to do. The end result is that you save energy, cut costs and meet environmental requirements.
The standard's efficacy is demonstrated by the fact that it's a direct route to Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) compliance. It is also supported by international governments and clean energy leaders, who have recently launched 'The Energy Management Campaign' to encourage worldwide implementation of ISO 50001.
The campaign analysis shows that broad implementation of ISO 50001 across commercial and industrial sectors globally could produce total energy savings of approximately 62 exajoules by 2030, saving over $600 billion in energy costs and avoiding 6,500 Mt of CO2 emissions. The projected annual emissions savings in the year 2030 are equivalent to the environmental benefit of removing 215 million cars from the road.
Since two thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are derived from energy production and use, ISO 50001 is a universal, international benchmark that can play an important role in measuring progress towards international climate commitments, as well as corporate goals.
Integrated energy and business management
For decades, businesses have failed to realise their full energy efficiency potential. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), a key problem is that energy efficiency isn't integrated into the daily management practices of organisations.
This problem is solved by ISO 50001, which ensures that energy management systems are integrated with existing business processes. This automatically moves energy out of the plant room and into the board room, where it receives the high level attention it warrants as a crucial top-level business issue.
Benefits of ISO 50001
The benefits of an ISO 50001 compliant energy management system are many, including:
- Accurate monitoring and measuring of energy consumption - helping you to identify wastage and focus energy efficiency improvements for most impact. This can lead to cost savings and CO2 emissions reductions.
- Compliance - ISO 50001 keeps you up to date with other legislation and legal requirements, enabling you to be fully compliant and avoid breaches, which can lead to fines and prosecution. It provides an automatic compliance route for ESOS.
- Demonstrate environmental leadership - by showing best practice commitment to energy management, thereby gaining respect and potential business from clients who prefer to associate with socially responsible, sustainable companies.
- Identify and understand your energy usage - to highlight potential risks and address issues, such as security of supply.
- Improve communication with stakeholders and employees, ISO 50001 encourages sharing of energy efficiency and environmental performance information.
- Integration with other management systems and standards, such as ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 9001 (Quality Management) for more effective results.
- Establish, implement and maintain the required tools, systems and processes for maximising year-on-year reductions in energy consumption and costs.
- Identifies, evaluates and provides a process for implementation of energy saving opportunities across all areas of an organisation.
- Delivers a tailored, structured programme that places little burden on existing management and administrative resources.
Implementing ISO 50001
ISO 50001 is applicable to organisations of all shapes and sizes and can be applied flexibly to meet individual needs. It is up to the organisation that is implementing the standard to shape it around their business and to specify how energy should be managed, and select which criteria they use to measure ongoing performance.
The continuous improvement process achieved via ISO 50001 follows the four-step flow of Plan-Do-Check-Act, comprising:
Plan - conduct an energy review and establish the baseline, energy performance indicators, objectives, targets and action plans that are necessary to deliver results. This will relate to the organisation's energy policy.
Do - implement the energy management action plans.
Check - monitor and measure processes and key operations that determine energy performance against energy policy and targets. Report the results.
Act - take action led from the top to continually improve.