9 Feb 15

ISO 50001 explained – Is it the right route to ESOS Compliance for you?

ElectricityWith global energy prices continuing to rise and a steady increase in national and international climate change legislation, there are an array of schemes and standards being developed to help organisations better manage their energy. A key scheme in the UK is the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS), which many organisations are obligated to comply with in 2015.

As the UK’s chosen response to the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive, ESOS is likely to require over 7,000 UK organisations to carry out energy audits on over 90% of their energy consumption. Whilst some argue ESOS is increased red tape and bemoan increased costs for compliance, if undertaken correctly, ESOS can provide tangible, real life savings for organisations.

In implementing the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, the UK Government has realised the requirement to avoid duplication of existing regulations. As a result, there are a number of ways in which organisations can comply with ESOS – from initial energy audits and suggested recommendations through to full certified management systems. ISO 50001: Energy Management System (EnMS)[1], an international voluntary standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization, is one such example of a certified management system and route to ESOS compliance.

As with the majority of ISO standards, ISO 50001 follows the Deming Cycle; a “Plan – Do – Check – Act” format that facilitates a process of continuous improvement. To demonstrate that the required commitments are in place for an effective system, it is necessary and essential to get Senior Management buy-in. Once this has been established you need to develop an energy policy which should clearly communicate the organisation’s commitments, aims and expectations and should be communicated to every level within the organisation. Unlike other standards there is no requirement to publish this externally.

With the energy policy signed off, the next step is to establish an energy profile. This is done by conducting a comprehensive energy review which should profile all energy consumption at a granular level, so for example individual energy consuming equipment should be listed. Collating and analysing consumption in this way provides a baseline that enables organisations to clearly identify areas of significant energy use, set suitable targets, track KPIs and prioritise opportunities for improving energy performance, all of which will form an energy management action plan.

The ‘Do’ part of the cycle requires organisations to use the information, action plan and additional outputs gained from the planning process to implement and manage the system. As well as implementing the action plan it is important to remember that there are a number of other things that must be done in order to successfully achieve ISO 50001. These include ensuring staff responsible for the EnMS possess the correct competencies and have suitable access to training and communicating the energy performance progress to all within the organisation. This is to ensure the system provides an opportunity for feedback, suggestions and continual progress.

Taking the classic mantra “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, it is essential to monitor and measure your energy performance in the context of the energy action plan to ensure it is effective and relevant. Collecting data enables you to analyse your performance against the established KPIs as well identify any corrective or preventative actions that may be necessary. As part of this checking process an organisation is expected to establish and maintain a documentation system that is both transparent and traceable.

Finally, the findings from the checking process should be used to form a performance report for management review. This review provides Senior Management with an opportunity to look at the system as a whole and make decisions on whether it is effective, meets the requirements of the standard and provides direction for the next cycle of energy improvements.

Many aspects of this ISO 50001 process overlap with the requirements for ESOS, therefore time should be spent deciding which route would be most suitable for your organisation. International organisations in particular many look to ISO 50001 as a way of standardising energy management across global operations. This is because an Energy Management System’s scope can range from company-wide, country, site or even project specific so it’s important to decide on a route that suits your organisation’s maturity, complexity and ambition.

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[1] http://www.iso.org/iso/home/standards/management-standards/iso50001.htm
photo credit: Power to the city via photopin (license)

Reporting Guidance , ESOS

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