Implementing the ISO 50001 Energy Management

System Standard

ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management Systems, specifies the requirements

for an energy management system to understand and improve an

organisation’s energy efficiency.

Saving energy, rather than embarking on projects to generate renewable energy, should be the first action taken by companies to reduce their energy costs. ISO 50001 specifies the requirements of a process which organisations can implement to: Understand their energy use Identify opportunities to save energy Do it continuously Improve their energy saving processes. As with many related ISO processes, it does not dictate the process, but rather specifies a number of requirements which the process should meet. It also follows the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” continual improvement framework. The standard strongly links the engineering process back to the management responsibility and commitments. The following paragraphs will deal with: Why should someone consider implementing ISO 50001? What should an ISO 50001 compliant process look like? Measurement and Verification Some comments on the Standard Why should someone consider implementing ISO 50001? Energy is critical to an organization's operations and is a large controllable cost. ISO 50001 provides a framework for reducing both energy cost and consumption and is based on a management system model that is already understood. The company can therefore adopt proven best practices for energy management right from the beginning. The adoption of ISO 50001 in South Africa is lacking far behind European and US companies. The standard encourages organisation to address energy management in their supply chain, so there is a growing trend in international companies to force their suppliers and subsidiaries to adopt the standard. This will probably be the catalyst for SA companies to adopt ISO 50001. Another most important problem that the standard addresses is the flawed perception that we should focus on renewable energy generating systems instead of both saving energy and generating renewable energy. What should an ISO 50001 compliant process look like? The following drawing depicts an example of the process: The first step is to define and establish the programme. This includes management appointing “one of their own” as the sponsor of the programme. Management should decide on their energy policy, the scope of the programme and most important, allocate funds to the programme. The process is cyclic and each cycle starts with an energy review. During the establishment of the programme, a first high level review, covering the complete scope of the programme will be done, to determine the targets, which will be reflected in the policy. Following each review, a number of opportunities to improve energy consumption will be identified and developed into projects, for implementation. Implementation is followed by the measurement and validation of the projects. A regular management review of the programme must be done, followed by corrective actions, and the start of the next cycle. Each company should validate its process to ensure compliance to all the requirements of ISO 50001. This makes an audit of the process important and, even if the standard says one can self-declare compliance, this is probably the one standard, where we would recommend that companies use an audit certification process to ensure all the bases are covered. Energy Optimisation projects could include behaviour changes, plant changes and process changes. The job specification of the sponsor is important to meet the ISO requirements. The programme sponsor and technical manager roles should be split. The sponsor must be part of company management, which for most companies will mean that the person may not have the engineering background to manage the programme, and will therefore need to appoint someone with engineering and project skills to manage the energy process. Measurement and Verification Measurement and Verification (M&V) is an important element of energy saving projects for two reasons. Before the project, management want to know why they should spend the money, so they need to understand the savings and the resulting return on investment. After the project, we have to validate that the money was well spent. We also have to be able to predict and validate the savings accurate for Eskom incentives. Some comments on the ISO 50001 Standard When reading the standard, it is clear that this is version one. A compliance statement that we did for our process against the standard, indicated far too many repeated requirements. We also believe that the process should rely on sound project management and system engineering processes and the standard is far to soft on that. One thing that we found irritating in the standard is the focus on meeting legal requirements. One gets the distinct idea that someone on the committee had a bee in his bonnet about meeting legal requirements. Requirements are requirements, no matter if they result from legal, environmental, safety or whatever reason, and if your company is not in some bootlegging trade, then you should always take legal requirements into account, so why single that out so much? A last note One of the challenges that a company, which rent premises from a landlord will have to resolve, is how the landlord and the occupant will share the responsibility, costs and benefits of implementing the standard. If you need to discuss implementing ISO 50001 further, feel free to contact us.
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