Energy is a hot topic these days. For energy managers, it can be difficult to know the best course of action to take to combat rising energy prices, security of supply issues and government energy efficiency schemes. Gemserv’s resident expert, Business Development Manager Louise Powell, takes us through five ways that ISO 50001 can help organisations to protect themselves against an uncertain future.
1. Be proactive – know what you’re using and put a plan in place to reduce consumption
“You’d be surprised how many companies actually do not know how much they’re spending on their energy use over a year because they just don’t have the records,” says Powell. “It gets paid by the accounts department, signed off and filed somewhere, people lose things.”
But this is a mistake, she says: “Understanding where and how you’re using energy can help to identify areas where savings can be made. And reducing your energy use translates directly into a reduction in energy bills.”
So where to turn for that understanding? One answer lies in ISO 50001, the international standard for energy management: “It has been developed by a group of experts and outlines best practice for managing your energy use in the most efficient way.”
ISO 50001 enables organisations to develop a structured approach to managing energy use, she explains. It involves setting objectives and targets, and then producing an action plan showing how these targets can be met.
“Your action plan helps to focus attention on the quick wins initially, whilst building a foundation to address the more complex issues further down the line.” Ongoing monitoring and measuring should help to ensure new opportunities to save are constantly identified.
Chopping your energy use is not just a one-off saving – it has lasting benefits, particularly as energy prices continue to rise, Powell adds.
2. Save energy to save money – simple!
“Reducing your energy use reduces your energy bill. Reducing your energy bill reduces your base costs. Reducing your base costs gives you an advantage over your competitors – it’s common sense really” says Powell.
Money spent on wasted energy must be recovered from somewhere – and invariably it’s paid for by your customers. Using ISO 50001 to develop an effective Energy Management System (EnMS) can help to trim your overheads and make your organisation more profitable.
3. Prepare your defence for a barrage of energy policies
CRC, EU ETS, CCAs and now ESOS – that’s a lot of acronyms to get your head round! Each of these schemes calls for an understanding of energy consumption in some form or other. But with ISO 50001 being recognised internationally as the best practice method for managing energy, having a certified EnMS will put you in a great position to comply with these and any other future schemes.
The latest of these schemes, launched in June this year, is the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme or ESOS – and the first compliance date is 5th December 2015.
What does it demand? Every big enterprise in Britain (with 250+ employees or an annual turnover in excess of €50 million and a balance sheet in excess of €43 million) has to get an energy audit of their buildings, industrial processes and transport once every four years by law.
“ISO 50001 is a recognised compliance route for the newly launched Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme,” explains Powell.
“With ESOS, there is no requirement to actually act on any of the recommendations in the energy audits. However, organisations will only ever get out of the scheme what they put in. One of the benefits of using ISO 50001 to comply with ESOS is that it helps organisations to develop a framework to implement the most appropriate energy savings measures identified in the energy audits and start to make real energy and cost savings,” advises Powell.
Having a strong understanding of your energy consumption will make compliance with mandatory government schemes much simpler. “And with the general election fast approaching, who knows what the political future holds?” she adds.
4. Polish your reputation
Public awareness of climate change and the impacts on the environment, as well as the importance of saving energy, is on the rise. “Being able to demonstrate to your staff and customers that you are taking energy management seriously can only be a good thing,” says Powell.
“With so much competition out there, differentiating yourselves from your competitors is vital. Getting independent third party verification that your EnMS meets the requirements of ISO 50001 not only reassures you that what you’re doing is right but also reassures your clients that you are doing what you say you’re doing.”
5. Do it yourself
Another concern is around security of supply. With ongoing issues in the Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as a number of coal fired power stations coming off line, there is a real concern about the amount of energy the UK is importing from overseas.
An energy standard might help you with a bit of energy DIY.
“ISO 50001, through its development of long term targets and action plans, can help organisations to carry out a full cost benefit analysis of implementing different technologies, including the introduction of renewable generation,” explains Powell.
These may seem expensive now – but if you get commitment from your company that some, if not all, of the cost savings seen from the initial quick win opportunities can be invested back into funding the pricier opportunities, bigger projects can become affordable.
“Generating your own energy on site takes away some of the reliance on imported energy.”
Whilst no one can predict the future, ISO 50001 can at least help you to be prepared for it.
Gemserv offers support and advice to organisations looking to achieve certification to ISO 50001. For more information about our services, email [email protected] or call 020 7090 1022. Or, to speak to one of our team in person, please visit our stand, A90, at the Energy Event at the NEC on 16th and 17th September.