ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS - 29.11.2012

Energy management standards

Yet another standard for reducing your environmental impact has been introduced. ISO 50001 is designed to cut your energy use. So how might it help your business, and is it worth adhering to?

Formal approach

As we said recently, there are increased benefits for businesses that adhere to management systems that help manage your environmental impacts ((read more about this), see The next step). They can offer a useful way of mapping your progress and identifying where the biggest savings for your business lie.

New player in town

A new energy management standard has been introduced that focuses solely on energy efficiency. ISO 50001, developed by ISO - the International Organisation for Standardisation - is a framework that will help you manage and improve your energy consumption and how you measure and report usage.

What are the benefits?

Energy is expensive, so anything you can do to make sure you’re using less is going to benefit your bottom line. Adhering to something like ISO 50001 can help you develop an energy management plan to improve how you measure, document and report your energy use. Plus, by getting your premises certified to the standard, you have proof that you’re taking your impacts seriously, which could help you win contracts in the future.

Is it worth it?

It really depends on how much energy you use. Meeting a certain standard is not a one-off exercise and demands continuous improvement in order that your business is recertified. So it’s not a cheap process. For a start, it requires significant management time. Plus there are high costs associated with external auditing and certifying that your management system complies with what’s in the standard.

Tip. Investing resources in meeting a dedicated energy management system is only a worthwhile thing to do if your energy bill is substantial, for example more than £100,000 a year.

Quicker wins

There are plenty of quicker and cheaper things you can do to address your energy use than going down the certification route.

Tip. If you have a budget to make improvements, you can make sure your heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment is regularly maintained. You could install motion-sensing light switches or replace your boiler with a newer, more efficient model.

EMS versus EnMS

Tip. If you’re going for a standard, you’re better off opting for an environmental management system, like BS 8555 or ISO 14001, which looks at a range of issues, including pollution, waste and energy - as opposed to one that is solely dedicated to energy consumption. This will allow you to focus your efforts across your entire environmental impacts - something larger businesses are interested in when choosing who to do business with.

Introducing formal energy saving systems which meet this standard will achieve a reduction in your bills. However, because management time and external certification fees are costly, this approach is only worthwhile for those with significant energy bills, i.e. £100,000 plus each year.

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