7. Identify opportunities for improvement (worksheet ER8 Opportunities List)

You will need to develop a register (list) of all energy saving opportunities or ideas. It is important to realize that this register is a live database and will increase in size on an ongoing basis. It is the main continuous improvement tool in the EnMS. In this methodology the term Energy Opportunities List is used for this register. The energy opportunities list will include at least the following for each opportunity:

  • Identification number.
  • Short description of each opportunity. This should be a specific as possible and be an action term.
  • Service of opportunity, i.e. steam, electricity, management, compressed air, etc.
  • Potential savings in terms of energy, money, carbon emissions and other possible benefits.
  • Responsible person to bring the opportunity to a close.
  • Status of the opportunity, i.e. idea, approved, cancelled, postponed, in progress, complete, closed.
  • Dates; there are a number of important dates in the life cycle of each opportunity including origination, due for completion, completion.
  • Method of verification of savings, i.e. how will you know that the opportunity has achieved its predicted savings?

This list can become quite complex and its management is central to the continuous improvement of your EnMS. If the register is to be electronically maintained then care is needed to ensure that it is backed up and protected against inadvertent or unauthorised editing. This also applies to all the other electronic documents used in the EnMS.

All ideas that might realistically help to improve energy performance should be added to the opportunities list once they have had an initial review by the energy manager. Ideas will come from a variety of sources:

  • Energy audits, assessments or diagnostics
  • Suggestions from employees and review of successful ideas in other plants
  • Attendance at conferences, training, networking, etc.
  • Technical sales engineers (but beware that they are not usually impartial and independent)
  • Literature, journals, magazines, best practice guides, Internet web sites, searches, etc.