The drive towards implementing an Energy Management System, which most importantly, meets the requirements of ISO 50001, comes from the 2015 Paris Agreement (hyperlink, https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement), binding 195 countries to the global action plan of limiting the increase of global average temperature to well below 2˚C.
The implementation of an Energy Management System is based on a continual improvement cycle of Plan – Do – Check – Act, with the simple goal of energy and cost-savings, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint, and reducing exposure to energy price volatility.
An integrated Energy Management System enables government institutions, organizations, businesses, public and private sector to effectively monitor and check their energy consumption, detect possible areas for energy savings and cost reduction. An implemented EnMS represents a set of policies, procedures and business processes conducted under a methodological and organized approach in order to improve energy efficiency and ease the transition towards a low-carbon alternative in general. It represents a set of organizational and technical measures conducted in order to improve energy performance, based on continuous monitoring and dedication towards change in order to achieve long-term results.
The introduction to an EnMS in line with ISO 50001 was done within the framework of the GEF-UNIDO project “Catalyzing market transformation for industrial energy efficiency and accelerate investments in best available practices and technologies in Macedonia” through several User and Expert Trainings. The purpose was to ensure that both the public and the private sector will support the continuous improvement of energy performance, encourage competitiveness among businesses, and commit to using sustainable methods in order to improve energy efficiency.
The idea of introducing company representatives to the UNIDO Trainings comes from the fact that the international standard ISO 50001 does not define specific steps on how the EnMS should be implemented, despite it gaining importance since its first release in 2011. The Standard gives the framework in which an ISO 50001 aspiring company should determine the best available steps towards achieving an effective monitoring and management of its energy resources, in line with relevant legal obligations. In order to make this gap smaller, UNIDO’s programme was designed to give specific recommendations to enterprises and institutions and help them achieve improvement in energy performance through practical methodology for meeting the company’s energy-related targets and goals. These recommendations are presented in the Training sessions, based on the developed Practical Guide and Tool.
Defined as a way of life, the EnMS encompasses several implementation aspects. These aspects are usually discussed in four (4) modules – Commitment, Planning, Implementation and Checking.
One of the key drivers is securing high commitment and dedication by the Top Management through a well-built business case. The Top Management needs to provide the necessary support in driving the programme forward and through it encourage the employees in active participation. Willingness to improve through energy use-and-cost management as well as providing the staff with the necessary resources is a crucial step.
After establishing scope and boundaries of the EnMS, the Commitment Phase usually consists of appointing a Management Representative and forming the Energy Team, with each member receiving clearly defined roles and responsibilities. A key aspect of the Energy Team’s work is their ability to raise awareness on the importance of an EnMS, as well as to raise awareness on the possible areas for improvement in the company.
The company needs to commit to maintaining an energy policy which will give the frame for achieving the further-set objectives and targets.
In order to introduce improvements in key sectors, an EnMS structure needs to be put in place to enable comparison between the “old” and “new” state. The Planning phase conditions identifying and analysis of the Significant Energy Uses (SEUs) in order to define the Key Performance Indicators. All necessary data is collected and analyzed in order to create the correlation between energy consumption and the variables. Once the SEUs are detected and documented, their influence analyzed, and the baseline established, the opportunities for improvement can be developed. Experience has shown that these opportunities can be most diverse when the suggestions come from members of staff, facilities engineers, maintenance staff etc., i.e. input from all employees should be welcomed and evaluated. One of the crucial elements of the EnMS is that the Implementation phase consists, first and foremost, of no- or low-cost measures. These measures usually refer to simple changes in the operational or maintenance regime or adjustments in the existing equipment. After the approved changes are implemented, the company conducts the Checking phase, during which it monitors the energy performance, determines whether energy savings are achieved, identifies any nonconformities and takes corrective and preventive actions.
An important thing to remember is that once the EnMS is implemented, the work does not stop at this point. At its core lie perpetual analysis, planning, implementation and checking. The EnMS is a process of continual improvement, of continual monitoring, of continual changes in operational and maintenance practices, all playing an integral role even in daily life.