The ISO 50001 International Standard for energy management aims to improve energy performance through a systematic management approach. The system uses the ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ (PDCA) principle, whereby managers set a plan in place, then implement the plan (Do), and check over time that it has been implemented correctly. The final stage in PDCA is to use the data generated from the other steps to inform continual improvement actions.
ISO 50001 sets out a very practical and useful 3 step process for planning energy management, which can help energy and environmental managers even if the full Standard is not being used. The 3 steps are to prepare ‘Planning Inputs’ which will provide information that can be used to inform the 2nd step, to ‘Plan’ the energy management. The 3rd and final step is to identify the ‘outputs’, which will include the actions to address all risks and opportunities associated with energy management.
Inputs to the plan can be identified from gaining an understanding of the organisation and its context, as well as defining interested parties and their needs and expectations. The context of the organisation will set out the characteristics of the organisation (e.g. its structure, sites and processes carried out) against those elements identifying the issues associated to energy use that could apply. Using a PESTLE type analysis is a useful approach.
The interested parties will be defined from all persons and organisations with whom the organisation interacts in respect of energy use. These could be internal or external and could even extend to customers if the products manufactured or supplied use energy.
The plan for energy management should be developed from data defined through the ‘inputs’ or further detail on energy consumption. The plan should focus on the significant energy use (SEU), although actions could be developed for areas where improvements can be easily made.
The outputs of the plan should be in the form of actions that will lead to improved energy performance. These actions should use metrics wherever possible to ensure that demonstrable improvement can be made. For example, using consistent measures of energy (e.g. kilowatt hours). Use of consistent metrics will allow comparison against the energy baseline that is identified in the inputs or plan steps.
Actions should be aiding the organisation meet its targets for future energy use, and include administration and governance protocols that are needed, such as the methods for collecting the data and ongoing management review activity.
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