Having recently embarked on a project to gain ISO50001 (Energy Management System) accreditation, a question I’ve been posed a few times has been, Yeah, but I turn the light off when I leave isn’t that enough?
Well, what is ISO50001 and what is an Energy Management System?
ISO50001 is the international standard for Energy Management Systems and within this standard it defines Energy Management Systems as such: To enable an organisation to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption. This shouldn’t take too long; we’ll be back home in time for tea and biscuits before you know it!
So, first things first, make sure it’s managed from the top and put an energy management team together... right done that, so what’s next? How about conducting the energy review and finding out how, where, and when we use our energy. 1,800 pieces of equipment which consume energy from a light to a multi-axis machining centre measured and evaluated, energy invoices and a rather complicated spreadsheet later, we’ve now got more data than we can shake a stick at. So what are we going to do with it?
We’ve got to identify current energy sources, evaluate past and present energy use, identify areas of significant energy use and identify opportunities for improving energy performance. Blimey, that took a little longer than we thought, but we’ve now got a report as long as your arm, numerous processes, schedules and lots of scratched heads, but were getting there. We know how, where and when we use our energy, we can make some improvements, dot the I’s and cross the T’s that’s about it right, ISO50001 done...?
Cue the Stage 1 BSI audit, basically how are we getting on and what do we need to do to get there… 15 nonconformities!! Oh bother was the phrase used if my memory serves me right, we’re in the middle of July and our audit for certification is looming closer at the start of October. Many things went through my mind, but I’m still here, so if we want to comply to ISO50001 we’d better not forget the rest of it: management responsibility, energy policy, energy planning, legal and other requirements, energy review, energy baseline, energy performance indicators, energy objectives, targets and action plans, competence training and awareness, communication, documentation, control of documents, operational control, design, procurement of energy services, products, equipment and energy, monitoring, measurement and analysis, evaluation of compliance with legal and other requirements, internal audits, nonconformities, correction, corrective action and preventive action, control of records and management review and breathe.
Covering all of the clauses included the creation of over 40 new processes, procedures and documents, measures and objectives, internal and external training, internal and external communication, reviews, a trip to Aberdeen, a little bit of worry and a fair few tears. Saying that the moment the man from BSI, who has come to conduct the audit for recommendation to certification, says that there are no nonconformities and he is happy to enter a recommendation, if you look closely enough you might see one of us do a little jig. So, when someone says “Yeah, but I turn the light off when I leave isn’t that enough?” Yes, it helps and its doing the right things right, but it’s only a small part of the overall picture.
And on that point when you come in to find a note on your desk from the MD saying “Shame to see the lights were left on last night” this is where the next part starts continually reviewing and improving our Energy Performance and our Energy Management System.
Jeff Robinson aka Captain Planet