With increasing pressure for cost and carbon reduction across the workplace could a new European standard be the long term solution across all organisations?
25 February 2010
BS EN 16001 is the new European Standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS). After various energy initiatives and legislation for FMs to contend with, such as EU ETS, Climate Change Levy, EPBD and the looming prospect of CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, BS EN 16001 could help to provide the practical solution to long term energy saving and carbon reduction.
The standard incorporates elements of existing European energy standards and gives a consistency and clarity, which has been needed for some time. It provides the framework for an effective Energy Management System. BS EN 16001 can be applied to all sizes of organisation and industry sectors.
FMs are tasked with many diverse elements within the job role such as health and safety, environment, sustainability and CSR - energy appears to be the latest element to be included in the job description.
BS EN 16001 is a very effective energy management tool, and the principles and elements required for 16001 registration can be implemented on an ongoing basis as sound energy management techniques.
What FMs need to know
The standard works in the same way as other management systems such as ISO 9001, and ISO 14001. Therefore much of the management system terminology may be familiar territory such as policies, scope, and documentation requirements. BS EN 16001 is designed to work well, and integrate with, existing management systems.
What is involved in BS EN 16001? The management system works on the 'plan, do, check, act cycle' and focuses on fully understanding an organisations' energy inputs and processes.
The standard requires buy-in and commitment from senior management, and the creation of a specific energy management policy. You may have some energy management details within an existing environmental management policy, which can be a good starting point to developing a full energy policy.
The 'planning' stage is key to the success in achieving the standard, but also to realising the energy saving and cost reduction it can make. It requires identification of your significant energy aspects. An energy aspect is significant if it accounts for a high proportion of your total energy consumption and has a potential for more or one of the following:
More efficient energy use
Increased use of embedded renewable energy
Increased energy exchange with the rest of society
If an energy aspect is significant, then it must be included within the Energy Management System, so it can't be left out to improve performance!
The standard also requires a 'register of opportunities' - this is where FMs can really add value to an organisation and where energy savings can be made. The register of opportunities is created after carrying out the review of energy aspects.
This is best undertaken as a full energy audit of your organisation.
The next stage is 'do' - the implementation and operation. Energy surveys and consultants can be very technically focused, relying on plant and machinery and technological solutions to gain improvements. This is great where these changes can be made. The standard also requires focus on the people within the organisation, good communication, and the impact that an individual can have - 'the power of one'. It is often said that the cheapest way to save a kWh is not to use it in the first place.
The 'check' element to the standard is the monitoring and reporting of energy usage.The standard requires that 'ambitious' energy reduction targets are set. The nature of the standard and its cyclic approach lends itself well to continual improvement. The quick wins and easy measures may well have already been taken for energy reduction. The standard will help to identify the less obvious opportunities.Implementing the requirements of the standard will help to identify the higher hanging fruit through the register of opportunities. By their very nature, initiatives such as the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme are designed to be challenging, to enable us to meet our 2050 carbon reduction obligations. The 'check' element allows evaluation of compliance. The standard also requires that the Energy Management System is reviewed by senior management - this is vital to the success of the process and helps to fulfil the loop.
The 'act' part of the cycle is the time to analyse and review the results. This is the stage where changes can be identified for improvement or correction.
In contrast to other energy certifications available, BS EN 16001 is a continual process rather than a snapshot in time. Registration can be used as an early action metric for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, if you can demonstrate a 2.5 per cent reduction in energy use, and longer term, BS EN 16001 could make a real difference to your league table position.
Key points to note
1. General Requirements - This will include defining the scope and boundaries of the energy management system.
2. Energy Policy - This should outline the organisations' energy policy, and should align with the organisations' objectives. This provides the framework for setting and reviewing objectives and targets.
3. Planning - Energy aspects, register of opportunities, objectives, targets and programs.
4. Implementation and Operation - Making the changes to the inputs and processes to achieve the objectives
5. Checking - Monitoring and measurement, evaluation, corrective actions and internal audit
6. Review of the European Standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS) by high level management
Stuart Denton-Brown is Cibse Low Carbon Consultant at Elementus