The news that 65 Irish organisations have achieved certification to ISO 50001, the new international energy management standard, is encouraging to those of us who have been preaching that better management of energy, not once off audits, are the only way to achieve lasting results.
An energy audit is by definition a snap shot of energy use. While it can deliver good immediate and low cost savings, unless energy use is tracked, measurable objectives set and top management is involved, the initial gains made can evaporate. Certification to ISO 50001 will prove that you have a rigorous system in place to manage energy effectively.
The 65 organisations that achieved certification were the larger energy intensive Irish companies, such as Intel, Pfizer, Glanbia and Boliden Tara Mines. For smaller organisations, achieving certification may be too larger a cost and it may not have the same marketing benefit as an Environmental Management System.
For smaller, less energy intensive, companies it should be possible to improve the management of energy without the cost of certification. This could be, for example, by writing a system based on ISO 50001 and running it in the same way as a certified system would be run, but not seek certification. Alternatively, if there is an existing Environmental Management System, energy use reduction could be added as an objective.
For companies wishing to seek low cost ways to improve their management of energy, some consultants, including our selves would be happy to offer a one day review in order to assess the benefits of the various approaches.