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19. Getting everyone saving energy with ISO 50001

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“HELP!  Everyone in my organisation behaves as though saving energy is just my responsibility – I have done everything I can think of and our energy consumption is still increasing!”  Such was the telephoned plea that we received from an Energy Manager a few months ago.  Does it reflect your experience at all?

Consistently driving down energy consumption demands a structured organisation-wide energy management system (EnMS) such as ISO 50001 involving everyone from the top down.

In this issue of Intelligent Energy Insights John Mulholland, our People Solutions Director, explains how you can use ISO 50001 to get everyone on your side as well as maximising the effectiveness of all aspects of energy management.

John hJohn Mulholandas 25 years’ experience of designing and running energy/environmental awareness campaigns and is the leading UK authority on this aspect of change management.

He covers the following topics:

  • The first international EnMS standard
  • Main elements of ISO 50001
  • People aspects of ISO 50001
  • Competence, training and awareness (Clause 4.5.2)
  • Communication (Clause 4.5.3)
  • Putting people at the centre of energy strategy

Yes, we helped that beleaguered Energy Manager – he made a choice from the fifteen ways in which we can help with energy behaviour change and John led the programme.

You might also like to consult the related Intelligent Energy Insights:
Energy champions – are they effective?
Sustainability by stealth
Energy awareness campaigns and surveys

Click here to see all Intelligent Energy Insight topics

John Treble, Managing Director

The first international EnMS standard

ISO 50001 is the global Energy Management System Standard, launched in June 2011 and is gaining momentum worldwide with over 1,500 organisations certified to March 2013.  It is designed to help organisations establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.  It specifies the requirements for an energy management system to develop and implement policy and objectives, while taking into account significant energy aspects and legal requirements.

ISO 50001 is ideal for organisations that already have the quality standard ISO 9001 and/or the environmental standard ISO 14001.  This is because those systems are fully compatible and use the same methodology.  Therefore, new documentation can be added to existing systems, and internal auditors can be up-skilled accordingly.

Main elements of ISO 50001

The main clauses of ISO 503450_insight19_p00 - - becky001 fall into two main categories: energy and systems.  Those familiar with management systems will be familiar with system subjects like: documentation requirements, control of documents, internal audits, non-conformities and management review.  These are common to all management systems based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act continual improvement framework.

The main energy clauses fall into the following three categories.

Technical Solutions (T) – improving the energy efficiency of buildings and equipment then perhaps considering on-site renewables

Information Solutions (I) – monitoring and targeting to detecting waste and taking corrective action

People Solutions (P) – behavioural change, awareness raising and training

The topics covered by the clauses are listed below coded by category.

  • Top Management (P)
  • Management Representative (P)
  • Energy P3450_insight19_p1-copy - - beckyolicy (I)
  • Energy Review (similar to conventional energy audits/surveys) (T)
  • Energy Baseline (I)
  • Energy Objectives/Targets/Action Plans (I)
  • Implementation/Operation (T)
  • Competence/Training/Awareness (P)
  • Communication (P)
  • Operational Control (T)
  • Design (T)
  • Procurement (T)
  • Monitoring, Measurement/Analysis (I)


People aspects of ISO 50001

It could be argued that every single clause in ISO 50001 has to do with people because people have to read the Standard and people have to implement and maintain an Energy Management system (EnMS) in order to be compliant.  However, the following four clauses focus particularly on people aspects, the areas coded (P) above.

4.2.1 Top Management

4.2.2 Management Representative

4.5.2 Competence, training and awareness

4.5.3 Communication

The Standard is very specific about the role of top management in demonstrating commitment to support the EnMS.  Also the role of Management Representative is specific and wide-ranging.  The Standard implies that an Energy Management Team is formed for larger organisations but is not explicit in this requirement.

Very often energy management fails in organisations because of the lack of senior level support with little or no human or financial resources dedicated to the process.  If this reflects your organisation then these clauses of ISO 50001 may provide the leverage you require.  However, the main elements of people engagement are in Clauses 4.5.2 and 4.5.3 which are quoted in italics below and examined further.

Competence, training and awareness (Clause 4.5.2)

The organisation shall ensure that any person(s) working for or on its behalf, related to significant energy uses, are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training, skills or experience.  The organisation shall identify training needs associated with the control of its significant energy uses and the operation of its EnMS.  The organisation shall provide training or take other actions to meet these needs.

Appropriate records shall be maintained.

The organisation shall ensure that any person(s) working for or on its behalf are aware of:

a) the importance of conformity with the energy policy, procedures and the requirements of the EnMS;

b) their roles, responsibilities and authorities in achieving the requirements of the EnMS;

c) the benefits of improved energy performance;

d) the impact, actual or potential, with respect to energy use and consumption, of their activities and how their activities and behaviour contribute to the achievement of energy objectives and targets, and the potential consequences of departure from specified procedures.

This clause covers two distinct types of people:

  • Significant Energy Users
  • All Energy Users

Both groups have to be addressed.  Significant Energy Users can be those who influence significant energy use by virtue of their position (for example, a Production Manager) or by virtue of their job function (for example, an operator controlling boiler plant, refrigeration or compressed air systems).

The Standard makes it clear that a proper training needs analysis is required to ensure Significant Energy Users are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training, skills or experience.  Recently I conducted an ISO 50001 training needs analysis in a factory with a workforce of 40.  Each individual was allocated to one of four energy intensity categories with the number of individuals shown in brackets as follows.

  • High (6)
  • Medium/High (12)
  • Medium (18)
  • Low (4)

In this fact3450_insight19_p2 - - beckyory 6 out of 40 were evaluated as ‘High’ which is equivalent to Significant Energy Users in ISO 50001 terminology.  They received special focus in terms of training.  This illustrated the Pareto (80:20) principle, i.e.  20% of the workforce control 80% of the energy and 80% control 20% of energy use.

Those not in the ‘High’ category were classified as All Energy Users.  In this case it was 85% not 80% as in Pareto, but near enough.

The All Energy Users group also need to be addressed.  The phrase “any person(s) working for or on its behalf” includes contractors or others running plant or equipment on behalf of the organisation.  The awareness requirements are specific.

So the key questions to ask are as follows.

Significant Energy Users

  • Have all Significant Energy Users been identified by job function and/or name?
  • Has a full Training Needs Analysis been conducted?
  • Have Significant Energy Users been given specific training?
  • Are Significant Energy Users competent?

All Energy Users

  • Are all employees (and others) aware of:
    The importance of complying with energy policy?
    EnMS processes/requirements?
    Individual roles/responsibilities?
    Advantages of improved energy performance?
    Their own potential impact on energy consumption and energy efficiency?
  • Have all training/awareness measures been documented?

Communication (Clause 4.5.3)

The organisation shall communicate internally with regard to its energy performance and EnMS, as appropriate to the size of the organisation.

The organisation shall establish and implement a process by which any person working for, or on behalf of, the organisation can make comments or suggest improvements to the EnMS.

The organisation shall decide whether to communicate externally about its energy policy, EnMS and energy performance, and shall document its decision.  If the decision is to communicate externally, the organisation shall establish and implement a method for this external communication.

There are two aspects of communication as follows.

  • Internal Communication (mandatory)
  • External Communication (optional)

While external communication is optional the decision whether or not to communicate externally needs to be documented.  The issue has to be considered and the decision recorded.

The internal communication requirement has two elements:

  • Communication on energy performance and the EnMS
  • Mechanism for anyone to comment or suggest improvements to the EnMS

In many organisations there are existing channels which can be harnessed to meet these two requirements without much difficulty.

So the key questions to ask are as follows.

  • Is energy perfo3450_insight19_p3 - - beckyrmance and the EnMS internally communicated?
  • Can all employees actively comment on/make suggestions to improve the EnMS?
  • Has the organisation decided to communicate externally (and documented this decision)?
  • If yes, has a plan for external communication been developed and implemented?

Putting people at the centre of energy strategy

Any serious energy management strategy must address the human factor or it will fail.  This is true irrespective of whether an organisation implements ISO 50001.

If an organisation decides to put in place an EnMS compliant with ISO 50001, then people solutions will be a key element for success.  Every person in every organisation uses energy.  People make things happen and people have great potential for energy waste and energy savings.  People matter.  Therefore people rightly are centre stage in ISO 50001.


Your Independent RISK FREE Solutions

The Green Consultancy’s energy behaviour change service can provide a complete solution tailored to meet your precise needs – from one off events to ongoing programmes . We can also provide you with whatever support you need to obtain the energy management standard ISO 50001.

For a copy of our guide to Behaviour Change or to discuss your requirements please call John Treble on 01761 176300 or email John@GreenConsultancy.com

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Workshop for Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“We wanted to understand the implications of CRC and the wider NHS environmental targets and we needed a picture of how these fitted together. We asked the Green Consultancy to run a board level workshop to explain CRC in detail and give us an overview of related NHS initiatives.  The workshop achieved its objectives and helped focus our minds on what we needed to do next. It was an excellent afternoon.”

Malcolm McFrederick, Executive Director of Operations

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Workshop for WWF

“We found the day to be really helpful in understanding the requirements for an  Energy Management System internal audit.  We were able to go through the audit section-by-section and your consultant’s experience in setting up the standard meant that we were absolutely clear on our roles and the requirements by the end of the consultancy.  Although the session was arranged to address our questions on the internal audit requirement, we found that we could not fail to learn so much more about Energy Management in the course of the day’s discussions.”

Peter Best, Head of Facilities & Environmental Management

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Energy Management Training for Sporta

“The Green Consultancy provided training for Sporta members in London and Sheffield – covering all aspects of energy management in wet and dry leisure centres, including CHP and voltage management.

These workshops were greatly appreciated by our members and it was clear that The Green Consultancy has a comprehensive understanding of energy management in the leisure sector and a rigorous energy efficiency methodology for identifying the most cost-effective opportunities for reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.”

Brian Leonard, Chief Executive