Why Are Certain Countries Stronger in Energy Management?

by | Nov 8, 2012

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In June, 2011, the ISO 50001 standard for energy management systems was released by the International Standards Organization (ISO). The ISO 50001 standard is widely recognized as an excellent systematic management framework for all energy and CSR activities. Many countries worldwide are implementing the standard but a few are already standing out from amongst the crowd for their efforts. Why? Strong support from government.

For example, Ireland has embraced the implementation of strong systematic energy management practices based on standards such as ISO 50001, with 50 percent of large Irish based companies participating in their application. Strong commitment from the Irish Government has been a major driving force in the development and implementation of energy management standards in Ireland. In 1995 the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland established LIEN (Large Industry Energy Network), a voluntary network involving 160 companies representing 60 percent of Ireland’s industrial energy use. A staggering €150m in avoided energy costs has been achieved since the establishment of LIEN.

Many of the world leading MNCs are based in Ireland (e.g. Pfizer, Google) and they are now leading the way in energy management for their colleagues in other countries, a fact further reinforced by these organizations’ swift implementation of the ISO 50001 standard. Other examples of Irish-based companies to achieve ISO 50001 certification include Diageo, Dairygold, Abbott, Siemens, and University College Cork. This number is set to grow with the SEAI having a goal of ISO 50001 certification by 2013 for all its Energy Agreement Programme members.

According to research, Germany is currently leading the way in ISO 50001 certifications worldwide. Examples of companies certified include Arburg, RETAL and OXEA. Germany’s leading position can most likely be attributed to the decision to provide eco-tax relief for energy-intensive companies, only if these companies contribute towards energy savings.

The UK are next in line in terms of ISO 50001 certifications worldwide. Despite the UK authorities not yet having an accreditation scheme for certification bodies, the uptake of ISO 50001 has been partially driven by the efforts to meet the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) but also a higher awareness and recognition of the part that strong energy management plays in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Examples of organizations in the UK that have ISO 50001 energy management systems include Coca Cola, Northern Rail and Bentley Motors

The ISO 50001 standard follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) management mode. It has been designed to be less cumbersome than other standards with a strong emphasis on understanding energy usage and identifying real energy saving objectives and targets. It is expected that it will be used by up to 2 million organizations worldwide and it will influence up to 60% of the world’s energy use. In the first the 12 months, approximately 326 companies worldwide were certified and this exceeded the uptake of ISO 14001 and is similar to the uptake of ISO 9001 in the 1990’s. Currently it is estimated that there are over 700 certificates.

The next generation of energy management standards are already being developed and piloted. These include the US Department of Energy’s Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program and the Energy Management Maturity Model (EM3) in Ireland. Many of the largest companies in the US are participating in the SEP certification program. Volvo Trucks, NA, 3M, the Dow Chemical Company, Allsteel and Nissan NA have already achieved SEP certification. Implementing an ISO 50001 EnMS is a mandatory requirement for SEP certification and excellent online training courses and tools are available to help implement ISO 50001 and SEP.

Experience has therefore shown that uptake of ISO 50001 is influenced by many drivers, including both voluntary and mandatory government led programs and incentives, corporate social responsibility, supply chain management and simply energy cost savings. With energy prices steadily increasing worldwide the only question is, when will more organizations grab this standard and way of working with both hands?

Mike Brogan, Enerit COO, has over 20 years of experience in the area of energy management. As COO, he is responsible for product delivery, including user requirements, project management and testing. He is also responsible for customer project implementation and general management. He has project managed enterprise-wide software solutions throughout Europe and North America. Mike is delegated to the ISO Technical Committee 242 (Energy Management), as an expert in developing guidance for implementing an ISO 50001 EnMS.

Enerit is focused on developing innovative IT and Software services for energy management and in particular systematic energy management based on the international standards in energy management ISO 50001. Enerit is the first company in the world to provide comprehensive software for large energy users to implement the ISO 50001 standard. It is the only systematic energy management solution that helps its users convert energy information into dynamic integrated organization-wide action plans to get teams working together to drive down energy costs.


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