Three must have success pillars for any Energy Management System

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Three must have pillars for the success of any energy management system.

Summary and objective

The objective of this article is to present the most important success pillars for any energy management system from my point of view and experience. Energy management means a structural and continuous attention to energy use and energy costs, with the aim to improve the energy efficiency, reduce the costs and save the environment. Therefore, it should be fully embedded in your company’s business and an integral part of the daily management and operations. The best way to achieve that is to work with an energy management program and to assign responsibility and authority to an energy management team led by an Energy manager. The three success pillars are People mindset, Performance management and action plans.

 

INTRODUCTION

In every company – whether large or small, simple or complex – good management is crucial for achieving long-term success and efficient operation. Any system of internal control responsibilities and processes in a company is already a management system. This is also true for energy management and in fact, in many cases there is considerable potential to save energy and reduce costs. In this regard, cost-effective opportunities can be easily overlooked if an appropriate energy management system is not in place.

Energy management has three pillars:

  • People Mindsets and Behavior
  • Performance management (KPI’s, monitoring)
  • Energy efficiency plans

People Mindsets and Behavior

Any successful energy management strategy needs to engage with the staff at all levels, from the chief executive to the part-time worker. In order to build a sustainable energy management culture, your organization requires:

  1. Management buy-in in terms of dedicating resources such as financial and personnel/time
  2. Employee buy-in, which often involves change management and recognition of energy as an input that can be controlled, similar to how raw materials are monitored as an input.

Employee motivation and commitment with regard to the implementation of an energy management system are critical for its long term success of any action plan. It is important that senior management leads on this by setting a good example and, most importantly, to make employees aware of the importance of saving energy, both for the organization and for their own working conditions. People are more likely to change their habits if they understand how their actions affect consumption. Behavioral change can be encouraged by:

  1. Including energy efficiency tasks in everyday operating procedures (e.g. shut-down procedures and maintenance schedules).
  2. Providing the suitable knowledge by dedicated training and awareness campaigns. For more information about those awareness campaigns material please check the below links for examples for boilers, pumps and thermal insulation. Please contact me if you need a specific material about other systems, I will be glad to support you in this regard.

samples of energy efficiency awareness materials:

 

Performance management

Effective information systems for metering, monitoring and targeting can reduce costs by enabling a better understanding of the energy consumption, identifying waste and targeting inefficiency.

Herewith an indicative series of steps involved in the process:

  1. Data collection: on energy and other influencing factors (e.g. weather conditions, production values). Avoid information overload by using the following steps to identify and prioritize the data you should be collecting:
  • Step 1: Conduct an energy audit and divide your energy management program into smaller tasks.
  • Step 2: Align tasks to your production process.
  • Step 3: Define the relevant input and output parameters i.e. KPI for each task.
  • Step 4: Identify the meter and measurement tools required (work with vendors to identify the correct meters based on your requirements)
    1. Data analysis:

To convert data into information you may follow these three basic rules:

  • Make the information relevant to both management and employees
  • Make it simple by using graphical representations – when possible link process variables to energy consumption
  • Establish a baseline – it is required in order to properly interpret and evaluate information
    1. Communication: to convert information into knowledge.
    2. Action: to improve efficiency and eliminate waste

Energy Efficiency plans

An action plan of how energy will be managed needs to be prepared in order to meet the objectives set by the enterprise. Such objectives (short- and medium-term) should be determined on the base of a clear and understandable set of data and expressed in terms of potential energy savings. In this regard, the way to success goes through the application of the following steps:

  1. Identification of relevant responsibilities and authorities: e.g. energy manager, energy efficiency team.
  2. Refer to current regulations: on local and national provisions.
  3. Recording of consumption, costs, and production of energy: what is not measured is not managed.
  4. Processing the data collected: it is important to establish a straightforward data collection system.
  5. Definition of energy objectives: strategic (long term) and operational (short term) complement each other.
  6. Elaboration of an energy management action plan: builds on the implementation of the previous steps.
  7. Be sure to set SMART targets: Specific – Set targets based on actual percentages and/or values Measurable – Use measured parameters as targets Achievable – Your targets should be within reach Realistic – Use historical bests as a starting point Time-bound – Set a concrete time to achieve your targets that is in line with your process.

Conclusion and summery of the success tips:

  1. It is important to integrate the energy management in the organizational structure of a company. Responsibilities and the interaction of the decision makers should be regularized. The delegation of functions and competencies extend from the top management to the executive worker. Furthermore, a comprehensive coordination can ensure the fulfillment of the tasks.
  2. Energy management is considered as a management process that contains all parts of the management cycle: Plan – do – check – act
  3. Definition of energy related performance indicators and regular basis. Collect and evaluate improvement potentials.
  4. Regular reporting of status/progress concerning efficient energy consumption
  5. Energy efficiency team should report directly to companies management
  6. Keep your colleagues motivated: share early success stories to keep the team on track. The success must be measurable in the short run but don’t be too fast: have a clear plan and work in small structured steps
  7. Regular training, but not too often (e.g. 1/year); Use relevant best practice examples for training and let the team participate in the process (i.e. by asking them to make suggestions, bonus schemes and other incentives)
  8. Targets should be SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, time-related)
Three must have success pillars for any Energy Management System

Three must have success pillars for any Energy Management System

Magdy Aly

Energy manager, Energy efficiency consultant Passionate to help others to save Energy and Environment.

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