Reported by Erika Lindholm and Sandra Anani
"Energy management" is a term that has multiple meanings, but mainly it relates to conserving energy in various organisations as well as private homes. When it comes to energy saving, energy management is concerned specifically with the process of monitoring, controlling and conserving energy in a building, or potentially within an organisation .
With carbon emissions from buildings accounting for a significant proportion of emissions, it is increasingly evident that large savings can be made through effective energy management. Taking the lead on such sustainability matters can play a key role in the success of any business. Not only does effective energy management help companies to save on significant energy costs, it also helps drive their sustainability program and their reputation. Moreover, it helps to conserve the environment by reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint.
Here are three simple steps that can help your organisation to manage energy more effectively and efficiently:
1- Senior management commitment
Without the support of senior managers, energy management will be difficult to launch and embed.
2- Developing an energy policy
An energy policy is a written statement of senior management's commitment to managing energy and its environmental impacts. Sometimes, it can be part of a wider organisational sustainability policy.
3- Launching an energy strategy
An energy strategy is a working document setting out how energy will be managed in an organisation. It should include a plan and involve a review of the current status as a benchmark.
You can access more information by clicking here for the Middle East Energy Institute.
From a practical point of view, you can seek opportunities to save energy; the first step is data collection. Start to measure by ensuring accurate metering is in place in all areas of operation and isolate them. This includes buildings, data centres, production, transportation etc. The second step, looking for opportunities, is to identify how much energy each area consumes and how energy can be saved. When collecting the information it can be difficult to get complete data sets of information for all areas, that is why it is important to focus on the larger areas which have a significant impact and are metered accurately, rather than smaller areas which may not have adequate metering. The last step is developing an action plan that targets the opportunities which have been identified. As always, a p,an, do,check, review approach should be followed to ensure your energy saving aspirations are realised.
New buildings are being designed to more stringent standards through various regulations and guidelines such as the required local planning permissions and requirements, e.g. Part L of the UK Building Regulations (which focuses on conservation of fuel and power), and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s Pearl Rating. However, generally speaking a large proportion of existing building and infrastructure will exist well into the future and it is clear that energy use in these buildings must be fully addressed as well. New energy management standards such as ISO 50001 can also be helpful and offer a wealth of information and guidance.
By conducting an energy breakdown and identifying the main areas for improvement a company can develop an energy forecasting mechanism that will help in for seeing future energy needs and set future energy/carbon targets.
An effective energy management cycle has short-term and long-term benefits for any organisation. It improves performance and productivity and ensures that these are sustainable over time. More importantly, it helps to conserve scarce resources and reduces climate change impacts.
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Sandra Anani is passionate about sustainability, with over 19 years’ experience. She has dedicated her career to sustainable development and communications.