Improving Energy Management within Central Government

Published on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 12:06
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Wiltshire Council comprising of approximately 800 sites and 8000 full-time employees, with an energy bill totalling £7m, set the standard with their Energy Management initiatives and work towards achieving ISO 50001.

On 6th July 2012 the Prime Minister announced that while carbon emissions from Government HQs and offices had been slashed by nearly 14 per cent within a year, Central Government would have to go further by cutting emissions by 25 per cent by 2015, 34 per cent by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050.

So how can these targets be met? Achieving ISO 50001:2011 certification is a great place to start. ISO 50001 is the International Standard for Energy Management Systems, setting out the latest best practice in energy management and developed by experts from over 60 countries.

ISO 50001 is a voluntary standard enabling organisations to establish a framework that helps improve the way they manage energy; providing the tools to deliver significant cost savings, enabling them to comply with upcoming Green House Gas (GHG) legislation and assisting them in tackling climate change.

For instance, by the autumn of 2010 Wiltshire Council had taken considerable steps to meet their energy targets, such as the purchase and imminent implementation of SystemsLink energy management software, creation of an Energy Services Team and Energy, Change and Opportunity (ECO) Team and the setting up of a County-wide network of 56 Green Champions, centred around four primary hubs.

Plans were also in place to set departmental energy budgets, install smart meters in all schools, leisure centres and a range of other buildings to automate the collection and analysis of energy use data and comply with obligations under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme. At this point, the decision was taken to aim for certification to BS EN 16001 : 2009: Energy management systems  - Requirements with guidance for use.

Steve Dean, Lead Assessor at QMS reported: "Even a small percentage reduction on an annual expenditure of £7m would be very advantageous for the Council.  In tandem with lower energy consumption and costs there was also the aim to reduce the carbon emissions that the Council were responsible for and consequently reduce the carbon allowances that the Council had to purchase annually.  In 2011/12 these allowances cost the Council £400,000".

Resourcing issues in the Energy Management Team began to cause serious problems after achieving the certification, slowing the implementation of the Standard and valuable initiatives at 10 pilot sites. Fortuitously, the ISO replacement for BS EN 16001, BS ISO 50001 : 2011, had been published and, in consultation with QMS, it was decided that a new assessment and certification process for that Standard should be initiated.

Wiltshire Council's BS EN 16001 Energy Management System Manual was rewritten to the new ISO 50001 specification.  The substantial differences noted during this process were used to create a new Gap Analysis and a fresh Implementation Strategy, the key points of which included:

Greater emphasis on top management commitment and responsibilities.A revised Energy Policy, including a commitment to provide the necessary resources to achieve objectives and targets and support for the procurement of energy-efficient products and services. The introduction of an Energy Planning process.Energy performance considerations to be an integral part of the design of new, modified and renovated facilities, equipment, systems and processes. A review was required to ensure that the Standard's requirements are being met with regard to procurement across the Authority, reflecting the increased emphasis in the new Standard.Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs) required review to ensure that the broader definition of Energy Performance offered by BS ISO 50001 is adequately reflected.The Energy Metering Plan needed to be replaced by the Energy Measurement Plan.An Energy Baseline was required to meet the new Standard.

Work is now proceeding rapidly on the revised BS ISO 50001 Implementation Strategy and the Council has formally adopted the revised Energy Policy.  Financial resources have been assigned to grow the Energy Management Team and ECO Team, while a Corporate Energy Manager is due to be appointed with a higher corporate profile than has previously been accorded to energy matters (coincidentally in line with the higher profile of the Management Representative specified by BS ISO 50001 : 2011).

Viviene Sawyerr, Senior Energy Officer of Wilsthire Council said: "We are very excited to be introducing an internationally recognised approach to energy management into Wiltshire Council. We see it as a valuable tool in our desire to reduce our energy consumption and keep our energy bills down."

It has been estimated that by targeting broad applicability across national economic sectors, the ISO 50001 standard could influence up to 60 % of the world's energy use.

Source: ©QMS

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