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Achieve ESOS compliance with ISO 50001 by 5 Dec 2015

14 January 2015
Since my first article for NQA, I have been to several presentations on Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). I have heard some interesting and, some rather disturbing conversations from those that I interact and converse with. The chief of them is the notion that “it is not possible to gain ISO 50001 certification in 12 months.”

Routes to ESOS compliance

To recap, ESOS requires large undertakings (either have >250 employees or have >€50 million turnover and a balance sheet of >€43 million) to carry out an ESOS assessment covering 90% of their total energy consumption.

ESOS provides four routes for compliance:

  • Independently certified ISO 50001 energy management system
  • Valid Display Energy Certificate (DEC) with corresponding recommendation report
  • Valid Green Deal Assessment (GDA)
  • Energy audit

For those who professes the impossibility to achieve certification in 12 months, and those who think so, has been led down a wrong path. The global computing giant who was recently ISO 50001 certified, IBM, was the first company to have their environmental management system certified at a global level within one year of publication. They have been actively managing and saving energy since the 1973-74 oil crisis(1).

Several companies, too, have achieved ISO 50001 certification within one year. Let’s have a look at how an organisation can achieve certification within 12 months.

1) IBM also does not include renewable energy projects and energy reduction from consolidation and downsizing in the corporations’ energy savings results.

67% ready

Organisations with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000 or any other ISO management systems are roughly 67% ready.

All organisations working with an existing ISO management system will find that a significant majority of the clauses in an ISO management system is the same. Clauses like policy, roles and responsibilities, planning, communication, documentation, internal audit, and many more are the same across the standards.

ISO 50001 shows (Annex B) how it is compatible with ISO 90001, ISO 14001 and ISO 22000. ISO is further strengthening the similarities with the introduction of common terminology and structure of management system called “High Level Structure” or “Annex SL”. ISO 9001 and ISO 140001 is going through a revision to adopt the new structure. ISO 50001 will shortly begin work on moving to the new structure.

All the organisation needs to do, to be ISO 50001 certified, is to execute the energy-specific clauses and have the same systems recertified to ISO 50001. In summary, this means:

  • Define and implement an energy measurement plan
  • Establish an energy baseline(s)
  • Determine the current energy performance (EnP)
  • Carry out an energy review
  • Identify and prioritise opportunities for improving EnP
  • Identify, implement, and have access to the applicable legal and other requirements
  • Identify, implement operational controls for SEUs to maintain and improve EnP
  • Consider EnP when designing new, modifying and renovating

Energy Review

Organisations don’t have to complete an energy review for every single part of the company at the outset

One thing to bear in mind when drafting an ESOS-compliant scope and boundary is to cover all areas of the business – including all buildings, manufacturing activities and transport. The scope for transport would also include all business mileage incurred by employees own car paid for by the organisation.

Having said that, there is no requirement for every single part of the organisation have (1) to (8) above completed before certification can be initiated. It is also not a requirement for all parts of the organisation to be completed before ISO 50001 certification to be deemed ESOS compliant.

In the case of IBM, “Corporate Instruction Number ENV119” mandates all IBM organisations to roll out an environment management system in line with the corporations’ management system specification and requirements. IBM’s energy savings efforts is not limited to its own facilities but embedded into site operations, product design, service delivery and global purchasing.

In addition, multi-site organisations will have similar opportunities for improvement. These arise from standardised business practices and common designs. For IBM, their top 20 sites consumes 51% of its energy. The next 80 accounts for 25% of its consumption. However, the energy use in all IB sites are similar: heating, ventilation, air conditioning, data centre equipment, lighting and other IT manufacturing, plug loads and transport.

Rolling out common practices, such as standardising office temperature to heat no more than 19°C and cool more than 24°C could be achieved rather quickly rather than a business unit by business unit economic analysis and approval.

Organisations are also able to roll out common opportunities for improvement and take advantage of more strategic and inclusive investments (maintenance, reliability, asset replacement, etc.) and also from negotiating bulk purchases prices. “Standard builds” is a common phenomenon, especially in IT departments where standardised specification PCs and laptops are available. The same concept can be extended to “standard retrofits” or CHP systems. In fact, IBM estimates that every $1 spent on energy savings brings $6 - $7 of savings in total operating costs.

Plan for Certification

Organisations can register their interest for certification early and work to a specific dateline

When it comes to working with certification bodies, many organisations assumes that they work in a one-dimensional way, i.e. “A” followed by “B”, “C”, and so on. This rather outdated way of working suits the consultants advising the organisations as it ring fences the organisation to themselves.

Organisations are in the driver seat for its speed in developing, implementing and certifying their management systems. Initial certification audits consists of two stages: Stage 1 audit of intent and Stage 2 audit of effectiveness. On average, the gap between stage 1 and stage 2 is between three to six months. This gives the organisation between six to nine months to develop and implement their first-pass energy management system based on ISO 50001. IBM and many others have proven that this is achievable.

The key is to work with the certification body and come to an agreement for acceptable starting points and timeframe. The organisation could, say start with the head office and a select few sites or buildings. “Representative sampling” is a recognised technique and is one that is frequently used in implementing and auditing ISO management systems.

Like many organisations, IBM is not immune to business performance needs and organisation dynamics (politics) issues. IBM understood that some sites would exceed the targets and some would underachieve.

They work around this by:

  • Placing the responsibility to meet its targets on line management rather than specific staff members.
  • Engaging its people (and external consultants) in developing stretch but technically achievable targets along with a portfolio to deliver at least twice the corporation’s targets to allow for contingencies.
  • Plans for at least 2 years ahead.
  • Carries out an evaluation and explains why a business unit underachieves its targets.

After discussing with the certification body, the next logical step, like IBM, would be to carry out an analysis of current operations against ISO 50001 to determine what is needed. As the eminent management guru, Daniel Goleman, would say, once the outcome and timeframe has been cast in stone, an urgency and focus sets in to steer its course.

Free ESOS advisory visit

Establish exactly where you are and where you would need to be in terms of achieving ESOS compliance through ISO 50001 or a combined or alternative route by booking a free NQA advisory visit today.

Simply contact us or call 0800 052 2424.

Kit Oung is an experienced energy manager at Energy Efficien:ology, board member of Energy Managers’ Association, and Advisory member of 2degrees Network. He is the author of Energy Management in Business (Gower) and Energy Audits (BSI).