Power steering with 50001

10th December 2012


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the environmentalist finds that several years of improving energy efficiency at its Peterborough site has helped Landis+Gyr achieve ISO 50001

Global metering equipment business Landis+Gyr was one of the first companies to achieve certification to ISO 50001, the energy management standard, which was released in June 2011 (see below).

Any organisation aiming for 50001 certification needs to demonstrate a track record of continual improvement in energy management before it can apply. For Landis+Gyr’s Northfields site in Peterborough, successfully certifying against the international standard was the culmination of several years developing and implementing low-energy strategies, installations, recording systems and training programmes.

EMS versus EnMS

Landis+Gyr is a market leader in electricity metering, with a particular emphasis on smart metering systems. For a company with a corporate strapline of “manage energy better” and which exists to help firms in the utility sector, and other organisations and homeowners to improve their energy efficiency, it seems obvious that Landis+Gyr would want to implement 50001.

However, achieving a perfect fit with the company’s operational focus and corporate brand was not the only reasons why Landis+Gyr’s Northfields site decided to implement the standard.

As facilities manager Peter Garwood explains: “Managing energy efficiently is very important to us, and is becoming increasingly so when we deal with clients and subcontractors. We also wanted to realise the financial benefits of managing energy better but, fundamentally, 50001 helps us to reduce our carbon footprint and raise awareness of that need across the workforce.”

Landis+Gyr had already implemented two other management standards – the quality standard ISO 9001 and the environmental standard ISO 14001 – across its UK operations before embarking on the one for energy management systems (EnMS). Garwood says that 14001 certification acted as a trigger for the Peterborough site to go a step further and achieve 50001 as well.

The environment management standard requires an organisation to consider and manage all of its significant environmental impacts, which includes energy use. If energy is by far the organisation’s greatest environmental impact, it could be that 50001 is a more appropriate option or addition.

When asked how necessary it was to implement a stand-alone management standard focusing exclusively on energy management, on top of a well established environmental management system (EMS), Garwood is unequivocal about the benefits. “14001 does not deal specifically with energy management, whereas 50001 is 100% focused on energy,” he comments.

“It provides far more detail and is therefore a more rigorous approach for managing the energy side of the company’s environmental impact – 50001 is a complete system, which creates an ethos of energy management in the business and aligns perfectly with 14001.”

Working towards 50001 certification is not a decision that organisations should take lightly, cautions Garwood. He estimates that even two years of record keeping and implementing energy efficiencies may not be enough to satisfy the rigorous continuous improvement requirements demanded by the standard.

“All the ISO management standards are aligned to continuous improvement, but for 50001 it is essential to demonstrate a baseline in energy usage and subsequent year-on-year energy performance enhancements,” Garwood says. “It would be impossible for a virgin site to obtain certification in a short timescale.”

Prior to implementing 50001, Landis+Gyr spent more than three years compiling historical energy management data to demonstrate the quantifiable improvements it had made in energy consumption and efficiency. This was facilitated by the company’s long-standing work in this area and the initiatives it had put in place towards achieving the Carbon Trust Standard.

Implementing 50001

Garwood says that with two management standards in place there was a framework to follow for implementing 50001. Once the company had spent several years establishing a baseline of energy usage, developing low-energy initiatives and recording any subsequent energy-performance improvements, gaining certification was a relatively straightforward process. In that sense, the hard work had already been done.

One of the first steps was establishing an “energy management team” comprising Garwood as energy manager and representatives from key functions in the business, including health and safety, facilities and the environmental team. Its remit is “to identify and drive energy-efficiency initiatives and provide an integrated organisation-wide response to energy management”.

50001 stipulates that achieving the buy-in of senior management is vital, and Garwood agrees: “We couldn’t have achieved certification without the top-level support we received.” This assistance was readily available because of the high priority that is given by the business to environmental issues.

A key part of attaining certification involved undertaking a gap analysis, which was carried out by Garwood and an ISO contractor. Garwood knew that, overall, the site was in a good position to achieve 50001; he had designed the building himself in 2006, using energy-efficient technologies and installations. Also, the team had the data to demonstrate continuous improvement and the company already had a lot of the necessary systems in place.

Nonetheless, the gap analysis was a useful exercise and while it did not identify any serious shortfalls, it did highlight a few areas for improvement. These focused mainly on documentation, for example drafting an energy management strategy, policy and action plan, and some accompanying procedures.

The analysis also helped to establish a framework for training. “Raising awareness and changing employee behaviour around energy conservation is an integral part of the EnMS,” points out Garwood. “Following the gap analysis we introduced appropriate training for staff as part of their induction and introduced bi-monthly energy-efficiency sessions.”

Energy efficiency in practice

50001 provides a framework for managing a range of potential energy-efficiency projects, including technological ones, such as voltage optimisation and low-energy lighting, and others that encourage behaviour change on the part of energy users. Landis+Gyr has embraced both types of project.

Because the Peterborough site was built only five years ago, Garwood had the opportunity from the outset to incorporate as many high-spec, low-energy elements as were viable, basing some installations on the recommendations of the Carbon Trust Standard. These included solar photovoltaics, a heat-recovery system, a greywater system and energy-efficient boilers.

Adapting the behaviour of “energy users” – employees – is also high on the 50001 agenda. As well as the regular training that is now in place, the energy management team helps to foster a culture of switching off any item that requires energy when not in use. There is clear signage around the manufacturing plant and offices, and regular emails are sent reminding people of the benefits of good practice on energy usage.

“It may not happen immediately, but in around 12 months the training sessions and ‘toolbox’ talks will yield an improvement in employee behaviour around energy management – it is a case of constant reinforcement of the messages,” says Garwood.

“The aim is that staff do not limit their energy-saving behaviour to work hours, but take the same approach home with them.”

A key element of 50001 is demonstrating continuous improvement and Landis+Gyr’s energy management strategy reflects this by making a statement of intent to “establish and continuously adjust achievable energy-reduction targets for each department and manufacturing site”.

In its energy policy, the company commits to reducing its dependence on fossil fuels by 3%–5% each year through “energy conservation and efficient working practices”.

This year-on-year reduction represents an increasingly challenging target for the company, as it will become harder and harder to realise further energy savings, says Garwood. Having a new building that incorporates many energy-efficient measures has done a lot to combat the company’s carbon footprint, but the flipside means that its baseline for reliance on fossil fuels is already at a relatively low level. Achieving annual energy performance improvements is that much more challenging.

The 2012 target has already been achieved through measures such as the installation of LED lighting and by increasing the temperature in the server room.

Although it was established practice to keep the temperature at 17°C, following an investigation by Garwood and his team it was agreed that a temperature of 23°C was perfectly acceptable, significantly reducing energy use associated with cooling the area.

The company has also capitalised on situations where equipment or installations have come to the end of their natural life by replacing them with more efficient models. For example, early in 2013 the Landis+Gyr site will complete the last of what Garwood describes as the “big energy-efficiency changes” by swapping four old air compressors with new low-energy ones.

Garwood says the energy management team has to demonstrate a strong business case for implementing energy-saving measures, with a clear timeline for return on investment (ROI). Landis+Gyr’s energy policy stipulates that the ROI on any efficiency upgrades must be three years or less. In some cases, a shorter payback period can be achieved.

Bigger firm: smaller impact

Landis+Gyr’s 50001 certification and associated energy-saving initiatives are already having a significant effect.

The Peterborough site has managed to sustain its overall energy use at previous levels despite employing more people and increasing productivity by 35% during recent years. This corresponds to a saving of around 12% in potential energy use. Garwood says that the financial savings from lower energy bills following implementation of the EnMS are significant.

For organisations considering 50001 certification, Garwood says that the certification process is not onerous, particularly for those with an EMS already in place. “But it is essential that there is a serious commitment to save energy and the environment because demonstrating continuous improvement means having detailed historical data,” Garwood advises.

“Successful implementation requires the right infrastructure, mentality and documentation.”

ISO 50001 - the energy standard

ISO 50001 is the international management systems standard for energy. It was published in June 2011 and replaces the British and European standard BS EN 16001. The request to ISO to develop a global energy management standard came from the industrial development organisation of the United Nations, which had recognised the need for industry to mount an effective response to climate change and harmonise the different national standards.

ISO, in turn, had identified energy management as one of the top five fields for the development standards. 50001 draws on numerous national or regional energy specifications, regulations and management standards – including 16001.

50001 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system (EnMS). Certification to the standard confirms an organisation’s commitment to achieving continual improvement in energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption.

50001 applies to all variables affecting energy performance that can be monitored and influenced by the organisation but it does not prescribe specific performance criteria for energy. Although designed for independent use, 50001 can be aligned or integrated with other management systems.

50001 follows the same “plan-do-check-act” process as ISO 14001 and provides for continual improvement of the EnMS setting out a framework for organisations to:

  • develop a policy for more efficient use of energy;
  • fix targets and objectives to meet the policy;
  • use data to better understand and make decisions concerning energy use and consumption;
  • measure the results;
  • review the effectiveness of the policy; and
  • continually improve energy management.

Source: iso.org


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