ISO 50001 – Intelligent Energy Performance Improvement

Large organisations in different sectors are implementing a strong systematic Energy Management System (EnMS) based on the new ISO 50001 standard. As well as demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), this standard makes sense from a business case point of view with the potential for significant energy savings, leading to reduced costs and improved profits.

Implementing a systematic energy management system based on ISO 50001 helps organisations to achieve continual improvement in energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption using the Plan-Do-Check-Act model.  Establishing objectives and finding opportunities for improvement is key to this continual improvement process. Organisations use energy audits, best practice guides, ideas discussed during energy meetings, consultant advice and suggestions from staff to identify improvement opportunities. These are good sources, but are there other sources?

Most large energy using organisations have different ICT systems for energy management, such as building management systems (BMS), Building Automation Systems (BAS) and SCADA systems. In many cases these systems trigger hundreds of alarms which typically appear on display screens and can generate emails or text messages to the operators. These alarms relate to operational anomalies that occur when, for example, a temperature drifts outside a pre-defined set-point. Often Operations and Maintenance personnel are bombarded with alarms, have no time to interpret what is the root cause of the problems or any underlying inefficiencies. Could the frequency of a particular alarm help us identify improvement opportunities?

This is what the EU-FP7 CASCADE, and EU-CIP VERYSchool projects aim to develop and demonstrate at European airports and schools. The CASCADE project, led by the prestigious Fraunhofer Institute, in Germany, is an EU collaborative R&D project under the theme of “ICT for energy-efficient buildings and spaces of public use” using Milan Malpensa and Roma Fiumicino (Figure 1) as pilot airports. CASCADE will develop facility-specific measurement-based energy action plans for airport energy managers underpinned by systematic Fault Detection Diagnosis (FDD) Methods. VERYSchool will also demonstrate how hardware and ICT systems can be integrated to develop a complete ISO 50001 based energy management programme for schools.

A key objective of both projects is to create a framework that will encourage standardised communication to incorporate existing ICT infrastructure and customised ICT solutions which is intelligent, automated and can be  replicated. Once an improvement opportunity has been discovered it is then ready to be: prioritised; given a target date; assigned to competent person; included in an action plan; and brought through a systematic workflow to closure (finding the improvements is not very useful if you do not press forward and then achieve the energy savings!)

It is clear that there is a need for many people to be involved in operating a truly successful systematic EnMS. This includes Energy Managers, Supervisors, Operations & Maintenance personnel and external maintenance companies. By involving these people across the spectrum of an organisation there is a connect between Top Management and all staff and users of the facilities whether it is an airport or a school. Key to the success of such a concept is clear communication. This requires a centralised easily accessible and customisable tool for all parties to access. ICT solutions are an ideal way to encompass all of those requirements.

The CASCADE energy management systems are being implemented in the major European airports of Milano Malpensa and Roma Fiumicino in Italy. Improvement Opportunities will be automatically created in the action management software through the integration of various ICT systems and control software. These Improvement Opportunities are then recorded under the Energy Planning module of the software, turned into actions, and ready to be brought through a workflow compliant with ISO 50001 requirements – Intelligent Energy Performance Improvement!

The CASCADE project focuses on energy management in large energy using open spaces and can therefore be replicated for shopping centres, universities, large transport hubs, hospitals, large complex buildings and other applications, particularly where HVAC is a large energy user. This also includes clean rooms in pharmaceuticals and medical device plants. The VERYSchool project demonstrates how ICT can be significant in implementing systematic energy management across multiple sites.

The Bottom line:

ISO 50001 drives continual energy performance improvement, and using all the existing knowledge in your organisation around people and machines, continual energy performance improvement can surpass all expectations.

Building on existing ICT infrastructure and integrating systems allows large energy using organisations to:

  • Automatically recognise improvement opportunities to increase bottom line energy savings.
  • Streamline the administration and also provide stronger focus on management of savings.
  • Promote systematic action management and planning by knowing what actions are underway, where they came from, and who is responsible for closing them out.
  • Connect top management, the Energy team and all staff.
  • Provide centralised easily accessible energy information for all staff.
  • Analyse and monitor progress towards objectives and targets.
  • Maintain ISO 50001 certification.

Original article first appeared in Energy Manager Today.

Mark McCaffrey, Energy Engineer, Enerit.
Mike Brogan Ph.D., COO, Enerit

For CASCADE, the research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 284920.

For VERYSchool, the research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 297313. to ensure excellent energy management practice throughout an organization. The software brings transparency, for example, senior managers can view their company's energy management system by securely logging into the software.
Liam McLaughlin , eNMS