“Individual organizations cannot control energy prices, government policies, or the global economy. But they can improve the way they manage energy.” –ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele
Energy is one of the largest controllable expenses of your plant, or of any building for that matter. And luckily, as more and more building owners realize remarkable ROI in energy-saving strategies, the amount of related information continues to grow.
In fact, a quick Google search for energy management returns about 54,800,000 results, which gives us about 78 pages to wade through. Of course, no one has time for that, so we usually just collect tidbits of advice we hear about going green and put them to use as best we can.
For example, at home I know to keep the thermostat under 68° in the winter and over 72° in the summer for better energy savings. I know to run the dishwasher only when it’s full to maximize water use. I know to open the shades during the day to let in natural light. I’m sure you’ve heard similar rules of thumb.
So we’ve got the basics down, but managing energy in an entire plant requires a bit more forethought than simply turning off the lights when we leave the house.
Fortunately, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) launched an energy management standard last summer. According to ISO, the energy standard—ISO 50001—will provide industrial plants, commercial, businesses, government facilities, and entire organizations with “access to a single, harmonized standard for implementation across the organization with a logical and consistent methodology for identifying and implementing improvements.”
Twenty-six US facilities, including 3M, Cook Composites, Dow Chemical, Nissan, and Volvo, participated in ISO 50001 pilot programs. In addition, the Department of Energy endorses ISO 50001 as a “proven approach for US industrial commercial facilities to plan, manage, measure, and continually improve energy performance.”
Companies implement these energy standards to reduce their energy consumption and environmental footprint, but they can become ISO 50001 certified as well. On March 8th of this year, Volvo’s Dublin plant was the first US facility to achieve certification. This third-party verification can afford companies a competitive edge and greater confidence in their supply chain.
For those that utilize it, the energy standard will be hugely helpful as it takes the guesswork out of energy management. Instead of the trial and error strategy I use at home, haphazardly turning the thermostat up or down, ISO 50001 provides an explicit framework applicable in any company—public or private, large or small. Companies worldwide can now adopt best practices in energy management.
Have you begun working towards your ISO 50001 certification? What other energy management tools—software, audits, etc.—do you use at your facility? If you’re kicking off a new energy management program or you’re working to keep your energy output in check, get a customized energy report today.