By Eleen Korir

According to ISO,  Energy consumption and use across the globe continues to increase and has more than doubled in the last 40 years. This energy consumption is projected to increase a further 30% by 2040. While this is happening, there is an increase in greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change. To avert or reduce this, energy management and conservation is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time saving money incurred in paying for expensive energy sources. In addition, it also saving on public health resources related to use of poor energy sources that affect our health. An Energy Management system in an organization helps achieve all the aforementioned benefits.

What is an energy management system?

An Energy management system is a method of controlling and monitoring energy consuming devices. These devices may include heating and cooling equipment, fans, pumps, dampers, and lighting. Energy management systems can also be used to control refrigeration equipment, industrial processes, or other systems. This happens by collection of energy data from the field and making it available to users through graphics, online monitoring tools, and energy quality analyzers, thus enabling the management of energy resources. 

An Energy Management System helps organizations better manage their energy use, thus improving productivity. It involves developing and implementing an energy policy, setting achievable targets for energy use, and designing action plans to reach them and measure progress. This might include implementing new energy-efficient technologies, reducing energy waste or improving current processes to cut energy costs.

Benefits of an Energy Management System (EnMS)

A good EnMS will help an institution/organization:

  • Manage future changes in an energy efficient manner, while preserving operational integrity
  • Evaluate what works to improve energy performance based on hard data–and build on it 
  • Develop a structure and framework for communicating results both internally and externally 
  • Integrate energy management into existing management processes 
  • Effectively communicate energy management roles and responsibilities across the organization

What is ISO 50001 Energy Management System?

ISO 50001 EnMS is the international energy management standard, published in June 2011, and represents the effort of over 50 countries from around the world to develop an international best practice to help organizations better manage energy. It was developed for organizations committed to addressing their impact, conserving resources and improving the bottom line through efficient energy management. It provides a practical way to improve energy use, through the development of an energy management system (EnMS).

As stipulated by ISO, ISO 50001 provides a framework of requirements for organizations 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 about energy use
  • Measure the results
  • Review how well the policy works, and
  • Continually improve energy management.

What are benefits of ISO 50001 EnMS?

ISO 50001 EnMS can be used by both large and small companies and is designed to help them improve their energy performance through making better use of its energy-intensive assets and equipment. 

Improved energy performance can provide rapid benefits for an organization by maximizing its use of energy sources and energy-related assets, reducing both cost and consumption.  In addition, implementing an ISO 50001 EnMS contributes to reducing environmental impact.

ISO 50001 EnMS training and certification in Sub-Saharan Africa

Training and certification on ISO 50001 EnMS is being done by various accredited institutions and standardization bodies in various countries who are members of ISO.

Some of the accredited trainers is UNIDO who train through institutions such as South African Energy Efficiency Confederation (SAEEC) and Institute of Energy Professionals Africa (IEPA).