ISO Show

#146 5 mistakes to avoid while managing an Energy Management System


Energy Management can be a tricky topic to approach depending on your industry. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered to ensure that you are accurately monitoring and measuring your energy consumption.

Thankfully ISO 50001, the Standard for Energy Management, does provide a lot of useful guidance to help you get started. As a reminder, ISO 50001 can help your business to continually improve its energy performance, energy efficiency, energy use and energy consumption. Building an energy management system (EMS) based on the requirements of ISO 50001 will ultimately help you to understand, monitor and measure your use of energy.

However, even with the guidance, we often see a few common mistakes companies make while managing their EMS. Today Darren Morrow, Senior Isologist here at Blackmores, joins us to share his top 5 mistakes to avoid while managing an EMS.

You’ll learn

  • What is ISO 50001?
  • 5 mistakes to avoid while managing an Energy Management System
  • How can you avoid these mistakes?  


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] What is ISO 50001? ISO 50001 is all about continually improving energy performance, energy efficiency, energy use and energy consumption. By Implementing an energy management system, you will be able to fully understand and monitor and measure your use of energy. Like most other ISO’s, continual improvement is at the heart of ISO 50001, and It’s also based on the Annex SL format. So, it shares some similarities with Standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. If you’ve got ISO 14001, you’re already half-way there!

[01:14] We have a more detailed walkthrough of ISO 50001 Implementation available in our steps to success podcast series, which are episodes: 84, 85 and 88

[02:00] Mistake 1 – Lack of commitment from top management: This can be one of the biggest issues and can cause the most damage in relation to any management system.

A lack of support from top management often leads to:-

  • A loss of motivation for improvement
  • A lack of financial support and resources – The EMS should be considered in budgets so you can account for any additional maintenance that needs to be done to ensure equipment is running optimally, or possibly investing in newer technology that is designed to be more efficient.
  • Lack of alignment of the EMS and organisational goals and objectives – Everyone in the business should be aware of the organisation’s goals, if energy management is included as part of those goals, then they are more likely to be fulfilled.

Having a commitment from top management ensures that EMS is part of the business and not just a bolt on.  

[03:25] Mistake 2 – Built by one person or department: If one person is deemed ultimately responsible, even if supported by top management, overall commitment throughout the business can be difficult, sometimes with comments such as ‘that’s Bob’s job’.

With one person or department, there can be the lack of authority to make decisions, and inevitably they can become siloed from the rest of the business – not hearing about improvement opportunities, not being involved in internal projects, etc.

Ensure that, even in a smaller businesses where one person may form the ‘Energy Team’,  that everyone is able to contribute.

[04:20] Mistake 3 – Rushed Implementation of the Energy Management System: This can lead to confusion as to who is responsible and what responsibilities are shared. It can also lead to failures to record opportunities for improvement, or for monitoring and managing any deviations in energy consumption that may occur and require investigation.

There is also the risk of a lack of awareness amongst staff if you’ve not taken the time to communicate roles and responsibilities in relation to the EMS.

[05:30] Mistake 4 – Manual controls that can be overridden by staff:  A lot of what you monitor and measure may be automated, but there will always be elements where there is a potential for human error. So ideally, where possible during energy reviews or audits, consider those elements that humans have direct impact for the control and influence of energy.

Typical examples include:

  • Heating and cooling – Problems and excessive energy use can be caused through individuals changing temperatures resulting in equipment working harder and on many occasions working against each other.
  • Lighting – Many companies now have sensor controlled lighting, this ensures lights are only switched on when required. Manual lighting controls typically have resulted in lights being switched on and left on in rooms that are not occupied, example being meeting rooms.

[06:50] Mistake 5 – Data collection and monitoring: Data collection is crucial in supporting decision making and also to be able to demonstrate improvement. Common pitfalls in this category include:

  • Lack of attention to monitoring and measurement results / trends – there is a likelihood that data will not be collected properly, recorded incorrectly, resulting in data that is only used to populate a spreadsheet or software based database, and does not provide any valuable information.

Results may not be analyzed at appropriate times to identify any trends or issues / deviations that may arise, potentially leading to inefficiencies in equipment operations, and ultimately increased costs

  • Poor data collection and record keeping and general housekeeping – Data if not collected periodically, covering determined periods, will result in being unable to compare consumption on a like-for-like basis. This means you will only be recording usage, with significantly reduced means to identify opportunities for improvement and / or causes for deviations.
  • Relying on energy bills (estimated and not reading meters) – This should be a last resort for data collection. This will not provide accurate information to base decisions on, inevitably bills will show an estimated consumption and cost, followed by a ‘reading’ sometime during the year, resulting in an amendment or adjustment being made – primarily cost.

This has a significant impact the data collected, along with any possibility of accurately identifying improvements and / or deviations that could impact the business

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