Articles

FOR A SUCCESSFUL ENERGY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: WHY THE POLICY IS NEEDED IN THE ORGANIZATION?

By 05/08/2020 August 7th, 2020 No Comments

The ideal starting point to ensure the success of in the implementation of energy management system has been always the  commitment from the top management with the introduction of the organization’s energy management policy complete with the setting of energy management goals from the highest level of the business operation.

The introduction of energy policy often requires the understanding among the highest level of management personnel on its importance to ensure the success of energy management program at the organization.

However, it is often very challenging task for anyone within the organization to convince the top management to introduce such policy without a strong business case proposal and value proposition or strategic reasons to make that policy decision.

This is where whoever wanted to champion the introduction of a sustainable energy management need to look beyond just the energy cost savings to convince the top management. This is due to sometime, unless the energy cost is a very significant portion of the total operating costs of the organization or against the core business costs, energy costs savings alone would not be given much consideration in important business policies or strategic decisions.

Here I would like to share some potential key selling points that can be considered in preparing a strong business case proposal or strategic paper of energy management to convince decision makers. It is  important to look at other non-energy related benefits and not only focusing on energy costs savings.

  1. Contribution of energy management to business profitability for the private sector and to achieve the relevant national policies, government’s directives and international green/sustainable development commitment for the public sector and for the nation.
  2. Business sustainability and competitiveness in the markets.
  3. Compliance to some regional markets and customers’ requirements.
  4. Corporate image of the organisation through local and international awards and recognition.
  5. Contribution to the improvement in the working comfort level and environment;
  6. Reduction of pollution and greenhouse gasses emission.
  7. Compliance to the legal requirements which is sometime very costly in penalties and creating bad image of the organisation.

The introduction of energy management policy will drive the implementation of energy management system by defining it clearly on what need to be done and what need to be achieved by focusing and demonstrating those intention and commitment in the policy. This serves as the strong indication of commitment from the top management to be seen by all in the organisation. Then it will lead to the needed attention will be given on all planned activities in the energy management system development and implementation for actions that need to be taken by respective party and personnel.

This strong message in the policy need be conveyed, understood and seen by everyone in the organisation to achieve the common goals in energy management for the organization through their various roles and participation. With the commitment indicated in the policy, an internal organisation such as energy committee or a dedicated permanent team to implement energy management system in the organisation need to be established to indicate the next stage of the commitment which is to act by implementing energy management system.

Figure below illustrates on how energy policy will influence and drive the implementation of energy management system in an organisation with key elements, activities and responsibilities involved.

It shows, energy policy is not a stand-alone statement in a document and must be attached with clearly defined responsibilities of the management, resources needed and comprehensive energy planning to be executed to achieve  the intended objectives and targets that have been set.

The introduction of energy policy comes with the dedicated responsibilities and authorities as discussed in the previous article. These responsibilities and authorities will be executed by the authorized representative with authorities to make some decisions for the overall implementation and through the scheduled management reviews by the top management group members in the organization. In the same time, the policy statement in the policy document of the organization will serve as the main reference and guide for the internal energy management organization or often known as energy management committee to carry out the energy planning activities in the energy management system development stage. This will result in the main outputs which are energy management objectives and targets to be achieved based on energy performance improvement opportunities identified.

The objectives will indicate the description of the energy management goals which often about the reduction of energy use and its costs and the target will indicate the projected values to be achieved within the specified period. Then in the management reviews, the top management can judge the performance of its strategy against the agreed objective and targets. Outputs from the system and energy performance checking or evaluation are key factors in the scheduled management reviews to present positive impacts of energy management system to the business that should be able  to convince the top management to maintain their supports and commitment for continual improvement.

With a clearly defined and well-communicated energy policy with its objectives and targets, energy matters will be more likely to be understood and accepted throughout the organisation’s management and all personnel.

The energy policy  should not just to be a mere document and statement with a signature!

The energy policy is an official document that demonstrates support and commitment to improving energy performance by the top management of the organisation. Energy policy does not need to go into detail and the most important thing is must be understood and embraced by in while performing day to day activities that will affect the use of energy in the organisation.

The development of the energy policy is often become the responsibility of the energy management committee. It needs to be prepared at an early stage and possibly update after planning if required.

The policy should set the framework for target setting and management review of the energy management programme introduced in the organisation. Energy management policies can come more information including the policy target values and time frame in the form or energy unit and percentage of energy reduction goals with specified period to achieve it by the organisation and some are just with statements on the objective, key focused areas and pledge by the top management on energy management.

The development energy management policy will start with the discussions on to define the scope of the energy management system itself. It should indicate clearly the boundary and scope of the policy throughout the organisation, facilities and types of energy resources involved. For example, which plant, buildings, energy sources are included and which are not included with its justification.

Energy policy and energy management system should be appropriate to the nature and scale of the operations. However, whether is a small or large organization, energy management system should be made simple and practical for implementation.

The typical good content in an energy policy statement should indicate the following:

  1. Commitment to continual improvement of energy performance through the development and achievement of the specified objectives and targets.
  2. Commitment to provide the necessary information and resources to achieve its energy objectives and targets in the development, implementation and performance measurement and verification of the system.
  3. Support for the purchase of energy efficient products and services where economically feasible for the organisation to pursue.
  4. Support the use of energy efficient design practices in new projects within the boundary of the facilities such as the addition of new buildings and equipment and other expansion or retrofitting works that will affect the use of energy.
  5. Commitment by the organisation to comply with all legal and other requirements that apply to its energy using activities.

On top of all the above, the planned activities will be more successful if adequate resources are allocated to energy management especially with intention to achieve the intended objectives and targets at approved by the top management.

The content of the policy statement requires the reviews and updates regularly at suitable frequency to reflect the achievement and the future and goals of energy management of the organisation. However, it is often seen that changes in energy policy are usually minimal.

The introduction of energy policy must be well understood by the top management groups and then conveyed to all level of personnel in the organisation.

Therefore, the energy management policy should be communicated to all parties and levels of personnel in the organisation for their awareness and adoption in their activities in the organisation. All employees must be able to digest and embrace key messages and their roles to ensure the objectives and targets planned from the introduction of the policy will be achieved. This could only be done through a proper awareness programme followed by the official introduction of the policy by the organization.

Next,we will come to the most critical step in the development process of energy management system for an organization; the energy planning which I will share and elaborate with more insights in next article.

The energy planning stage is the most important stage in the system development because it will determine key parameters to be achieved as the outputs to the business or operational costs in the form of energy costs savings and measures to be taken to achieve it within the targeted period.