How to manage energy

Energy managers serve as focal points for energy related activities and strategies within an organisation. They may operate alone or as part of a team. This section highlights important considerations for an energy manager.

The business case

The introduction of effective energy management within an organisation is an important step towards improving overall performance. For many organisations, formalising this process can represent a significant cultural change.


The size of an energy management team varies depending on the size of an organisation and the activities it undertakes. It can range from a single part-time role to a team of dedicated staff, or contracted service companies and consultants. For energy management to be successfully implemented, collaboration between departments and collective responsibility across the whole organisation should be encouraged.


The mandate to manage energy can originate from senior management, but in cases where it is driven by other employees, senior management support and buy-in should be sought. Initially, this might take the form of a commitment to improve energy practice and begin the process of examining organisational energy use. However, to enable a detailed examination of energy use as described in this chapter, some organisations may also need to approve initial expenses such as hiring an energy manager or procuring and installing additional energy meters. At this early stage, case studies from similar organisations can be used to build an initial business case, which will be crucial for gaining commitment at all levels.


This chapter describes the key steps for managing energy. It highlights the importance of making a strong business case and engaging with stakeholders at all levels: senior management, staff members and external business partners.


Implementing energy management

Managing energy in a systematic, structured manner is an on-going process; once the commitment has been made, an organisation can follow a step-by-step process that forms a continual cycle of assessment and improvement.


This process may be informal, following logical steps for continuous improvement without necessarily adhering to a particular standard. Conversely, an energy management system (EnMS) based on a formal standard can be adopted.

Whichever route is chosen, a common recommended structure for this process is Plan-Do-Check-Act. This structure is the backbone of many energy and other management practices, and repeating this cycle should drive continuous improvement.

Energy management standards

Since 2000, several national and international standards have been developed for use by energy managers to provide support and guidance for implementing an EnMS. This standardisation process culminated in the development of ISO 50001:2011 – Energy Management Systems standard. ISO 50001 supersedes many of the earlier national and European standards and, having been developed by professionals from more than 60 countries, is considered to be the benchmark standard for energy management worldwide. It is highly compatible with other well-known international management system standards such as those for Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001:2015) and Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015).


ISO 50001 was developed to ensure consistency and validity of energy performance worldwide, and as a result, has raised the professional status of energy management. It has been implemented by a wide range of organisations around the world and establishes a holistic and structured approach to improving energy performance. This standard uses the process of continuous assessment and improvement to ensure that energy savings are achieved and maintained. In addition to this, the main benefits of the standard are that it:


- sets out the process of measuring and verifying (M&V) the energy performance of an organisation.

- can be used from large organisations to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across a broad range of commercial, industrial and public sectors.

- enables energy management best practices to be introduced into business operations.

- increases transparency and effective communication on the management of energy resources.

- encourages the adoption of energy efficiency measures across an organisation’s supply chain.

- ensures that everyone in an the organisation will be involved in the process.

- takes into account any external financial incentives (tax benefits, enhanced capital allowances, etc).


Whilst not a requirement, the implementation of ISO 50001 can be certified through a 3rd party certification body.


Various standards on how to conduct energy audits have also been developed. Examples of these standards are ISO 50002 – Energy Audits and BS EN 16247 – covering the general requirements and process of undertaking energy audits in buildings, industrial processes and the transport sector. These standards define the attributes, common features and methodologies, as well as the deliverables of good quality audits.


ISO standards are reviewed and updated at regular intervals to ensure that they adequately reflect industry’s latest developments and requirements. To stay up to date with good practice, organisations should always use the latest available versions.


The following sections give an interpretation of the Plan-Do-Check- Act structure and process as applied to energy management.


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