How to manage energy: Check
In the ‘Check’ stage, actual performance should be compared with the energy policy targets and objectives. This will determine whether or not the organisation is on track with its energy management goals and should also highlight any processes and operations that need improvement.
This stage requires the assessment of the whole management process to confirm the system is effective, leading to continual improvement and delivering planned results. It involves regular monitoring, analysis and assessment of the areas that have the biggest impact on energy performance. These could include EnPIs, deviations between actual and expected consumption and the levels of effectiveness of the action items implemented.
The key component of the ‘Check’ stage is Measurement and Verification (M&V). This refers to methods and tools designed to estimate the achieved energy savings in an accurate, reliable and transparent way. Over time, the amount of energy saved and the value returned from each investment can be calculated. To increase confidence in the ability of energy efficiency projects to deliver results, the need to verify and prove potential savings is a critical step in the process. A successful M&V process will increase the credibility of energy management within the organisation, and subsequently it may allow for future allocation of resources for implementing energy efficiency projects.
The International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol (IPMVP) is a widely adopted framework used to promote good practice in recording, estimating, and documenting energy savings. It specifies various methods and techniques for determining savings of a wide range of projects, from industrial processes to new and existing buildings. It also describes the fundamental principles that underpin the design of an M&V plan to produce verifiable savings reports, and ensures the results of these reports will be real, accurate and complete.
The ‘Check’ stage also includes undertaking and communicating an objective, impartial internal assessment of the EnMS that confirms the system is operating properly and delivering the planned results.
Any errors and non-conformities, both actual and potential, should be identified and addressed through corrective and preventative actions.
Finally, the ‘Check’ stage includes testing for compliance with legal requirements applicable to an organisation’s energy use, and reporting the results to senior management at regular intervals.