ISO 50001 is an energy management strategy whose purpose is to demonstrate a clear understanding of where energy is used in an organisation.
In 2015 Donegal County Council embarked on a process of designing and implementing an Energy Management System which would achieve ISO 50001 accreditation.
An Energy Policy was adopted by Senior Management. They carried out an energy review to demonstrate a clear understanding of where energy is used in the organisation, what drives its consumption and what can be done in order to improve its performance. This research allowed DCC to identify the types of energy being used and the identification of Significant Energy Users: 1.Street lighting, 2.Road transport and 3.Public buildings.
Energy Performance Indicators were developed to allow monitoring and tracking performance. An opportunities register was compiled to allow the development of a detailed Action Plan. This plan has identified significant Energy Reduction projects in organisational / people / technical areas which now inform the organisation as it strives to continuously improve on energy performance reduction.
In a short period of time, DCC noticed significant energy savings. They reduced energy consumption in buildings between 5%-10% without any physical projects, just by a better behavior and by raising awareness.
Regarding the advantages, the organisation takes the responsibility for its energy performance, monitor and measure the consumption, reinvest the savings... Disadvantages were not enough administrative resources.
An Energy Management Consultant was employed to assist with developing the system, while SEAI’s public sector support programme was also availed of. Responsibility for developing the system was assigned to a new Energy Management Team which comprised of people that could impact energy use.
Evidence of success
Accreditation was achieved and granted by Certification Europe which is an independent certifying body. Implementation of the energy management system, heightened awareness and the better management of energy consumption in the council’s office facilities delivered a 5% reduction in energy consumption in Year 1. Further savings will be realised by the implementation of identified energy reduction projects. They expect a further 10% reduction in energy consumption in Year 2.
The complexity of the organisation with numerous departments and persons responsible for energy use was a difficulty in setting up the system initially.
Potential for learning or transfer
Donegal County Council were among the first local authorities in Europe to achieve ISO 500001 accreditation for its energy management system. Therefore, there is an opportunity for other EU regions to learn from the successes and problems faced during its implementation.
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