If you want to improve how your organisation uses energy, having a system will help. An energy management system will help you identify, plan and implement change. It will also include practical systems and procedures to help your company reach its energy goals.

While one energy management system per organisation may be enough, corporations with multiple, independent business units often find it easier for each unit to implement its own energy management system.

For companies working internationally, or companies keen to align energy management with other business systems like environmental management, (covered under ISO14001) or quality management (covered under ISO9001), it may be worthwhile using the voluntary ISO50001 standard as the basis for your energy management system.

Key elements of a strong energy management system

  • Senior management is committed to the process.
  • Energy management is embedded into business, not just ‘tacked on’ to existing systems.
  • Clear goals are set about the company’s energy use.
  • Energy management is recognised as part of continuous business improvement.
  • Progress is tracked, evaluated and reported.

How an energy policy might look

Typically, an energy policy will state how energy management aligns with the organisation’s broader goals. It will set time-specific targets, for example, a reduction in the amount of energy used per unit of production by a given date.

An energy policy might also address links between carbon emissions and energy use, and set out the company’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. It should also explain how energy relates to broader sustainability objectives and policies.

As with any business policy, an energy policy should be periodically updated.

Who should manage energy improvements?

Usually, an energy manager will oversee the development and implementation of an energy management system. This person acts as the link between senior management and the rest of the organisation, but they shouldn’t work alone. Ideally, the energy manager will form an energy team involving staff from across the organisation, as this will ensure all areas of the business are considered in energy efficiency improvements.

Even staff members who aren’t part of the energy team can get involved in energy improvements. Energy assessments could be undertaken by corporate and site-based teams, while a procurement team or operational staff can help negotiate improved energy contracts.

The Energy Smart Toolbox includes a fact sheet on developing Your Organisation’s Energy Policy including the key components of a formal policy for energy management practices.

The Functional Skills for an Energy Efficiency Assessment fact sheet is a concise overview of the key skills required to undertake an energy efficiency assessment. It highlights the importance of developing cross-functional energy teams.  This resource will be particularly useful for those trying to identify a potential energy manager or energy team members within their organisation.

The US EPA’s Teaming Up To Save Energy describes the likely barriers to establishing an energy management team and the engagement techniques to overcome them.  The document includes checklists and useful tips for those wanting to delegate responsibility for energy management, or for energy leaders aiming to build their own energy team.

The consultancy firm Energetics and the US Association of Energy Engineers have teamed up to offer a certified energy manager training program and certification exam for people seeking a broader understanding of the latest energy cost-reduction techniques and strategies.

Additional Energy Management System Resources

International Standards

Australian Resources

  • Energy Saver Training: Energy Management Basics 2014
    • NSW Department of Environment & Heritage
    • Website

    This practical and interactive training course is designed to assist businesses in understanding their energy use, collect and manage data, and reduce costs through greater efficiency.

  • Energy Management Guide for Tenants 2012 (Opens in a new window)

    This guide developed by National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) assists tenants in office buildings to manage their energy use. It provides practical advice for tenants in large and small offices, new fitouts and established tenancies on how to save energy, as well as where to go for professional advice and assistance.

  • Energy Smart Toolbox
    • NSW Dept of Energy, Climate Change and Water and WA Office of Energy

    It is easy to confuse the terms ‘energy management’, ‘energy efficiency’ and ‘energy conservation’. This series of fact sheets clarifies some of the key terms related to energy management with discussion of the associated benefits and issues. Additionally, the key elements of an effective energy management strategy are introduced. This resource will be helpful to those unfamiliar with basic energy management concepts. Clear and concise definitions can also help those writing an energy management related business proposal.

  • EREP Toolkit Module 2: A Management Systems Approach to Resource Efficiency 2008 (Opens in a new window)

    One of the five modules of the EREP (Environment and Resource Efficiency Plan) toolkit, this guide provides detailed information and a framework for implementation of an energy management system.  It also includes advice about  preparing an energy management system, baseline data and benchmarking, Life Cycle Assessment, and other methodologies for evaluating broader environmental and energetic impacts. This resource can be used by organisations across multiple sectors; it is mainly aimed at medium to large scale organisations, but it will provide helpful advice to some smaller companies.

International Resources

  • Energy Star Guidelines for Energy Management Overview 2004 (Opens in a new window)

    These guidelines provide an energy management strategy based on the practices of Energy Star program participants. The website includes a 7-step framework for an energy management system, including: making a commitment, assessing performance, setting goals, developing and implementing a plan, evaluating progress and recognising achievements. It also provides some other useful tools for developing an energy management system such as an energy program assessment matrix and a facility energy assessment matrix. These matrices can help evaluate existing energy management practices in an organisation. The Energy Star Guidelines are aimed at energy managers and are relevant across multiple sectors and organisation sizes.

  • Energy Star: Facility Energy Management Assessment Matrix 2004 (Opens in a new window)

    This document can be used as a checklist for evaluating existing energy management practices against the Energy Star Energy Management Guidelines. It can be adapted to suit the specific needs of an organisation and may serve as a useful status indicator as an EnMS is designed and implemented.

  • Handbook: Step by step guidance for the implementation of energy management 2007
    • Intelligent Energy - Europe (IEE)

    This program is designed to promote best practice and benchmarking in energy management. The handbook provides a framework for implementation of an energy management system, including both organisational and technical aspects. This resource is aimed at small-to-medium organisations and is relevant across multiple sectors.

  • Making the Business Case for a Carbon Reduction Project 2009 (Opens in a new window)

    Proponents of carbon reduction projects often encounter issues when attempting to have energy and carbon projects approved for implementation. This document asks questions that help the reader determine who makes the decisions in the organisation and how to engage with them. It discusses how to build a business case, including: considering finance and risk, competing for funds, and drafting and presenting business proposals. This resource would be particularly useful for people without experience in making proposals to key decision makers.

    Note: The UK Carbon Trust website requires registration in order to download publications.  Registration is free.