Part 4 of 6: Energy Management Process
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I last shared with you some of the details behind the R5 Rapid Improvement Process model that we use to help companies identify, achieve, and sustain improvement gains in energy management. ISO 50001 has gained much traction and attention from those looking to be responsible and gain competitive advantage by lowering their utility costs.
In this part of the series, I want to discuss and highlight some of the main steps within the “Ratify” phase of the process. The Ratify phase is used to establish the picture of the future state and rally the team around the targeted performance improvements. The site Leadership/Sponsorship Team becomes aligned around four things;
- The vision for the future
- A prioritized list of improvement opportunities
- An implementation plan
- The financial business case for change
Once these items become the focal points, it gets easier for partnership agreements to be created between operational and support functions. In this phase, the energy team performs a risk analysis to help mitigate any issues that may arise with the new processes. Also, for success it is imperative that site leadership agree to relieve the focus area of traditional constraints which allows them to follow the new process and practices designed and implemented by the R5 process.
Back in the Rationalize Phase we identified areas of significant energy use and consumption along with opportunities for improving our energy performance. These opportunities provide us with the areas that we intend to focus our efforts. While we have identified key areas of opportunity, it is important to take note that many of the processes and procedures that we develop along the way will be used across the organization to drive success.
Let’s take a look at the high level step in this “Ratify” phase.
- System Selection for Controlled Deployment – Starting a new initiative/program or expanding an initiative often leads to many tasks needing to be completed with insufficient resources. Recognizing the need to prioritize efforts based upon business impact and financial savings will not only increase the potential for success but many times is necessary and required to even begin such a journey. My personal experience tells me that it is vital to implement energy management programs in a way that pays for future rollout and minimizes the strain that can be applied to an organization attempting to tackle every opportunity at the same time.
We have all been there before; anxious and excited to get started and accomplish each of our tasks and goals. Passionate about what we do and trying to accomplish everything at the speed of light. All of these are driven by our desire to achieve excellence and prove we are capable of that which we set out to do. Again, my experience says, “slow down and deploy at a controlled pace for success”.
By prioritizing and selecting areas or systems to focus efforts, you will be able to create specialized teams (through competence, training, and awareness) with the expertise to evaluate, analyze, and identify real energy saving solutions that can be implemented immediately.
Some common and familiar systems to start with or begin analysis include the following:
- Compressed Air Systems
- Compressed Gas Systems Steam and Hot Water Systems
- Cooling Towers
- Air Handling Units and Air Distribution Systems
- Pumping Systems
- Building Electrical Systems
- Lighting Systems
- Process Equipment
I will make note of one last point before closing. If the success of the improvement initiative is dependent on employees adopting new behaviors then we must effectively communicate why the change is necessary to the business and how it will affect each employee. The focus of such communications should be to provide employees with the necessary information to make an affirmative choice to 1) embrace the change, 2) support the change process, and 3) take ownership for the changes after implementation. Ownership in this sense is when employees model those behaviors required to sustain the technical improvements.
As I noted previously, companies must take logical controlled steps to successfully implement such initiatives or programs across their organization. To do so, I believe a prioritized effort based upon ROI is required to fully rollout. I hope this concept has become clear from the discussion of the “Ratify” phase. I have no doubt that it will continue to become obvious when I write next on the “Resolve” phase of the R5 process.
Similar to how I wrapped up the previous parts of this series, I want to point out where these steps align with the ISO 50001 standard.
- Energy Objectives, Energy Targets and Energy Management Action Plans (Section 4.4.6)
- Implementation and Operation (Section 4.5)
- General (Section 4.5.1)
- Competence, Training and Awareness (Section 4.5.2)
- Communication (Section 4.5.3)
- Documentation (Section 4.5.4)
I hope this has been informative and will you continue to follow this blog as next time I plan to discuss the “Resolve” phase of the R5 process. As always, I appreciate the feedback so feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.