Step 1: Set the foundations
An energy management policy makes a powerful public commitment
Write a policy statement that sets out your business's commitment to reducing energy and carbon emissions through better energy management. This puts a line in the sand for any organisation, big or small.
State why energy management is important to your business and outline your energy management goals. Once approved by leadership, make your goals public by including them on your website or in company documents such as annual reports.
What to include in your policy
A simple statement about your organisation’s commitment to energy management and ongoing energy performance improvement.
For example: "We are committed to responsible energy management as a way to reduce our carbon footprint and energy use. We will practise energy efficiency throughout all our premises, plant and equipment, wherever it's cost effective."
Explain the key reasons for a focus on energy management.
For example: "Our policy is to control energy consumption to avoid wasted expense, to improve cost-effectiveness, productivity and working conditions, reduce our carbon emissions and protect the environment."
Describe the high level goals for energy management and carbon reduction, and what resources will be committed.
For example, our objectives are:
- Use renewable energy wherever possible, including in our transport fuel.
- Minimise the waste of energy and other resources we use in production.
- Make sustainability a top consideration in decision-making, along with profitability and viability.
- Develop an ongoing energy management programme to reduce carbon emissions while becoming more cost effective.
Next step: an energy management strategy
An energy management strategy shows how you'll put your policy into action.
Your energy management strategy establishes key roles and responsibilities, levels of resourcing (people and funding), and specific deliverables such as action plans, reporting and communication.
You can keep it simple for a small organisation, or get more detailed if energy is a significant part of your business’s operational costs.
Review your strategy regularly to make sure it takes into account changing goals, priorities and businesses.
What to include in your strategy
The strategy is a high-level view of how and when you'll bring your policy to life, and who will be responsible. Include short and long-term goals that are right for your type and size of business.
Examples of short-term goals to be achieved within a month
- Analyse energy bills and make sure we’re buying energy/fuels cost-effectively.
- Contact 3 energy auditors for a quote.
- Share our energy management plan with staff and stakeholders.
Examples of long-term goals to be achieved within a year
- Control our energy use by reviewing and improving our purchasing, operating, motivation and training practices.
- Appoint an energy manager and build a support team.
- Write a business case to replace our coal boiler with a biomass boiler.
Appoint the right people to lead the way
It's vital to have an internal champion, an energy manager, who is responsible for energy efficiency and emissions reduction, and will be accountable for its successful delivery.
The energy manager role doesn't need to be a full-time or even a formal position — it could be incorporated into an existing role. But it's important to ensure that responsibility is specifically delegated and included in the person's job description.
Then get the staff involved. A larger business may need a motivated energy management team. In a smaller business, everyone can get involved.
The role of energy manager in larger businesses
In businesses where energy is a significant part of operational costs, the expertise of a technically-qualified energy manager starts to make economic sense. They take the lead on formulating and implementing your energy management plan and may contribute to other sustainability goals. Energy management is a significant part of their role, taking up at least 40% of their time.
An energy manager is likely to have an engineering, technical, relationship management, financial or administration background.
As well as a firm grasp of financial principles, they'll need to have patience and the ability to work independently. They must also be a persuasive communicator and motivator.
The role of an energy manager will change as an organisation's energy management activities develop. Initially the focus will be on gaining an understanding of your energy consumption, then move to investing in energy-saving measures before, finally, looking to maintain control over consumption.
Key tasks for an energy manager
Make sure you're buying energy as cost effectively as possible and using it as efficiently as possible. Raise awareness of energy waste with staff – signal what’s expected via your business leaders. Train staff where necessary to make sure you have the right skills available for your project.
Measure your performance
Compare current and past energy use and costs. Focus on what will make the most impact first. Continually monitor actions and achievements.
Report simply, clearly and relevantly
Match energy reports with the format and timing of other management reports. Keep reports simple. Include relevant energy metrics and suitable benchmarks for each audience.
Give and get kudos
Make sure all the staff who've contributed to energy savings get the credit. Publicise your successes internally and externally to motivate staff and secure further funding.