EMS Performance Monitoring – Energy Usage (ISO 14001:2015 9.1.1)

Many organizations have identified Energy Usage as a significant environmental aspect (impact) of their operations.  They then track their usage try to evaluate their performance.  However, there are many variables that can impact their usage:

  • Production Levels
  • Hours Worked
  • Weather – Hot or Cold
  • Addition / Subtraction / Replacement of Equipment

Tracking usage can help organizations understand and control their usage and be used to establish performance or effectiveness of their usage.

When trying to understand and control usage one effective tool is to chart both this year’s usage and last years usage to identify any irregularities and negative trends that cannot be accounted. This type of tracking serves as a process to control the usage through a monitoring process.  Section 9.1.1 of the ISO 14001:2015 standard requires that the criteria against which the organization will evaluate its environmental performance, and appropriate indicators;”.  In this case, the organization could establish a performance criterion such as current year usage within +/- 5% of prior year usage”. This would be appropriate for an organization not planning to implement any programs to reduce usage, but this does set a performance criterion as required.

Another way to monitor your usage is to track usage against your monthly energy cost budget.  Your accounting department has already set a monthly energy cost based on forecasted production activities and historical usage.  So, your performance criteria could be to “control usage to meet monthly energy budget”.  This can easily be reviewed monthly by management and the determination of performance can be established. I like this approach because it’s something that other are already doing and better integrates the EMS performance into your overall management system. 

We haven’t even discussed the many ways this data can be normalized to better understand impacts of production levels, I will save this for another blog.  I hope this helps when trying to develop the “performance criteria” for your energy metrics.  Please contact EHS Management Strategies with any questions.

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