How did you become interested in energy management?

I guess my first real involvement with energy management has been through the implementation of environmental management systems across a number of businesses I have worked within. Part of the process is to evaluate the way the activities of a business impact the environment. Identify those impacts that are significant, then work to mitigate or reduce them. In my experience, most businesses will rank energy consumption as a significant impact. This has been the case for businesses I have worked in, both within manufacturing and facilities management.

What better way is there to demonstrate effective energy management than to adopt the processes and systems of the ISO 50001 Energy Management System and certify to the standard?

It has really been this process that has been the main driver for my interest in energy management.

What does an energy management role specifically entail?

Energy management and ISO 50001 is just part of my role, which involves the implementation and administration of a variety of management system standards, including ISO 9001 Quality, ISO 14001 Environment, PEFC timber sustainability and working with our SHEQ team for the effective management of our OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety Management System.

Achieving certification through an accreditation body is one thing, but ensuring the relevant processes become established, adding benefit and value to the day-to-day operations is by far the greatest challenge.

What does a typical day look like?

I don’t really have a typical day; management systems require the delivery and preparation of very specific things, thankfully generally at different times. I have to make sure our management system processes run smoothly and comply with the requirements of each standard, ensuring we maintain successful ongoing certification. This can include keeping abreast of legislation, conducting audits and accompanying external auditors, producing reports, data and information gathering relating to our performance, overseeing energy software capabilities and energy reporting structure, and embracing the concept of continual improvement.

I also have a number of projects on the go. Last year it was ESOS compliance for Robertson Group and this year it’s the feasibility of rolling out ISO 50001 across the other business sectors of the Group. 

What is the most exciting part of your job?

When you have been working hard to implement a particular process or system and you have that eureka or breakthrough moment, when the process suddenly falls into place and you can confidently move onto the next area. It is a great feeling, and of course when you have implemented a system and it is independently verified by an external accrediting body.

What are the challenges?

Going back to a process or system previously implemented, to find that slippage has occurred and you have to start again, rethinking the approach. Frustrating yes, but it is all part of the continual improvement process with the resulting system becoming more robust and more embedded into culture than previously. 

What drives you?

I like to keep busy, especially with new challenges. The diversity of my role and the travelling means I get to meet plenty of new people and get to experience and learn about a variety of processes throughout a wide range of industries.

What qualities should a good energy manager have?

The ability to keep it real: energy baffles many people, and if you want to captivate them, put everything in terms that can be easily understood. Over-complication switches the very people off that we need to have on board.

Open-mindedness, a willingness to learn and never taking things at face value. Question everything; if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and the energy management sector is no different in this respect.

What is your greatest contribution to the energy management sector? 

Convincing the business to resource the implementation of the ISO 50001 energy management standard and associated processes, and taking this through to certification for a portfolio that covers over 100 buildings across Scotland and the North of England. This process has really put energy management and energy performance improvement firmly into the spotlight.

What advice would you give to someone looking to craft an energy management strategy?

Look toward the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard. It’s a ready-crafted, proven system that covers all the key areas that should be considered. 

 

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