An increasing trend in energy management is the adoption of cloud-based energy management software. Such a cloud-based system can offer increased flexibility, greater capacity and high scalability, while reducing IT expenses.
The challenge is no longer the availability of data. Metering devices and sensor technology have provided us with a deluge of data. It is now a matter of converting these data into key performance indicators  as well as turning it into actionable knowledge.
Top-level commitment is not only a necessary condition for energy management (ISO 50001). It equally applies to other issues in the ISO management suite, such as the famous ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 26000 (social responsibility), ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) and ISO 55001 (asset management).
While the initial investment to become an ISO organisation can be significant, there is a substantial learning effect to adopt subsequent standards beyond quality.
You could think that the device with the highest energy efficiency is the most difficult to improve. However, this is not always true. Even if the energy efficiency of a device is already high, it can be worth considering further improvements. And because power transformers are nearly continuously loaded, the smallest efficiency gain adds up to a substantial saving at the end of the year.
Lessons to be learned include careful design to develop super-efficient transformers, loading considerations, power quality issues (particularly harmonics), asset management, lifecycle costing in regulated networks, and recycling practices, to name a few.
One interesting initiative is the Industrial Efficiency Technology Database (IETD) which currently covers information on the cement, iron & steel, and pulp & paper sectors as well as on electric motor driven systems.
With the information provided in the IETD, decision-makers can accelerate the implementation of energy saving and efficient technologies and measures. The database also aims to provide support to practitioners and non-technical experts in energy efficiency policy making and implementation, finance, and research & education.
This is not surprising, because the benefits of ISO 50001 certification extend way beyond energy savings.
For example, it can enhance a company’s reputation by increasing awareness of its environmental and efficiency credentials among customers, staff and stakeholders, and can differentiate a company’s brand in a crowded marketplace. It can help an organisation reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, and enhance its efforts to make a positive contribution to the environment. Moreover, ISO 50001 certification can identify ‘hotspots’ and further, long-term opportunities for energy efficiency.