The new international standard, which will establish an international framework for industrial plants or entire companies to manage all aspects of energy is, “basically a systematic energy management approach”, according to Paul Monaghan, the co-founder and CEO of Enerit.
“What it does is it links three things together. It takes the traditional technical things that always would have happened in energy management but it brings two other aspects. One is organisational change and improvement and setting up the organisation for energy management.
“The other thing is the influence on human behaviour and people’s individual commitment to energy. So basically, this new standard brings in the hard, technical, side but it also brings in organisational and people issues as the two other parts. So what we’re doing with our software is linking all of that together right across the organisation.”
In a large industrial complex, the level of planning and management required to maintain a standard of energy management can be huge, running to, “maybe hundreds of little actions”.
“The heart of what we do,” continues Paul, is providing software for, “the planning and action side of systematic energy management.”
“One of the first things that you need to do when you take a systematic energy approach is, with the limited resources that every organisation has, prioritise the important things to be working at. One of the important first steps is you’ve got to make an energy map of your whole industrial site, for example.
“So what you’re trying to figure out is, “where are all the big energy users on my site?”, what we mean by that is what are the big energy-using processes or energy using equipment? You go about that in a systematic way. You basically start from there and you make estimates of how much energy that equipment uses and you map that out for your whole site.
“The next thing that you do is you take the most significant energy users and then you go through a process of trying to identify different ideas or suggestions to figure out what are the possible opportunities to save energy, and then you move from that to make strategic decisions about these opportunities based on return of investment, the time to do it and the risks involved in making those changes, and then you convert that into an energy action plan. You then manage those activities right through to conclusion.”
Paul believes that this planning and action side of energy management is, “the really interesting side which really pushes down energy consumption.”
Enerit’s target market is large multinationals whose industrial sites can have huge energy costs. With some of these sites having annual energy costs of up to €2 million, the benefits of implementing the ISO50001 standard are clear.
The software is currently under trial at ten such multinationals throughout the UK and Ireland, with a full launch planned for the end of this month.
Enerit operates a software as a service model, with no up-front setup expense, but rather a fixed monthly fee.
Paul acknowledges that clean-tech is a good space to be in at the moment as the potential for a global energy crisis, paired with a desire to cut costs, has left energy management high on many companies’ list of priorities. He himself is no newcomer to this field, though; as early as 1975, Paul was conducting research into computer simulation of solar energy systems.
“From the mid-nineties onwards energy has just started to get a little bit more fashionable again, and now I think people can perceive that we have probably reached peak oil and that the reserves are going to decline, in oil, at least. So there’s a couple of reasons why energy’s a good space to be in right now.”
Although no other firm provides the same service, Paul is aware that others may follow Enerit’s lead, but with the ISO50001 only a couple of weeks old, and a full launch only a couple of weeks away, Enerit is well-positioned to benefit from the current interest in energy management.
“You can never say there will never be any competition, because if an area is hot, people will enter it, but so far there is no-one with a comprehensive solution for ISO50001. So far, so good.”