Energy management: companies can reduce their energy costs

24. July 2022

Many business leaders see rising energy prices as a major threat to their organizations. Current developments are visibly exacerbating this risk. A systematic energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001 as well as energy audits according to DIN EN 16247 can effectively help to significantly reduce energy costs. With the help of an energy management system, potential energy savings are identified and leveraged.

The numbers have been frightening for some time. According to a study by e.optimum, which claims to be Germany’s largest independent energy purchasing association for companies, 20 percent of all company managers surveyed already named energy costs as the greatest burden on the future of medium-sized companies in 2016 and 2017.

The new situation with war in Ukraine and high inflation does not make the situation easier. “The Russia-Ukraine war has once again increased the burden on companies from high energy and raw material prices. But even in the latest DIHK business survey shortly before the start of the war, two-thirds of companies from all sectors and regions cited energy and raw material prices as a major business risk. In industry, as many as 85 percent reported this. These figures are thus higher than ever before. And now the situation is getting even worse,” says the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

Companies in Germany are particularly heavily burdened

It goes on to say: “The sharp rise in prices is having a massive impact on the German economy. Medium-sized companies already had to pay the highest prices in Europe in pre-crisis times – around twice as much as comparable companies in France – partly due to additional state burdens. It is true that the EEG levy was abolished on July 1, 2022 – half a year earlier than planned. However, it only compensates for a fraction of the higher procurement costs, emphasizes the DIHK.

Well before the outbreak of war, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce had already found out in a survey that the rise in electricity and gas prices was causing major problems for large sections of the German economy. At the time, three-quarters of the companies cited electricity and gas prices as a burden on their ongoing business. Almost half of the 600 or so companies from all sectors that took part in the survey even feared a loss of competitiveness in Germany as a business location due to the high electricity and gas prices. “The picture painted by companies is very worrying,” DIHK President Peter Adrian commented on the survey results at the time. “High electricity and gas prices are already depriving a third of companies of the financial scope for necessary investments in the future. This affects key areas such as climate protection, research and innovation, but also investments in the companies’ respective core businesses.”

Continuously improve energy efficiency in companies and organizations

But what can companies do to “get a grip” on this situation and sustainably optimize their energy costs? Simply using less energy is usually not an easy thing to do. Production facilities, offices, etc. cannot be used without energy. Therefore, companies can rarely provide their own financial relief by simply saving energy.

One solution is a systematic energy management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001. The ISO 50001 standard is a recognized, comprehensive set of standards that has been used in a wide range of company sizes and industries since 2011. This offers opportunities to continuously improve energy efficiency in companies and organizations and to reduce energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Consistent energy monitoring also contributes to considerable cost reductions.

Energy management influences organizational and technical processes

A large number of companies and other organizations now use an energy management system, according to the Federal Environment Agency. According to the authority, this means: “With the help of an energy management system, energy saving potentials are identified and raised. This requires, among other things, identifying and evaluating energy sources, energy flows, and areas with significant energy use. The energy management system thus helps in decisions for investments in energy efficiency.”

According to the Federal Environment Agency, energy management thus helps in the decision to invest in energy efficiency. In order to also achieve long-term improvements in energy efficiency, companies defined an organization-wide energy policy, set energy targets, create action plans and measure target achievement using key performance indicators. In addition, energy management influences the organizational and technical processes in the company as well as the behavior of the employees. “For example, responsibilities for energy-related processes are regulated, communication procedures are defined, and the necessary competencies of personnel are identified and ensured,” according to the Federal Environment Agency.

Up to ten percent savings possible through energy management system

The advantage: The international standard DIN EN ISO 50001 “Energy Management Systems” is not sector-specific and can be applied by small and medium-sized enterprises up to large corporations or public authorities. It is therefore the task of the respective company implementing the standard in their company to tailor and implement the requirements formulated in ISO 50001 appropriately to their own needs. According to Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena), companies can save around ten percent of their energy costs thanks to organizational measures following the introduction of energy management.

We at Höppner Management & Consultant professionally implement the standard DIN EN ISO 50001 “Energy Management Systems” in your company and thus achieve a continuous improvement process as a means of achieving the respective defined objective with regard to the energy-related performance of an organization. Our approach is based on the method “Plan – Implement – Check – Act” (“Plan-Do-Check-Act”, PDCA) and includes the elements of

  • General requirements
  • Management responsibility
  • Energy policy
  • Energy planning
  • Introduction and implementation
  • Review
  • Management evaluation (management review)

Companies therefore need advice on both the implementation and ongoing improvement of their energy management systems. Specialist:s from Höppner Management & Consultant are also available as well-trained and experienced internal auditors for internal system audits of the energy management system to get an external and objective view on the company and the respective energy management system. In this way, new optimization potentials and needs for action can be identified, which companies can use for their personal development.

Image Source: © Photo by Avinash Kumar on Unsplash