25 April 2016

Implementation of ISO 50001 has reduced energy use and changed behaviour change at npower

UK gas and electricity supplier npower has revealed that compliance with ISO 50001 has played a crucial part of the company's energy and carbon reduction efforts, igniting behaviour change among staff as a result.

Jonathan Hulbert, npower’s sustainability manager revealed that the use of the ISO 50001 energy management standard as a framework has proved influential in creating a holistic approach that has seen both board members and employees strive to implement best energy management practices.

"Over the past few years, we’ve moved from an interest in sustainability, to a systematic, business-focused quality standards approach - using ISO 50001 to leverage everything to the very best standards that we can implement,” Hulbert said.

“Whether it’s exceeding targets or driving innovations or how we get the most bang for our buck, ISO 50001 has introduced a holistic approach to everything we do for best management standards. It gave us a framework to plan, focus and implement everything.”

Introduced in 2011, ISO 50001 creates a standard and framework requirement for establishing, implementing and ultimately improving energy management systems. Jonathan Hulbert explained that, by following the framework since its inception, npower has been able to set and exceed carbon intensity reduction targets.

The company had previously set a carbon reduction target of 50% by 2015, against a 2008 baseline. By following through with ISO 50001 requirements - and introducing onsite solutions and data management in the process - the energy company ended last year reducing their carbon intensity by 56% compared to 2008.

In light of these significant reductions - and after careful analysis - npower has now set an ambitious new absolute carbon reduction target of 25% by 2020, against a 2015 baseline. But for Hulbert, the ISO framework goes beyond targets and has actually provided tangible proof of an on-going behavioural change within the staff at npower, which has been driven by data management.

Hulbert noted that combining the ISO framework with an enhanced data management system – the company has recently acquired the utility monitoring company RUMM to compliment this shift – has “formed a major part in getting employees to interact with energy efficiency”.

One of the more prominent ways that npower has sparked this behaviour change is through the Environmental, Action, Sustainability and You (EASY) campaign. The campaign focuses on everyday things that staff can do as part of business-as-usual activities, in order to reduce energy consumption. Hulbert believes that the campaign has allowed the sustainability team to “get on with the technical stuff”, safe in the knowledge that staff are engaged with sustainability policies.

These changes are then scrutinised further through the use of site league tables, which are growing in popularity across businesses and organisations, allowing npower to monitor energy use on a site-by-site basis. But due to the complexity of each site, Hulbert believes that league tables can’t measure personal accountability and engagement, pointing to npower’s focus groups as a better indicator of behaviour change.

Npower was the first UK company in the energy industry to be awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Triple Standard.  With the ISO 50001 framework complimenting npower’s sustainability agenda and an increased emphasis on staff behaviour to implement future goals the company is now beginning to turn to innovation to further drive its energy reduction commitments and hit the 25% carbon reduction goal.

Source: edie

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