Energy(data)management – or why ISO 50001 is not everything

We are constantly confronted with the question: "You sell energy management systems?!" The response is always the same: "Yes and no". Our product portfolio encompasses components, software and solutions for the acquisition and analysis of energy-related data and is therefore also the basis for various possible tasks and objectives, and accordingly also for an energy management system.

ISO 50001

ISO 50001 is the standardised basis for the introduction of an energy management system. The focus here lies on the term management system. This is a methodology, applied in conjunction with other management systems such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001, through which to set objectives, implement these systematically and in doing so eliminate the chance factor insofar as possible. The term "objective" should essentially be understood here in the sense of "the route is the objective".

Using the PDCA system or Plan-Do-Check-Act a CIP (constant improvement process) is pursued, which assesses the step-by-step processes and procedures for their optimisation potential, as well as stipulating measures and responsibilities and the resources and time frames required for these. ISO 50001 is similar in configuration to ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 and can therefore be easily integrated into existing management systems. This considerably eases the work involved in introduction.

The word "check" in the PDCA process also pertains to the subject of measured data acquisition and evaluation, or expressed otherwise: Energy data management. Without measurement it is not possible to obtain a target/actual comparison or a benchmark. Although no clear specifications are described in ISO 50001 in relation to the scope and frequency of energy measurements, in practice it is apparent that a minimum volume of measuring technology is required for constant acquisition – at least for all significant loads – otherwise potential can only be determined to a limited degree and saving objectives cannot be adequately attained on a comprehensive basis. Customers who have achieved their certification with a minimum measurement scope recognise – during the ongoing PDCA process – the benefits of comprehensive monitoring across as many loads as possible.

Our measuring systems are scalable in application and grow with the requirements of the customer. Existing structures can be incorporated, and likewise our measuring devices can be integrated in existing systems.

Questions are regularly asked regarding the gauging and subsequent calibration of measuring devices in conjunction with the introduction of ISO 50001. The standard does not specify one or the other. Measuring devices in the form of calibrated meters are not a requirement, nor is the re-calibration of measuring devices at regular intervals.This would mean an infeasible volume of work, because digital measuring devices cannot usually be calibrated whilst installed.

The company requiring certification must merely ensure the comparability of the measurements within the various time frames, and document the checks in the usual way. For our universal measuring devices – if used as intended (ambient temperature!) – this means the accuracy of measurement is always better even after years of use than that of conventional meters immediately after delivery. In practice, we recommend random comparative or parallel measurement of the power and energy values with a high quality measuring device such as our portable measuring devices MRG 605 or MRG 511, via the current transformer measurement terminal strips available from us.

Who even needs ISO 50001?

(most recent German legal situation 2013)

Information on the subject and application can be obtained from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control:

EEG § 40 ff. – EEG levy reduction

Under certain conditions companies are entitled to submit an application for a reduction in the EEG (German renewable energy act) levy.

  • The company must belong to the manufacturing industry
  • The electricity costs must account for at least 14 % of the gross value added
  • The annual consumption must be at least 1 GWh per site
  • From an annual consumption of 10 GWh, certification per ISO 50001 is required in order to request the reduction

The regulation is intended to secure the international competitiveness of energy- intensive companies. Due to the increase in the proportion of renewable energy generators, the EEG levy is likely to continue rising considerably. This means a significant competitive disadvantage for energy-intensive companies. Despite all the half-truths being touted by the media, in practice it is apparent that the lion's share of all companies who have applied for the EEG reduction and received approval for this are actually amongst the most energy-intensive companies and are in international competition. A significantly greater proportion of companies with a high power consumption of > 1 GWh per year fell at the first hurdle of the approval process, with the 14 % gross value added requirement.

Electricity tax law § 10 – surplus settlement

Under certain conditions, companies in the manufacturing sector are able to benefit from the so-called surplus settlement according to § 10 StromStG. This allows companies to obtain a reimbursement or tax relief against their remaining tax burden, through the application of § 9b StromStG.This "relief in special cases" (surplus settlement) is only granted if the tax burden exceeds € 1,000 in the calendar year (excess/basic amount).The rate of relief is dependent on the difference between the energy tax, which exceeds the basic amount, and the (notional) relief, which is derived on the basis that pension contributions have fallen since the introduction of energy tax (general pension contribution was 20.3 % prior to the introduction of energy tax and now stands at 18.9 %; with an employer contribution of 50 % this means a reduction of 0.7 % for the employer in 2013; the "difference"). A maximum 90 % of this difference is granted as relief, reimbursed or credited. This calculation formula leads to companies with a high power consumption and few employees (subject to statutory pension contributions) profiting in particular from the surplus settlement.

Since 2013 large companies require a certified energy management system per ISO 50001 in order to request the surplus settlement. For small and medium- sized companies (SME) an energy audit per DIN EN 16247-1 is sufficient.

You can receive applications and information from the main customs office responsible:

In practice:

Managing director F. to works manager A.: "How much current do we actually use?" Works manager A.: "Not entirely sure, certainly a lot!" Managing director F.: "Be sure to change that!" Works manager A. to site electrician M.: "We need to reduce our energy costs. Take care of it." One year later. Managing director F. to works manager A.: "The energy bills are as high as ever. How is that possible?" Works manager A.: "I need to ask M. that." Works manager A. to site electrician M.: "We are still paying crazy energy bills. How is that possible? I told you that you needed to sort that out!" Site electrician M.: "Yes boss. But the controller cancelled the cash for new drives, then my colleague was ill for four weeks and you know that day-to-day work is hectic, the telephone rings constantly and everyone wants something!"

... with ISO 50001 that would not have happened!

Who else needs an energy management system (EnMS)?

Essentially, every company that consumes a certain amount of power and has a large number of different loads and processes benefits from the introduction of an energy management system per ISO 50001.The system behind this ensures sustainable targeted measures for the reduction of energy costs. Furthermore, an EnMS per ISO 50001 will also become an increasingly significant marketing instrument for the presentation of a green and environmentally aware company philosophy in the future.

Energy management constitutes a closed loop with the objective of constant improvement.
Energy management constitutes a closed loop with the objective of constant improvement.

One must concede that professionally functioning companies do not necessarily need to establish a certified management system within their organisation, in order to reduce their energy costs on a sustained basis. Furthermore, there are countless companies, for whom the legal prerequisites for an EEG levy reduction or the surplus settlement are irrelevant, whereby ISO 50001 is not a significant subject. However, energy costs remain high. Anyone who establishes the requisite transparency with an energy data management system from Janitza, lays in place the cornerstone for sustainable energy- conscious housekeeping.

You can find a helpful overview of all subjects pertaining to ISO 50001, energy efficiency andsubsidyoptionsfortheGermanmarket on the following internet sites:

Peak load management and grid fees

A further important aspect for cost reduction, which can be pursued with an energy data management system, is the control and reduction of peak loads. Electricity supply companies calculate grid fees on the basis of the maximum load measured within a quarter of an hour. This value then applies under certain circumstances for the entire year. However, it may be that this value was simply arbitrary or coincidental. It is frequently the case that the actual "troublemakers", responsible for the generation of peak loads, are not immediately discernible.

Only those companies who create transparency regarding the load curves of their significant loads will be able to actively counter these. This can take place through the targeted switching off of loads, through the switching on of their own generators or – where this is not possible for process reasons – with time-delayed switch-on processes or the shutting down of unimportant processes.

According to § 19 section 1 StromNEV (Germany) – special forms of grid use, a further and frequently unknown factor is that supply companies are required to offer their customers a reduced monthly supply tariff if the peak load measured once was significantly higher than normal for the respective company due to unusual circumstances.

Load management and optimisation of production processes

It is not only peak loads that increase energy costs. Investigations into large production operations have shown that even during shift-free periods and idle phases, depending on the process, annual power consumptions of multiple gigawatt hours can arise per site! A fine-meshed network of measurement points within the production structures in conjunction with modern PLC controllers and production control systems enable automated optimisation in real-time at high level. Janitza monitoring devices and systems are suitable for this task due to their open communication interfaces, the high sampling rate and accuracy of measurement.

Load management and purchasing electricity

Anyone who knows their load curves and buys electricity on the spot market is naturally able to do so with pinpoint accuracy, with precise knowledge of their volatile demand due to their load profiles.

Grants and public funds

The state provides comprehensive assistance for the implementation of measures and investment in systems and operating equipment for the enhancement of energy efficiency. From low-interest credit to actual investment grants and covering the costs of (sometimes mandatory) certified energy consultants.The list is long and the offers change all the time and vary from country to country.