Energy audits : remember the option of ISO 50001 certification

Only six months left to carry out your energy audit! AFNOR Certification offers a range of solutions to organizations required to carry out an energy audit before 5 December. ISO 50001 certification represents an alternative to this requirement as well as a long-term way of saving money.

The legal obligation to carry out an energy audit follows implementation of European Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and concerns all companies with:

  • More than 250 employees.
  • Turnover in excess of €50 million.
  • Annual balance sheet total in excess of €43 million.

These provisions are stipulated in French Regulation 2013-1121 of 4 December 2013 relating to energy audit thresholds. The EN 16247 series of standards specifies the requirements for implementing an energy audit, which involves a methodological examination and analysis into the energy use and consumption of a site, building or organization. The audit findings should help identify opportunities for improving energy efficiency.

There is only one exception : companies that have achieved ISO 50001 certification are exempt from the audit.

Companies have the choice,” explains Pascal Thomas, ISO 50001 auditor for AFNOR Certification. “The audit provides an overview, along with a complete report of the company’s energy use and opportunities for improvement. Certification goes even further. It establishes a global management system that involves the entire organization and gives the approach greater structure. Certification transforms a legal requirement into a long-term voluntary strategy based on the principle of continual improvement. It enables the company to achieve superior performance over time.

The results of this approach are full of promise. Maintenance, purchasing… all the organization’s departments are concerned by this new management practice. On average, the energy bill falls by 10% and even 25% in some cases, according to an AFNOR Certification survey carried out in 2014 among 54 ISO 50001-certified organizations. Over 25% of those companies obtained the certificate in less than six months, and 63% in less than a year. Certification ensures a fast return on investment, with less than four years for 94% of companies. In one out of five cases, the organization offset the initial outlay within a year.

ISO 50001-certified Roland Garros Airport in Réunion had such an experience.

The first energy performance audit carried out early 2013 revealed that the airport could cut its energy use by 30%. “We came up with a list of approximately 100 actions, especially focusing on the air-conditioning and lighting systems,” explains Marc Delanoë, the site’s Environmental & Energy Manager. “The first idea was to match both systems with the airport’s actual activity. Therefore, the air-conditioning system powers on 30 minutes before the first flight of the day, powers off 30 minutes after the last flight and switches to economy mode during off-peak hours. In 2014, these common-sense actions reduced energy consumption by 7% in the passenger terminal and 4.5% throughout the airport. “

Molsheim-based pharmaceutical OEM Merck-Millipore experienced the same findings.

The Merck Group has set itself the target of curbing its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020,” stresses Arnaud Gerardin, Facilities Manager. “Molsheim reached that objective late 2013. Obtaining ISO 50001 Level 1 certification has enabled the site to qualify for bonuses (x 1.5) for energy-saving certificates for its energy-saving projects. “

Carrefour France’s Executive Director is delighted with the collective aspect of the strategy: “I would like to commend all employees for their involvement and encourage them to keep up the hard work in the fight against energy waste.”

Energy audit or certification : organizations had better make up their mind quickly.

Organizations can count on AFNOR Certification to assess their conformity with the requirements of ISO 50001. Qualification certificates can also be issued and are essential for external providers wishing to provide energy auditing services. Companies must start taking action now in order to meet the deadlines stipulated by law.

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