Why Your Building Need Energy Managers?

[28/01/2016]

Why Your Building Need Energy Managers?

Now Hiring: Energy Managers

BSEEP is working on an Energy Management Guideline for building owners and operators but the question is, are they ready to commit to it?

Malaysia has a target of reducing 40% of CO2 emission by 2020. This has been pledged by our Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak at the Conference of Parties (COP15) in 2009. One of the strategies for us to achieve the target is by having an efficient energy management system for our buildings as the building industry has a much higher potential to reduce CO2 emission compared to the transportation and industrial scene.

A proper energy management system existed in Japan even before World War 2 with the implementation of Heat Management Regulations in 1947. As for Malaysia, which is still under intermediate level in energy management, we have set regulations, namely, Efficient Management of Electrical Energy Regulations 2008 (EMEER 2008) with a minimum requirement for affected facilities to engage registered electrical energy managers and submit scheduled reports on their energy management activities which has been enforced by the Energy Commission since 2008. At present there are approximately 2000 large electrical energy users affected by the regulations and they used more than 3 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy for 6 consecutive months since its inception on 15 December 2008 and have set ISO 50001 for our energy management benchmark.

As a measure to ensure more effective development and implementation of energy management programs for organizations in the building sector, BSEEP will develop an Energy Management Guidelines (EMG) for building owners and operators to improve the building’senergy operations in managing their energy resources andat the same time reduce carbon emission. EMGwill be developed with the integration of key elements of energy management system (EMS) requirements with ISO50001:2011 standard system adopted worldwide and in Malaysia.

Commitment of the Decision and Policy Makers

Top to bottom! That is the typical approach which often works when it comes to effective management system development and implementation. The commitment from the top management group who decides on policy and has authority to determine direction, finance and resources have been identified as the key factor for a successful energy management program in many international and local organizations.

We could have the best EMG in the world but it can be wasted due to lack of acceptance and commitment from the building owners’ or operators’ top management. They must be prepared to formulate and establish policies and objectives of their own energy management system to provide an understanding of the organization’s energy management goals to the occupants or employees.

Once a firm direction is in place, an Energy Management Committee (EMC) must be formed to ensure all the energy management practices are executed as planned.

Appointment and roles Energy Managers

For the energy management system to be successful, EMC for the building must have a designated energy manager or a responsible person to oversee the overall implementation of energy management system. Buildings that are affected by EMEER 2008 will have to engage a Registered Electrical Energy Manager (REEM). As for smaller energy users, the decision makers will have to consider the need to appoint either consultants, contractors or their employee to be their energy manager to assist them in managing their energy resources and achieving their energy management goals. Decision makers will determine the number of buildings or sections under the care of each energy manager, based on its organizational structure and the building’s energy operations. They will need to evaluate the building’s existing criteria prior to the appointment of the energy manager.

Steve Jobs once quoted – "hiring the best is your most important task”. Take note, decision makers, because selecting the right energy manager is essential and could be a major challenge for you. Not only you have to be prepared to train the suitable candidate or appoint an individual who is experienced in energy management but also selecting someone suitable for the role, especially, if it is one of your employees. Energy manager’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to;

Ø Plan, regulate and monitor electricity and energy consumption in the building.

Ø Propose strategies and planning to improve energy efficiency.

Ø Evaluate the best policy to be implemented and necessary changes to adapt.

Ø Encourage the usage of sustainable energy resources within buildings.

Ø Derive solutions for carbon management.

Ø Raise the profile of energy conservation.

Ø Manage subsequent project implementation.

Ø Implement energy conversation practice to reduce the cost of energy and prevent pollution.

Ø Schedule equipment service and modification for a better efficiency.

Ø Identify, design and implement no-cost/low-cost.

Ø Provide training and talks for occupants or employees awareness.

Ø Work on site to ensure the energy efficient objectives are met.

Once the appointed energy managers understand their role and responsibilities, a flexible system of accountability is necessary to ensure compliance. Decision makers will need to create a register for use as identifiers for their energy managers that are regularly updated. The registers are important to;

Ø The building occupants or employees to address related issues.

Ø Achieve the accountability while maintaining the privacy of the building’s employee or facility maintenance contractor.

Ø Determine the number of buildings for which an energy manager has been assigned and confirming that the building has an energy manager.

Ø To be used as the user identification for logging in to the web-based energy management system and entering data pertaining to the buildings.

This is essential as to whether their energy management system perform effectively. One of the elements in EMG will highlight a Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with incentives to ensure the effectiveness of energy manager’s role and to gain full cooperation of the occupants or employees. As an example,initiative like a detailed report of the building’senergy evaluation must be done annually and an annual electrical saving must be set as part of the KPIs based on a certain year baseline and expected to be improved for the following years. Incentives are totally up to the building’s owner; whichever that could motivate the energy managers to perform and occupants or employees to participate in reaching the goals.

At present there are over 500 qualified REEMs registered with Energy Commission and about 900 facilities out of about 2000 facilities affected by EMEER 2008 have appointed REEMs to comply with the legal requirements. This has indicated that these companies are not only looking at the legal compliance in the engagement of energy managers but beyond that.

The role of energy managers is being recognized as one of the key success factors for sustainable energy management practices in organizations. With the growing interests toward cost-effective business approaches in utilizing energy resources beyond electrical energy, it would be realistic to expect more demand for competent energy managers in thefuture in the building sector.

With a more defined policy in Malaysia formanaging energy resources, more energy managers are expected to be in demand in different segments of management activities and levels for most organizations either in government or private sectors.

The challenges for energy managers today is to gain experience and be skilled in their field despite the lack of support for the growth and acceptance of services offered in the energy efficiency industry due to the current environment and economic climate.

Finally, it is expected that the requirements to be an energy manager is to be specific with different types of competency needed to meet the needs for different market segments in the future. With the upcoming ASEAN economic community market to be in place, more opportunities are also expected to be available for explore in this region for knowledge-based services such as what could be offered by energy managers beyond the building sector itself.