Esh Group is one of the UK’s leading construction companies operating in the North of England, Central and Southern Scotland. With a group turnover approaching £300 million it is widely regarded as a progressive organisation that places great emphasis on working with local communities. Describing themselves as a one-stop shop for construction services, they can call on more than 45 years of experience to support their current projects in the public and private sectors.
With an acute sense of the importance of energy management, Esh Group sought certification to ISO 50001:2011 across the whole of their operations with SGS United Kingdom Ltd.
Challenge & Actions
Esh Group appreciated that complying with ISO 50001 would demonstrate their ability to comply with energy management standards, improve their energy performance and cut costs and provide tangible evidence of compliance with current regulations, e.g. the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). With ISO 50001 providing a framework for continually improving energy performance, Esh can clearly demonstrate their commitment to their stakeholders. Simon Park, Energy & Environmental Advisor at Esh Group sees ISO 50001 as a real yardstick for the energy management schemes the group has.
“We first achieved our ISO 50001 certification in 2013 and we were one of the first construction companies to get it. We are a progressive company and realised that we would have to demonstrate to our clients that we were responsible and understood the environmental and energy conservation issues that had started to become more important. It also gives us an internal benchmark that we can use to set targets and improve our efficiency.”
WHY ISO 50001?
The main objective of the ISO 50001 standard is to continually improve an organisation’s energy performance, which includes energy consumption, use and efficiency. It is a defined approach that helps organisations to establish systems and processes to identify untapped energy efficiencies and make a significant contribution to environmental and climate protection and reduction of CO2 emissions. For Esh Group it also offers alerts for employees and management to potential savings and opportunities to achieve competitive advantages. Simon Park points out that the most visible area this has produced significant results, is within their transport operations.
“Our vehicles and drivers provide the most significant examples of how we have used ISO 50001 to conserve resources and make our fleet operate efficiently. We decided to invest in the latest fuel-efficient Euro 6 engines. These are the latest engines built under the European Union directive to reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhausts and improve fuel efficiency. We now have engines with improved efficiency that reduce fuel consumption, and this is all part of our drive to manage our energy use across every part of the Esh business. It has been a complete process as we then fitted telematic boxes into the cabs so we can now plan efficient routes, check engine idling times and keep a constant monitor on our performance.”
“This we saw as a perfect example of how ISO 50001 helped Esh Group comply with and demonstrate our commitment to energy management and one of the main reasons we pursued ISO 50001 certification.”
Lesson and Results
Part of SGS’ work for Esh Group since 2013 has been providing them with professional audit services to determine that their energy management system conforms with the requirements of ISO 50001 and was capable of delivering continual improvement in energy performance.
Terry Coyle, SGS UK Lead Auditor and Product Manager for ISO 50001, conducted Esh Group’s certification audits.
“As part of the audit process and through identifying the elements of the energy management system and organisational processes that were compliant and non-compliant with the requirements of ISO 50001, SGS helped Esh Group identify the areas where improvement in energy performance could be achieved. One of the most important aspects of ISO 50001 for stakeholders is that it demonstrates an organisation’s green credentials, their commitment to operating responsibly in environmental terms and that they have a real understanding of the mechanics of energy management. Typically, along with staff wages, energy costs tend to be one of the highest overheads for most organisations and any savings that can be achieved therefore can be significant to the company. Our work with Esh Group concentrated on the achievable, what they identified as important and what we felt they could improve to meet the standard. SGS has been impressed with Esh Group’s commitment to achieving and maintaining conformance with the requirements of ISO 50001 and in using it to improve their energy performance.”
Simon Park sees the recognition of stakeholders and more importantly their customers as being the real bonus in achieving ISO 50001 certification.
“It was never a case of wondering who we should work with to achieve the standard. Our ongoing involvement with SGS has been beneficial because of their experience and knowledge. Achieving the standard is about process and you need auditors who have both an understanding of the standard and also importantly of energy management to be able to help us identify areas for improved energy performance. We received that from SGS, and it was their efforts combined with our internal push that has put us where we are now with regards to energy management.”
The ability to control, monitor and improve energy performance is one of the main reasons Esh Group worked with SGS to achieve ISO 50001 certification. But Simon Parks outlined other benefits of the association.
“ISO 50001 has given us a greater visibility as a group and internally. We can certainly hold our head high when it comes to answering questions from our customers about energy issues. It has given us weight and credibility and the standard helps Esh Group demonstrate to its stakeholders that it is a sustainable company.”
In addition to improved energy performance, ISO 50001 implements processes to help organisations identify and comply with relevant energy legislation. A real tangible benefit to the Esh Group has been the realisation that achieving ISO 50001 certification would meet their compliance requirements with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), which is the UK’s response to the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and requires large companies in the UK to introduce independent and cost-effective energy audits. Already being certified to ISO 50001 meant that Esh Group did not require an ESOS assessment and negated the costs associated with that.
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