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Step 17: Operate, maintain, design & procure efficiently

This is the seventeenth of 20 steps in the in the Energy Management Action Programme (Energy MAP).
Learn about Energy MAP and what it can do for your business.

This step has a number of guides associated with it. Guides provide detail and tips to help you complete this step.
Step 17 Guide 1: Purchase of energy efficient products and services
Step 17 Guide 2: Maintenance of significant energy users
Step 17 Guide 3: Building design

What to do and how to do it

Establish ‘green’ purchasing policy

Develop a 'green' purchasing policy that includes a commitment to reducing energy consumption along with other environmental goals. Include energy performance criteria in your design and purchasing specifications.

Specify low energy

Use performance-based specifications, i.e. specifying the desired result, but not how to achieve it. These are more flexible and avoid you having to specify detailed technical requirements. This can apply equally to plant, equipment and buildings.

Use whole life costs

Include whole life costs in evaluating designs and purchases, not just 'first' or capital costs.

Design for low energy

For new buildings and plant, ensure that Low Energy Design Criteria are included at the outline stage, as it is here that significant operational energy savings can be ensured.

Operate efficiently

Ensure that staff are trained to operate equipment efficiently. This aspect is dealt with in more detail in Step 16 Train key personnel in energy efficiency practices.

Establish a planned preventative maintenance regime

Establish a planned preventative maintenance regime and

  • develop a maintenance plan or checklist that identifies what needs to be done, at what intervals, and who is responsible for doing it.
  • develop a maintenance log book for recording inspections made, and actions taken.
  • make sure that staff responsible for plant maintenance have access to manufacturers' manuals, plant layout schemes and other technical information.

Tip: inform and educate purchasing staff in understanding the energy implications of their purchasing decisions.

Tip: a leak the size of a match head in a compressed air system running for 120 hours/week can cost around €450 a year in energy waste. Therefore, maintenance pays!

Possible problems and how to deal with them

Unclear specifications

Unclear or incorrect technical design or purchasing specifications will lead to unsuitable tenders or supply offers. The specification must include measurable criteria against which tenders can be evaluated.

Capital cost

In some cases energy efficient equipment costs more than "standard" versions of the same product. To avoid purchases being made solely on capital cost grounds, calculate the lifetime costs of the equipment, including energy running costs. For example, over a 10 year lifetime of a compressed air system, 75% of its total cost is spent on energy!

Fire fighting

In practice, the majority of maintenance activity involves 'fire fighting' as a result of plant or equipment failure. To ensure more efficient operation of plant, equipment and buildings you should implement a planned preventative maintenance regime.

How long does it take to complete this step?

The development of design and purchasing specifications may be carried out over a period of several weeks, however, their application is part of the continuous improvement process. Similar timescales may apply to the development of planned preventative maintenance regimes, and once again their implementation is an ongoing process.

How do I know when I have completed this step?

You have completed this Step when:

  • Staff are trained to operate equipment efficiently;
  • A planned preventative maintenance regime is developed and in force;
  • A 'Green' purchasing policy is in force;
  • Energy performance criteria are included in design and purchasing specifications.

What do I do next?

Congratulations! You have completed Pillar 4 - Take Action. 

The efficient design, purchase, operation and maintenance of significant energy users will reinforce the process of continuous improvement in the management of energy. The monitoring of operational performance in these areas can be fed into Step 20 Cpnduct a Management Review of Energy MAP in Pillar 5.

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