EnMS and EMIS: What’s the Difference?

Often we ask people, “Do you have an energy management system?” What we mean by this is a full EnMS, like an ISO 50001 EnMS. Often, the other person says they do, but what they really mean is that they have a monitoring or energy data analysis system or a building energy management system (BMS/BEMS) for equipment control.

“Energy management” is a term that is being used quite broadly at the moment. Clearly, it can mean very different things to different people.  In this article we explain what the difference is between the two terms, Energy Management System (EnMS) and Energy Management Information System (EMIS).

We aim to explain how an EMIS is part of a complete EnMS. The key is how one integrates them!

An EnMS is a framework by which an organization establishes processes to achieve control and improvement of energy performance – a systematic approach to energy management.

Think of an EnMS as the umbrella under which those processes relate and interact. An EnMS is often viewed as having two aspects: “Management” and “Technical”. The relationship diagram below supports this concept.

The left hand side of the diagram illustrates the “Management” type processes involved in an EnMS, such as, gaining management commitment (e.g. top management providing necessary resources for the EnMS to be successful), the establishment of good systems for audits, corrective actions and management review. It also guides an organization towards nurturing and promoting an energy efficient culture by training, communicating and promoting good energy saving practices effectively with all staff from top management downwards.

On the right, the “Technical” processes involved are illustrated, such as, energy planning (e.g. establishing an action plan based on relevant objectives and targets, realized during an energy review, establishing an energy baseline, Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs)), Monitoring, Measurement and Verifying action plan results. Within this analysis, an EMIS deals directly with monitoring and measurement.

The EMIS is a critical part of the EnMS. The EMIS collects data that supports very many aspects of the EnMS (the energy review, the calculation of an energy baseline, EnPIs, and to verify the action plan results). However, the EMIS delivers no value unless the right data is collected and it is analyzed and used in the right way.

For example, we have often heard the following statements:

  • “I never have time to look at the data”
  • “We are swamped with data”
  • “We have 100 meters for electrical consumption but only one meter for steam”
  • “I can’t remember how to generate new energy reports”
  • “I do a lot of work producing great energy reports but no-one does anything with them”

These statements are clear signs of a non-systematic approach to energy management.

This is where the EnMS supports the EMIS investment. For example, the EnMS:

  • ensures that the team has objectives set and time allocated for energy reporting;
  • defines the key data to be analysed and what the important EnPIs (Energy Performance Indicators) are;
  • based on SEUs (Significant Energy Uses), defines the key locations where metering investment is really needed;
  • ensures training is well managed;
  • ensures continuous action is driven by key performance data, based on clear policy and energy management plans

The bottom line: EMIS is an important part of the EnMS; EMIS data (properly used) supports good EnMS decision-making; the EnMS guides EMIS design and ensures good return on the EMIS investment.

Mark McCaffrey is an energy engineer with an M.Eng.Sc. in Environmental Life Cycle Assessment. At Enerit his responsibilities include the delivery and implementation of Enerit ISO 50001 energy management software to end customers and partners. He works closely with the internal development team providing feedback on software improvements and direction of Enerit products. He also participates in EU research and development projects focusing on implementing ISO 50001 in different sectors. Paul Monaghan is a 30-year veteran of energy management throughout North America and Western Europe. As Enerit CEO, he is responsible for setting the strategic direction of Enerit energy software products. Enerit is focused on developing innovative IT and Software services for energy management. Enerit is the first company in the world to provide comprehensive software for large energy users to implement the international standard in Energy Management ISO 50001. It is the only systematic energy management solution that helps its users convert energy information into dynamic integrated organization-wide action plans to get teams working together to drive down energy costs.

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4 thoughts on “EnMS and EMIS: What’s the Difference?

  1. Nice article! I’ve heard about ISO 50001 and energy management systems but never seen anything so clear and concise as this. Many who have promoted EMIS (including myself) have said that having goals, resources, and management reporting requirements are crucial to their success – the way you describe EnMS gives those pieces an overall structure.

  2. I enjoyed reading the article and I’m using it as a reference. However, in the diagram on the far right is the Energy Performance and EnPIs review (4.7.1) When you review this section in the ISO, it doesn’t correspond to your title. It appears that it should be (4.7.2)

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