Monitor resource consumption
Tracking resource consumption is an important stage in the environmental management approach, because it gives establishment managers an overall vision of their establishment, enabling them to identify the main areas of environmental impact.
This process involves putting tools into place and raising staff awareness.
Data to be tracked are:
- energy use (electricity, gas, heating oil, fuelwood, etc.),
- water use,
- waste production,
- purchases of supplies (cleaning products, foodstuffs, textiles, hospitality items), etc.
Whatever the area, monitoring tools must provide the following:
- quantitative data
- measurement unit (kWh, litre, kg, other units)
- temporal period: tracking will cover a given period – year, quarter, month, day, etc. – so as to compare consumption between periods
- source: invoices (estimated or actual), meter readings, stock inventory, etc.
In most cases these tools will be tables or sets of related tables:
- simple table of meter readings, that can usually be printed out, and also compiled in computer records (for example, weekly readings of energy meters. 1 sheet for 1 quarter
- overall record, reporting data from various sources (readings, invoices, etc.)
(ex. all weekly meter readings for the year)
- comparisons by period based on the table and/or graphs. Whatever the periodicity of readings, yearly, monthly, etc. data can be compared.
The employees who use these tools must be properly managed:
- all staff should be informed of data monitoring, whether they are directly involved or not
- the employees assigned to these tasks must be given training, with an emphasis on the need for accuracy and regularity in recording data
- tools and training must include clearly written procedures and instructions.
By monitoring energy use it will be possible to observe consumption trends for specific energies, as well as total energy consumption for the establishment.
Ideally consumption will be monitored over several years to obtain a significant data set and historical perspective. Another essential stage is to compare consumption data with customer occupancy records for the same period, which can explain increases or drops in consumption. The ratio of "energy consumption in kWh (for example) per overnight stay" can be compared for different periods.
Consumption trends can also be related to one-time and exceptional events, such as annual swimming pool draining, major plumbing leak, boiler replacement.
Submeters (within the establishment, after the main meter) can be installed to gather data separately and establish specific diagnoses for certain uses. Submetering can be more or less extensive, depending on the size of the establishment; generally metering is designed to distinguish consumption by type of use – kitchen, rooms, laundry, green areas, etc.
Putting tools and procedures into place:
- Adapt the tables given in the relevant criteria to the configuration of your establishment
- Write up a data monitoring procedure
- Hold meetings to explain the procedure to employees involved in data monitoring
Use of tools:
- Read general meters and submeters (water, electricity, etc.) on a regular schedule
- Integrate data drawn from invoice (actual consumption rather than estimated)
- Analyse consumption trends at least once a year.
Zero cost for tools.
Salary costs for time devoted to creating and exploiting tools can be entered in accounts.
- procure an overall view of your consumption
- compile a set of indicators that will enable you to follow your environmental objectives
- detect excess consumption
- identify solutions to improve your environmental performance
- control expenditure and optimise your budget
- waste monitoring: many local authorities do not track waste quantities, so enterprises must weigh their own waste, or at the least count waste bins
- staff must be committed to tasks: energy and water meter reading, waste quantification