Systematic monitoring of material efficiency and productivity
Good monitoring and management are vital to reigning in energy costs and carbon emissions. Measuring and tracking resource use (energy, water and raw materials) is a key skill that all organisations should master, regardless of size or sector. It can help to identify patterns of wasteful behaviour and opportunities to improve environmental performance and save money.
Monitoring material efficiency, energy performance, and productivity can be ad-hoc or more systematic, depending on the organisation and its sustainability goals. Systematic monitoring and publication of the results achieved can also be used to motivate employees to save materials and energy.
Data can be recorded by sensors, programmable controllers or manually gathered, and then stored in a central information system for further analysis aimed at identifying inefficiencies that need to be fixed to improve processes and productivity within the company. Furthermore, the monitoring system can be used to control the results and review measures.
Guidelines by Resource Efficient Scotland, entitled 'Measuring to manage your resources', sum up the key steps involved:
Step 1: Understand what is driving resource use
Step 2: Identify data requirements
Step 3: Collect data
Step 4: Analyse and evaluate the data
Step 5: Identify improvements and take action