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Development of an ISO 50001 Energy Management System: Barriers, Drivers, and Enablers in a Local Government of Western Australia

Timler, Jaima (2021) Development of an ISO 50001 Energy Management System: Barriers, Drivers, and Enablers in a Local Government of Western Australia. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Background: ISO 50001 is the international standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS), following the same Plan-Do-Check-Act framework as other highly successful ISO standards such as ISO 14001 Environmental Management and ISO 9001 Quality. The opportunity for efficient integration with these standards along with the well understood and academically agreed benefits for emissions reduction and cost savings have facilitated a growth in ISO 50001 implementation. Previous literature has identified that this implementation has predominantly occurred in the energy intensive industry sectors such as manufacturing. An ‘efficiency gap’ or ‘energy paradox’ has been identified to be hindering the implementation of compliant EnMSs, particularly in the service and commercial sectors.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to identify the influencing factors; barriers, motivators, opportunities, and enablers which may influence the implementation of ISO 50001 in the service sector, such as that of a Western Australian (WA) Local Government (LG).

Methods: The researcher was embedded within the City of Melville (CoM) LG in which a literature synthesis, document review and case study observations were collected. The literature synthesis was conducted to provide a theoretical underpinning of the potential influencing factors of ISO 50001 implementation within a LG. The literature included ISO 50001 case studies from several energy intensive disciplines and other sustainable energy initiatives more commonly implemented beyond the industry sector. In parallel the CoM document analysis and case study observations were conducted weekly over the duration of the work experience.

Results: The literature synthesis identified the key theoretical barriers as Resources, System Structure, Information and Behaviour of stakeholders. Several key positive influencing factors were also identified to potentially alleviate the effects or overcome these barriers. The overarching positive influencing factors included the WA institutional values and context, Top Management Support and Additional Grant Funding. When these were considered individually as drivers or enablers the additional positive influencing aspects are Emission Reduction and Public Interest (Drivers) and existing ISO Certifications, Staff Support and External Relationships (Enablers). Based on these results the two key barriers that are specific for a LG were System/Structure and Time Resources. However, the key influencing factor that could override these barriers is the established External Relationships that provide the technical capacity not typically available within LGs. In the CoM context the Addition of Funding was observed to have significant benefits to enabling ISO 50001 implementation.

Conclusions: The results discussed were unique to the LG context with the influencing factors of Time Resources and External Relationships for capacity building as findings unique within the case study. This is a foundational study which is recommended to be built upon to increase the understanding of both the qualitative and quantitative results of an ISO 50001 compliant EnMS in the LG context. With increased awareness in these outcomes, it is concluded that the benefits of the ISO 50001 standard can reach beyond the industrial sector and into the LG context.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Lund, Christopher
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