The essence of Energy Management Systems (EMS) is for companies to make a concerted effort of securing trained staff, and technical and management systems which are required to conduct in-house energy audits, gather energy data; maintain sub metering systems; analyze consumption data, and compare these to trends and relevant benchmarks, correct for influencing factors, identify faults and so on. Much industrial energy efficiency is achieved by changing how energy is managed rather than by installing new technologies. Energy-efficiency components in industrial systems will not achieve the projected energy savings if the system is not properly designed and operated. Energy management systems, by taking into account the entire industrial system, are more effective in optimizing industrial systems and monitoring system efficiency Energy management systems include the technical systems, management programmes and trained staff needed to conduct energy audits, gather energy data, maintain submetering systems, analyse and compare consumption data to trends and benchmarks, correct for influencing factors, identify faults and so on.

Energy management systems can help firms develop an energy use baseline, actively manage energy costs and document savings for internal and external use (such as greenhouse gas emission credits). A good energy management system is vital for identifying opportunities for sustainable energy savings. An energy management system is typically part of a company-wide energy policy, supported by upper management and energy management staff.

A successful energy management system starts with a strong organizational commitment. Energy management systems involve costs in wages, consultancy and other fees, so their cost effectiveness varies with the firm’s size and energy intensity. Governments can encourage companies to establish an energy management system by providing information on best practices, issuing standards, providing training in compliance and recognizing or certifying firms that meet the standards.