Why an Energy Management Standard? ISO 50001

Most energy efficiency in industry is achieved through changes in how energy is managed in an industrial facility, rather than through installation of new technologies.
An energy management standard provides a method for integrating energy efficiency into existing industrial management systems for continuous improvement
All existing and planned energy management standards are compatible with ISO 9000/14000
Companies who have voluntarily adopted an energy management plan (a central feature of an EM standard) have achieved major energy intensity improvements.

Key features of ISO 50001

• A strategic plan that requires measurement, management, and documentation for continuous improvement for energy efficiency

• A cross-divisional management team led by a representative who reports directly to management and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the strategic plan
• Policies and procedures to address all aspects of energy purchase, use, and disposal
• Projects to demonstrate continuous improvement in energy efficiency
• Creation of an energy manual, a living document that evolves over time as additional energy saving projects and policies are undertaken and documented
• Identification of key performance indicators, unique to the company, that are tracked to measure progress
• Periodic reporting of progress to management based on these energy measurements

Business Benefits

Implementation of an energy management plan assists a company to:
• Develop a baseline of energy use
• Actively managing energy use and costs
• Reduce emissions without negative effect on operations
• Continue to improve energy use/product output over time
• Document savings for internal and external use (e.g. emission credits)

Catalyst for change

The cost of fossil-fuel based energy is forecasted to increase significantly in the next couple of decades. This change, along with the imperative need to reduce GHG emissions, will prompt organizations to re-focus on energy management as an effective approach to reduce both their carbon emissions, and their energy purchasing costs.

As mentioned in DNV’s 2009 Annual Report, energy efficiency gains might contribute with up to 57% to the goal of reducing emissions of green house gases and limiting a temperature rise in our atmosphere to 2°C, by 2030. So, without a doubt, energy efficiency is a measure which clearly has a global impact and supports our sustainability endeavor.

How ISO 50001 is different

ISO 50001 is a significant departure from many other ISO Management System Standards, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000, etc. The primary reason for the difference is the fact that ISO 50001 will focus on performance; energy performance in this case. The document will enable organizations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use, consumption and intensity.

Implementation of this standard should also lead to reductions in energy expenditures and greenhouse gas emissions. Further, effective implementation of an EnMS (Energy Management System) should also mitigate other environmental impacts, through systematic management of energy.

Although we expect to see large, high energy consumption, industrial organizations to lead the implementation efforts, potentially seeking accredited certification, and participating in regional energy efficiency programs, based on ISO 50001, the standard will be applicable to all types and sizes of organizations irrespective of geographical, cultural or social conditions.

The organization requirements for ISO 50001 include developing and implementing an energy policy, as well as establishing objectives, targets, and action plans, which take into account the legal requirements and information pertaining to significant energy use.

ISO 50001 is a voluntary international standard developed by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization and it contains requirements for energy management systems (EnMS). ISO 50001 may help organizations, large and small, in managing and improving their energy consumption and efficiency. Many experts believe that behavioral-driven approaches to energy use can, in many cases, lead up to 50% of energy use reduction, without compromising production output. The purpose of ISO 50001 is to enable organizations to establish systems and processes necessary to continually improve it’s energy performance including energy efficiency, use and consumption. ISO 50001 is intended to foster reductions in energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other related environmental impacts, through systematic management of energy. As in all Management System Standards, successful implementation depends on commitment from all levels and functions of the organization but, and especially, from top management.

ISO 50001 specifies requirements of an energy management system (EnMS) for an organization to develop and implement an energy policy, establish objectives, targets, and action plans, which take into account legal requirements and information related to significant energy uses (SEU). An Energy Management System enables an organization to achieve its policy commitments, take action as needed to improve its energy performance and demonstrate the conformity of the system to the requirements of standards such as ISO 50001 and/or the European Norm EN 160001. Implementation of ISO 50001 must be tailored to fit the organization implementing it, including the complexity of the system, degree of documentation, and resources.

Should I care?

Energy is critical to organizational operations and can represent a major expenditure, whatever their activities may be; thus improvements in energy efficiency can lead to improvements in the organization profitability. In addition to the economic impacts to an organization, energy wastage can impose environmental and societal costs by depleting resources and contributing to problems such as climate change. The development and deployment of technologies for new energy sources and renewable sources can take time. Energy consumers cannot control energy prices, governmental policies or the global economy, but they can improve the way they manage their energy consumption and efficiency. Improved energy performance can provide rapid benefits for an organization by maximizing the use of its energy sources and energy-related assets, thus reducing both energy cost and consumption. ISO 50001 is based on the tried and tested PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT (PDCA) cycle management system model that is already understood and implemented by organizations worldwide, having deployed other ISO Management System Standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Why certify?

While organizations can certainly implement ISO 50001 without going for an independent certification, engaging with a reputable and properly accredited EnMS Conformity Assessment Body for an independent audit program can prove very valuable. The external friendly pressure exercised by a professional registrar aids the organization in keeping focused and disciplined to the intent of the standard. Attaining certification to ISO 50001 also assists organizations in demonstrating to internal and external stakeholders it’s commitment to sustainable development. Many experts expect that the costs for implementing and attaining certification to ISO 50001 would have a great Return on Investment (RoI) for the expected savings in reduced energy consumption. Without the path towards attaining and maintaining certification, many organizations lack the internal discipline to pursue it’s objectives.

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