Version 2.0
12 August 2011
ISO 50001
The Energy Management Systems Standard


n June 2011, the International Standards Organization (ISO) launched the long-awaited ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard. The ISO 50001 standard is expected to influence up to 60% of global energy use and provides an internationally-recognized framework for a wide variety of organizations to manage their energy use efficiently and improve their energy performance.

By conforming to the standard, industrial plants, commercial and institutional buildings, and other organizations will demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to their customers, investors and elected officials.

The purpose of this International Standard is to enable organizations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency and intensity. The standard should lead to reductions in cost, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts, through systematic management of energy. It is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations irrespective of any geographical, cultural or social conditions. Successful implementation depends on commitment from all levels and functions of the organization, and especially from top management.

The standard aims to:

    Did you know?
    Energy is the third-largest expense for businesses (after employees and real estate), representing an average of 19% of total expenses and accounts for 75% of a company's carbon footprint.
  • Assist organizations in making better use of their existing energy consuming assets
  • Create transparency and facilitate communication on the management of energy resources
  • Promote energy management best practices and reinforce good energy management behavior
  • Assist facilities in evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy efficient technologies
  • Provide a framework for promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain
  • Facilitate energy management improvements for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects
  • Allow integration with other organizational management systems such as environmental, and health and safety.

From a note by ISO:

This International Standard specifies requirements for an energy management system (EnMS) to develop and implement an energy policy, establish objectives, targets, and action plans, which take into account legal requirements and information pertaining to significant energy use. 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 this International Standard.

Application of the standard can be tailored to fit the requirements of the organization, including complexity of the system, degree of documentation, and resources and applies to the activities under the control of an organization.

This International Standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act continual improvement framework and incorporates energy management into everyday organization practices.

The ISO 50001 enables benchmarking and a systematic roadmap to achieve energy savings, helping document energy savings for various purposes, including sustainability reporting and legislative requirements. For large networked organizations, such as multi-national corporations, it also helps drive supply chain initiatives. The standard is based on earlier ISO Standards such as ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) which includes measurement and verification that help organizations stay on track to meet their stated energy policies and goals.

Much like other 'continuous management' standards, ISO 50001 is voluntary. However, many companies and organizations tend to view such standards as a requirement to be globally competetive and to increase brand value, besides the more obvious ones of saving production costs and prevent emission costs.

ISO 50001 enables organizations to establish systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use, consumption and intensity. Such processes manage the use of energy, resulting in reduction of energy costs, besides also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. Using such sustainable energy management systems (including the creation of a baseline of energy use, and senior management committment to continuously improve energy efficiency), an organization can demonstrate achievement of reduction of energy use, and the consequent benefits, both internal to the organization, and external.

The Standard calls for the implementation of seven steps, as shown in the chart:

  • Step 1: Make statement of commitment, from the top management. Develop a key energy policy.
  • Step 2: Assess current performance levels of all types of energy resources, and the resources available. Put in place an energy data management and assessment system. Creating a strong and clear data baseline will help in setting goals and measuring performance.
  • Step 3: Set goals to be achieved, in consultation with top management as well as technical and managerial personnel. Identifying and prioritizing opportunities for savings and improved performance will be a critical part of this stage.
  • Step 4: Create an action plan to achieve the goals. This includes training, communication, assessment procedures and equipment, design guidelines etc.
  • Step 5: Implement the action plan, taking all internal and external stakeholders into consideration. This includes communicating actions undertaken to the stakeholders.
  • Step 6: Evaluate progress in implementing the action plan and achieving goals, on a continual basis. Monitoring and measurement are also carried out here, baselined against the goals set. This may be carried out using internal and/or external audit teams. Based on the outcome of the audits, corrective and preventive action may also be taken.
  • Step 7: Management reviews and system performance assessments are carried out, and achievements recognized
Annex 1 Additional Information

Annex 2 EN 16001:2009 Energy Management Systems Standard of the European Union

At the initiative of numerous European countries, a new self-standing European standard EN 16001:2009 for energy management systems was issued on 1 June 2009. Prior to its publication, only three European countries (Denmark, Sweden and Ireland) had their own energy management systems standard, while others used environmental management systems standards to cover and regulate the energy management field. The standard was transposed in Slovenia on 1 October 2009.

The ultimate objective of the EN 16001:2009 standard is to assist organizations establish systems and procedures needed to enhance energy efficiency, cut energy costs and reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions. The standard specifies the requirements for an energy management system to enable organizations develop and implement policies and goals taking into account statutory requirements and information on important energy aspects. The standard is suitable of any organization, regardless of the size, sector, geographical location, or cultural and social conditions.

The standard concerns only the activities controlled by the organization and enables the organization to:

  • Design its energy policy;
  • Identify characteristic areas of energy consumption and areas to enhance energy efficiency;
  • Identify and follow statutory obligations and other requirements;
  • Determine energy goals and priority actions;
  • Provide for resources, functions, responsibilities and authorities in the field of energy management;
  • Control, review and evaluate energy activities to ensure the intended operation of the energy management system and to realise energy objectives; and
  • Adapt to changed conditions.
The energy management systems standard can be used independently or in integration with other management systems standards. Its structure follows the structure of the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems.

Source: SIQ, Slovania

Annex 3 Related ISO standards

  1. ISO/IEC 13273 on common terminology for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources
  2. ISO 13065 on sustainability criteria for biofuels
  3. ISO/TC 257 on energy savings ISO 16344 on overall energy performance rating and certification of buildings
  4. ISO 16343 on expressing energy performance and for energy certification of buildings
  5. ISO 16346 on the assessment of overall building energy performance
  6. ISO 12655 on presentation of measured energy use of buildings
  7. ISO 14067 on carbon footprint of products
  8. ISO 14044 on environmental management life cycle assessment
  9. ISO 14025 on environmental labels and declarations
  10. ISO 13579 on measuring energy balance and calculating efficiency
  11. ISO 6469 series on safety requirements of electric vehicles.
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