ISO 50001 Seeks To Standardize Energy Management Strategies

On June 15, 2011, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published its ISO 50001:2011 Standard on energy management systems. ISO 50001 will provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, and improve energy performance.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele commented, “Individual organizations cannot control energy prices, government policies or the global economy, but they can improve the way they manage energy in the here and now. 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. The organization will also make positive contributions toward reducing depletion of energy resources and mitigating worldwide effects of energy use, such as global warming.”

ISO 50001 is intended to provide organizations with a recognized framework for integrating energy performance into their management practices. Multinational organizations will have access to a single, harmonized standard for implementation across the organization with a logical and consistent methodology for identifying and implementing improvements.

The standard aims to:

  • 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.

Pilot Projects
Improvements in energy efficiency with positive financial impacts have been experienced both by a major company and by a small business taking part in a pilot program to test the new ISO 50001 energy management standard. These results were reported on June 17, 2011 at the launching by ISO of the new standard at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) in Switzerland.

ISO’s Steele told the international audience of nearly 200 people there: “Energy is no longer a technical issue, but a management issue with an impact on the bottom line and the time to address the issue is now.”

Ken Hamilton, director, Global Energy and Sustainability Services, Hewlett Packard (USA), described ISO 50001 as a “very pragmatic standard” which will help companies to integrate energy management with business practices. It will allow multinational companies like Hewlett Packard to reduce energy costs and increase the efficiency of energy use throughout global supply chains. Hamilton quoted results from two pilot implementations which were part of the Superior Energy Performance program sponsored by the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing and the U.S. Department of Energy.

He cited the experience of two plants. One of them was a plant owned by Dow Chemical. The plant reduced its use of energy by 17.9% over two years. At the same time, ISO 50001 principles are also successfully implemented by small businesses as shown by the experience of the other plant, CCP, of Houston, TX, employing 36 people. In two years, it achieved energy savings of 14.9%, worth $250 000 a year with no capital investment.