Ever wondered, why and when ISO 50001 emerged? Some years ago, energy management was identified as one of the top five fields for the development of International Standards by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This organization has provided more than 18,600 standards that are used all over the world. They cover the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, environmental and social.
Governments worldwide have highlighted the importance of reducing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions emitted by their citizens and industries. The first approach to this goal was the formulation of public policy and legislative systems to enforce climate protection. Consequently, a great deal of energy management standards, specifications and regulations were in order. Thus, ISO 50001 emerged in June 2011.
ISO 50001 is a highly developed standard for energy efficiency, security, use and consumption. Its goal is to help organizations to improve energy performance. ISO 50001 contains specifications and requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system.
“The standard could influence up to 60% of the world’s energy use.”
One of the many positive features of ISO 50001 is that it is suitable for any organization and is applicable irrespective of the types of energy used. The standard incorporates management strategies. There are no quantitative targets specified so that the organization can choose its own objectives and produce an action plan to reach them.
ISO 50001 serves as ideal framework
Energy is crucial to organizations. It represents a great environmental impact with considerable consequences and a significant cost for an organization. ISO 50001 provides a framework that enables organizations to apply a sharp focus to energy efficiency.
“Worldwide application of this International standard contributes to more efficient use of available energy sources, enhanced competitiveness, and to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and other related environmental impacts.”
Here are some of the benefits for organizations when using ISO 50001:
- The standard procures a continual improvement of energy management systems.
- Reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as well as preventing further depletion of resources.
- The organization secures a significant contribution to environmental protection.
- There are tangible financial benefits and energy cost savings.
- It helps to promote awareness to employees about the immediate and long-term energy management gains.
- Through the structured process and specifications that the standard brings, the organization can discover competitive advantages.
- A potent and positive image boost for the organization can be created.
The process that the standard specifies comes in the form of a Plan-Do-Check-Act program. It is based on the management system model that is already globally understood and practiced by multiple organizations.
Image credit: ISO. Energy Management System Model
First of all, comes the PLANNING. An energy policy is presented and a team is appointed. There’s a review of the energy management system in order to set out a plan of action. Then, the work is carried out and DONE by experts in the subject. With ongoing communication, the strategies are implemented. There is some training needed for certain operations. Most importantly, this stage requires constant CHECKING. This is how the methods and results can be observed and monitored. Internal audits are performed. Then, preventive actions and corrective actions are established. Here we obtain feedback and analysis of data so it can later be the subject of a management review. ACTION is imperative. Optimization of the process and the planning of new strategic goals are in place. And so it becomes a cycle of continual improvement.
How to save £100,000 in a year
On a journey with BSI group, Sheffield Hallam University performed a case study and holds certification to the ISO 50001 standard. Their objective is to adopt a formal structure to better manage energy and achieve greater savings.
By developing a management system in line with the requirements of ISO 50001 SHU was able to formalize its approach, maximize opportunities and continue to raise awareness of energy issues.
The results of the implementation of the standard showed an 11 per cent reduction in annual carbon emissions from total energy use. Furthermore, there were savings across projects of £50,000 over 5 months and over £100,000 over a whole year.
Unquestionably, ISO’s standards make a remarkable and positive contribution to the world we live in. Organizations may not have the power to control energy prices, but they can definitely improve the way they manage energy in the here and now.
If you want to know more about ISO and take a look at a preview of ISO 50001, we invite you to visit the official website.