ISO 50001 is a voluntary international standard that establishes the requirements for organizations to put in place an effective energy management system (EnMS). It outlines the requirements that will help organizations improve energy performance, increase energy efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts.
ISO 50001:2011 Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use was published in June 2011 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was inspired by regulations from countries such as China, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand, United States, and the European Union. This standard was developed at the request of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) who recognized the need in the industry sector for an international standard to help organizations ensure an effective response to climate change.
The purpose of this standard is to enable organizations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use, and consumption. Implementation of this standard is intended to lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and other related environmental impacts and energy cost through systematic management of energy. ISO 50001 provides a framework of requirements for organizations to:
- Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
- Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
- Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
- Measure the results
- Review how well the policy works, and
- Continually improve energy management.
ISO 50001 is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations, irrespective of geographical, cultural, or social conditions. This standard does not set specific quantitative targets; each organization can set their own goals and choose how they will meet these goals. This means that any organization can implement ISO 50001 to establish a baseline and then improve its energy performance at a rate that’s appropriate to its context and capabilities.
ISO 50001 is structured in a way that allows organizations to see tangible benefits in a short term. Improving energy performance can provide rapid benefits, maximizing the use of its energy sources and energy-related assets by reducing both energy costs and consumption. Any organization that implements a successful EnMS can:
- Reduce costs and carbon emissions
- Achieve energy efficiency & compliance
- Optimize energy-consuming assets
- Improve operations and capital cost decisions
- Improve transparency and communication on the management of energy resources
- Better evaluate and prioritize new energy-efficient technologies
- Make a significant contribution to environmental and climate protection
- Discover potential savings and competitive advantages
- Improve image
ISO 50001 is based on ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, which makes it easier for organizations to integrate energy management into their overall efforts to improve quality and environmental management.
ISO 50001 is a voluntary standard; however, organizations can obtain a certification of compliance. The certification provides customers, stakeholders and employees a higher degree of confidence in relation to an organization’s energy performance. It also helps to ensure that the EnMS is working throughout the organization and that it’s continuously improving.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.