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ISO 50001

ISO 50001 — The Need for Energy Management

The rising cost of energy is a glaring expense on every organization’s financials. Our world uses more energy today than ever before, and the demand is only projected to rise. Between 2007 and 2035, world consumption of energy is projected to increase 49%. One cause of this is our booming population, which is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Another cause is the amount of energy used in factories, hotels, airports, and other commercial buildings. In order to maintain reasonable energy consumption patterns for our children, our world needs to control how we use energy and manage the process for continually improving our energy efficiency.

To this end, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) created ISO 50001. ISO 50001 is an international energy management standard can help organizations understand their energy systems and improve their energy intensity and efficiency. In pilot programs across the nation, organizations have shown significant energy savings when adhering to the ISO 50001 standard. In Texas, one plant realized 14.9% in energy savings over a 24 month period. How could savings such as those impact your bottom line?

Certification to ISO 50001 not only has the ability to affect your organization’s public image, but also your pocketbook. With a public that’s ever more concerned about the environmental impact of companies’ operations, now is the time realize the cost reduction and goodwill that comes with an ISO 50001 energy management system.

US Pilot Programs

Large organizations such as Dow Chemical, Nissan, 3M, and Marriott have realized the need for energy management. In response, all of these companies and more have joined a pilot program based on ISO 50001 to improve their energy efficiency, gaining global recognition for their commitment and improving their bottom line.

These companies are part of a demonstration program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) in partnership with the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing (US CEEM). The demonstrations, being done in phases across the United States, test the components of ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance. At the close of their demonstration project, these facilities will be positioned to seek ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance certification.

What is ISO 50001?

ISO 50001:2011 is an energy management system standard meant to help organizations improve how they use energy. The standard promotes energy efficiency through measures and controls meant to help you reach your energy goals. ISO 50001 does NOT set energy goals, it is up to the organization to decide what they wish to achieve.

ISO 50001 is based – like most management standards – on the Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) model. The PDCA model facilitates continual improvement, a guiding tenet of successful ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. The principles of continual improvement help your organization get better with time, which gives organizations the potential for more savings as time goes on.

In addition to cost savings, ISO 50001 is intended to accomplish the following:

  • Assist organizations in making better use of their existing energy-consuming assets
  • Offer guidance on benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting energy intensity improvements and their projected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Create transparency and facilitate communication on the management of energy resources
  • Promote energy management best practices and reinforce good energy management behaviors
  • 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 organization management systems such as environment and health & safety


The History of ISO 50001

In March 2007, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) hosted a meeting in recognition of industry’s need to mount an effective response against climate change. This meeting included representatives from the ISO Central Secretariat and nations that have adopted energy management standards. That meeting led to submission of a request to the ISO Central Secretariat to consider working on an international energy management standard. Since then, ISO has identified energy management as one of the top five fields for development of International Standards.

In February 2008, ISO formed the project committee ISO/PC 242 to begin developing an international energy management standard. This energy management committee developed what became the ISO 50001 standard with input from 59 countries, 14 of which were observers. The Department of Energy (DoE) and US CEEM actively contributed to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group, which led negotiations to ensure that ISO 50001 kept the U.S. emphasis on data-driven energy performance and management support.

After 4  meetings of the project committee, ISO announced the 50001 standard on June 17th, 2011. “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,” said ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele. Now, organizations in the U.S. and around the world have a framework to optimize their energy use from both a management and technical perspective.

What are the benefits of ISO 50001 certification?

The ISO 50001 energy management standard has a host of benefits for organizations who implement it effectively. For one, it can save your organization money! Cook Composites and Polymers are saving $250,000/year after implementing the standard, which has kept them in the black during these difficult economic times.

Another benefit of ISO 50001 certification is its emphasis on continual improvement. As time goes on, your organization will continue to get better at managing its energy. This opens the door for additional cost savings for many years to come.

Lastly, certifying your organization to the ISO 50001 standard shows your public commitment to energy management. Consumers and buyers are now more aware of their impact on the environment, and this realization is affecting their purchasing decisions. With ISO 50001, you can assure your customers that efficient energy use is one of your top priorities.

Support for ISO 50001

In the United States, the US Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing (US CEEM) is the ISO 50001 standard holder and the organization pursuing national energy efficiency goals. In a pilot program sponsored by the DoE, organizations such at Owens Corning, Dow Chemical, Cook Composites and Polymers (CCP), and World Kitchen LLC took part in an environmental management program based on ISO 50001.

Through this program, CCP was able achieve 14.9% in energy savings at a Texas plant over 24 months, which came out to $250,000 in saving per year.

Needless to say, support for ISO 50001 is strong and growing. HP, Ford, and 3M are just a few of the companies who are implementing ISO 50001. With the recent release of the standard, organizations will begin improving their energy management systems in order to save money and project a positive public image. The country’s industries are becoming leaner by optimizing their energy use; what will your organization do to keep up?

Who stands to benefit from ISO 50001?

ISO has designed the standard to apply to any organization, large or small, in any industry. ISO 50001’s one focus on continual improvement means that your energy management system does not have to be mature at the time of certification, but it must get better with time. Organization’s can start creating an energy management system with the energy data they have, no matter how basic the data is.

Some industries that may especially benefit from ISO 50001 certification are manufacturing, hotels, theater, and airports. In fact, the International Energy Agency has stated that the “manufacturing industry can improve its energy efficiency by an impressive 18 to 26%.”

To look at it another way – if your organization uses large amounts of energy, there are cost savings to be realized. Certification to ISO 50001 can get your there.

Why choose PJR for your ISO 50001 registration?

PJR knows certification. We operate on multiple continents as a full-service certification body certifying clients to a wide range of standards for which we carry multiple international accreditations. In 2009, PJR was the #1 reporting Certification Body in North America.

While our range of certification services is diverse and our global reach is wide, we’re proud of our personalized, “you-centered” customer service:

  • Our dedicated Project Managers welcome the opportunity to answer all of your questions as they create a customized certification service plan and pricing for you — all free of charge.
  • Once you select us as your certification partner, we continue to make the experience easier for you by providing a single point of contact for scheduling and any customer service concerns throughout the certification process.
  • We offer our client-base free seminars, webinars, in-person training, and informational newsletters on a variety of topics.