Becoming energy efficient through ISO 50001
06 Октомври 2016

ISO 50001 UK

Last Thursday (29/09/2016), the 2016 edition of "ISO 50001 UK" was held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The event brought together more than 50 delegates from companies based in the UK and Europe interested in the ISO 50001 standard.

The declared aim of the event was to encourage companies to embark on the energy efficiency journey and make the transition to ISO 50001. The programme of the day was divided in 4 block, totalling 14 speakers. What follows is a brief summary of the most interesting takeaways from the speeches and related discussions:

  • Energy Efficiency is about money! For example, the average payback time for Energy Efficiency projects in the US is 1.7 years
  • ISO 50001 is based on a best practice approach. It is a globally recognised framework for energy management and absolutely worth doing
  • ISO 50001 is rather a journey than a one-off solution
  • It is key to prioritise opportunities ("What do we tackle first?"), but management commitment and resources to implement Energy Efficiency measures is of the outmost importance
  • It is necessary to read and fully understand the standard, and luckily there are many good guides on ISO 50001 out there
  • It is key to have a strategic approach in managing energy:
    • Data standardisation: what sources of info to use?
    • Energy asset quantification: what do we have?
    • Business opportunity: does it make sense economically?
    • Finance options: where can I get funding?
    • Implementation: Who will do it?
    • Verification: Has to be against planned actions and KPIs
  • The challenge is to change attitudes and approaches towards Energy Efficiency (“doing more with less” philosophy)
  • Ideas from best practices and case studies are out there to be used and replicated
  • Data collection is good, but data accuracy/quality is key
  • A bottom-up approach may be a good option to gather data and optimise energy costs and consumption
  • Benefits of ISO 50001:
    • Savings (energy and cost)
    • Control of energy risk
    • Operational improvement
    • Behavioural change
    • Companies become more savvy when it comes to energy 
  • Another advantage of ISO 50001 is that it puts energy performance at the forefront of your attention
  • In Germany there are cash incentives to get ISO 500001 certification, and the country counts 5,931 certified companies (50% of the global ISO 50001 market)
  • In the UK, “only” 1,464 have ISO 50001 certification

What is ISO 50001?

ISO 50001 is an internationally recognised standard for energy management that aims to help companies to improve their energy performance (i.e. energy efficiency, energy security, energy use and consumption). ISO 50001 defines a number of requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system.

Why should I be interested?

A company with a certified and compliant ISO 50001 energy management system is able to:

  • Identify, evaluate and implement energy savings opportunities
  • Develop policies and processes for more efficient energy use
  • Continually improve energy performance and thus reduce consumption and bills
  • Use the data to have a better understanding of its energy use
  • Promote best practices and benchmark performance in energy management
  • Demonstrate its commitment to minimise environmental impact
  • Make use of tools, systems and methodologies to achieve continuous and sustainable energy savings

How to implement it?

ISO 50001 is based on the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” model to develop an energy management system.



Plan: conduct an energy review and establish the baseline, energy performance indicators, objectives, targets and action plans necessary to deliver results that will improve energy performance in accordance with the organisation's energy policy.

Do: implement the energy management action plans.

Check: monitor and measure processes and the key characteristics of operations that determine energy performance against the energy policy and objectives, and report the results.

Act: take actions to continually improve energy performance and the management system.


Some companies decide to implement the standard solely for the benefits it provides. Others decide to get certified to it, to show customers and other shareholders that they follow an internationally recognised framework for energy management.

In order to become certified, it is necessary to:

  • Undertake a detailed energy review/audit
  • Track improvement through performance indicators, objectives and actions plans with verification methods
  • Demonstrate that top management is involved and provides resources to achieve performance improvements
  • Quantify the improvement (verify it in line with policy and objectives)
  • Integrate energy procurement and design processes into the day-to-day business
  • Make sure there is a good level of communication and understanding amongst key staff in line with the agreed policy level
  • Put in place effective operational and maintenance programmes
  • Ensure that relevant processes and procedures have been defined and documented
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