What are the benefits of energy management and ISO 50001?

An energy management system involves implementing a systematic approach to energy efficiency and is superior to ad hoc or traditional project-based approaches to improving energy performance. Typically, energy management systems combine best practices in project management, energy monitoring, and energy awareness along with an energy policy that governs an organization’s approach towards energy use and performance. This benefits an organization by enabling significant energy savings that are persistent since the organization’s personnel must continually monitor energy use and resolve anomalies or incidents that cause energy waste. Organizations that decide to adopt ISO 50001 will develop a special type of energy management system (EnMS) that not only yields these benefits, but also generates additional gains for the organization. In the relatively short time since its publication, ISO 50001 has become the internationally recognized standard for implementing a strategic and systematic energy management system with proven energy and energy cost savings. A list of the benefits of ISO 50001 includes:

  1. A significant improvement of the energy performance level from an initial energy baseline.
  2. A systematic approach (plan-do-check and act) that leads to continuous energy efficiency improvement. ISO 50001 enables organizations to:
  • Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
  • Fix energy efficiency targets and objectives to meet the policy
  • Use data to better understand and make decisions concerning energy use and consumption
  • Measure the results of energy efficiency improvements
  • Review the effectiveness of the energy policy
  • Continually improve energy management
  • ISO 50001 supports the development of an energy policy and contributes to the structure of an energy plan to achieve targets.
  • ISO 50001 facilitates engagement (commitment and agreement) of management and has a positive contribution towards the energy targets.
  • An ISO 50001-based EnMS creates awareness and a commitment about energy (i.e. consumption, use, efficiency, renewable sources) within the organization.
  • ISO 50001 improves the ability of organizations to manage energy risks concerning possible impacts in an efficient and effective way.
  • ISO 50001 strengthens the competitiveness of organizations and reduces their vulnerability with respect to energy price fluctuation and availability of energy.
  • ISO 50001 allows the establishment of a benchmarking process.
  • An ISO 50001-based EnMS allows organizations to gain credible external visibility of energy saving actions.
  • An ISO 50001-based EnMS provides a better understanding between predictable energy demand and supply.
  • An ISO50001-based EnMS reduces energy costs and improves profitability.

In addition, implementing ISO 50001 yields significant benefits beyond energy and energy cost savings. Early adoption experiences have shown that conformance with the standard results in some non-energy benefits such as greater productivity and lower maintenance needs. In many cases significant energy and energy cost savings were achieved with minimal or no capital investment. This is because ISO 50001 fosters a change in culture that engages and empowers employees to identify and address energy-saving opportunities as they materialize. Then, by continuously monitoring and improving energy efficiency, companies achieve persistence in energy savings.

However, there is additional market value from conforming to an internationally recognized standard such as ISO 50001. By certifying to ISO 50001, companies and organizations can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability to their customers, employees, investors and regulators. In so doing, companies and organizations can gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by proving themselves as good corporate citizens. This can help enhance their brand, which directly supports their marketing strategy. 

In addition, adoption of ISO 50001 confers credibility and structure to new or previously existing corporate energy management initiatives within an organization. This facilitates progress towards environmental and sustainability objectives and can help companies to encourage energy efficiency within their supply chains.  The standard can also help organizations be better prepared for government- or utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs, carbon or energy taxes, and international climate agreements.  For multinational companies this can greatly simplify compliance with environmental mandates across national borders since ISO 50001 is internationally recognized.