Why are ISO 50001 and SEP important and why should our plant/company become certified?

Certification to ISO 50001 and SEP not only yields significant benefits, but also shows what a forward-looking organization can accomplish when it makes energy management a priority. The implementation of the ISO 50001 energy management system enables an organization to institutionalize policies, procedures, and tools to systematically track, analyze, and continually improve energy performance, including energy procurement and consumption.

Certification proves that an organization’s energy management system meets the requirements of ISO 50001 and shows the public that it is committed to energy management. This gives customers, stakeholders, employees and management confidence that the organization is saving energy. It also helps to ensure that the energy management system is working throughout the organization. Another advantage of a certification is its emphasis on continual improvement. By certifying and recertifying to ISO 50001, the organization will develop a culture that prizes energy efficiency and ensures that the organization will continue to get better at managing its energy.

By simply changing the way an organization manages energy, that organization and its facilities can reduce energy costs, which are one of the largest controllable operating costs for any organization. In addition, certification helps generate improvements in productivity. According to a recent report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), 9 SEP certified facilities in the U.S. achieved annual energy cost savings ranging from $87,000 to $984,000 after implementing ISO 50001 and certifying to SEP.

Overall, facilities in the U.S. have saved an average of 10% of energy costs within 18 months of implementing SEP. Program experience has shown that the SEP implementation payback is less than two years for facilities with total annual energy costs exceeding $1.5 million. The first industrial facilities to earn SEP certification achieved energy performance improvements ranging from as little as 6% to more than 25%. Since then, new facilities, representing a wider range of industries, have achieved greater energy savings as shown in this chart.

SEP and the ISO 50001-based EnMS help a facility to focus broadly on all of its energy sources and energy using applications to sustain energy savings it achieves. The EnMS causes the energy management team to institutionalize all elements of the Plan-Do-Check-Act system to ensure greater persistence of energy performance improvement. In addition, the independent third party certification provides strong validation to senior management and shareholders of the cost-effectiveness of the energy savings achieved by the energy management team. By providing a transparent and credible verification of an organization’s approach energy efficiency, organizations can display their commitment to sustainability.

ISO 50001 is intended to assist organizations to make better use of their existing energy-consuming assets by providing a consistent framework by which a wide variety of end-users – industrial, commercial, institutional, transportation and other – can evaluate energy use and develop sound strategies to improve their energy performance. To accomplish this objective ISO 50001 offers guidance in several areas including energy benchmarking, measurement, documentation, and reporting. This focus on data collection and reporting is intended to create transparency and facilitate communication on energy management within an organization.

In addition, ISO 50001 provides context for evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of energy-efficient technologies and a framework for encouraging energy efficiency throughout an organization’s supply chain. Achieving ISO 50001certification is not impossible and organizations that achieve this distinction gain prominence on the global stage by being seen as forward-looking and committed to shareholder value and sustainability simultaneously.