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ISO 50001 and Energy Management Strategy for Businesses

By May 20, 2014Article

The International Organization for Standardization released ISO 50001 about three years ago. Private and public, small and large organizations from any country, in any industry, can use the standard to establish, implement, maintain and improve their energy management system (EnMS). ISO estimates that the standard could influence up to 60 percent of the world’s energy use. 

ISO 50001: Benefits of energy management strategy 

By following ISO 50001, your organization can continuously and systematically improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The following seven benefits of the standard can help you mount an effective response to energy inefficiencies, rising energy costs, and increased presence of environmentalism. 

  1. Rely on experience
    The ISO 50001 standard was developed by a team of energy management strategists from over 60 nations. By following the standard, you benefit from their combined knowledge and expertise.
  2. Manage risks
    The standard creates a structured approach towards measuring and monitoring how much energy you use. It also allows you to identify hotspots, create objectives and make informed decisions.
  3.  Improve performance and cut energy consumption
    By making technical, structural and behavioral changes to the way you operate, in accordance with ISO 50001, you will improve your energy efficiency and cut your power bills.
  4. Reduce carbon footprint
    Increasing energy efficiency through the systematic approach of the standard means you reduce your carbon emissions. By doing so, you can meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and qualify for rebate programs.
  5. Improve reputation
    As an eco-friendly company, your reputation improves and builds trust and confidence from customers, suppliers and investors.
  6. Add structured, measurable energy efficiency to the corporate goals
    The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) structure of ISO 50001’s continual improvement process fundamentally includes senior management. This will undoubtedly drive energy management up the corporate agenda.  Because the organization sets its own objectives, goals are attainable and success can be measured.
  7. An ROI-positive undertaking
    The costs of ISO 50001 can vary. There are various trainings available, organizations may hire consultants to help increase staff to implement the necessary changes, or incur costs in equipment retrofitting, energy monitoring solutions and certification payments. 

    However, once the management team considers the financial benefits of energy efficiency solutions (lower power bills, less equipment failure, improved reputation), the costs diminish in comparison. In fact, some of the world’s most respected brands have achieved ISO 50001 certification and are enjoying the financial benefits.  

ISO 50001: A companion to energy management strategy 

As of 2013, over 1,400 entities have completed this process and many more are applying this standard as a best practice. Therefore, organizations that are considering it can proudly consider themselves “early adopters.” 

To generate support for ISO 50001 within your company, be transparent in communicating the plans of the undertaking. Educate teams about the benefits of the change for the company and for the environment. Explain the goals. Be available for questions and open to suggestions. In general, when employees are involved and engaged with the change, resistance is minimized and results are maximized. 

Results have proven that ISO 50001 is effective:

  • Ford Motor Company has saved over $75 million through effective energy management.
  • Hines estimates the difference in operational costs between its energy efficient buildings and inefficient buildings at more than $13 million.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools estimates an annual energy savings of $4.5 million from energy efficiency improvements. 

ISO 50001 is a voluntary initiative, and its financial impact isn’t its only reward. By formalizing an energy management strategy, you will gain increased energy efficiency, reduced costs and improved energy performance. 

Jon Rabinowitz is senior director of marketing at Panoramic Power, a leading provider of energy management solutions for retail businesses around the world. In this role he advocates the use of sensor energy monitoring technology to make proactive operational decisions and reduce energy costs. Follow him on Google+. 


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