ISO 50001: A Perfect Match for Energy Efficiency

As the threat of energy-resource depletion has emerged, the global demand for energy is increasing constantly. Provided that billions of people still have no access to electricity, more energy will be needed in the future to improve the living standard by constructing industrial, commercial and transportation infrastructure. With this future looming, it is of utmost importance that every individual, organization, and country focuses on the alternative means of energy consumption.

Why is Energy Management important?

Coined for the first time in 2011, ISO 50001 has become a benchmark for organizations seeking to manage effectively their energy performance. The standard provides a framework and guidelines for organizations of all sizes towards a more efficient energy management. Moreover, when implemented, the standard offers a systematic approach to develop energy policies, objectives, goals, and action plans which lead to continual improvement of energy performance. Additionally, ISO 50001 enables the organization to integrate energy efficiency into their existing business processes, which leads to less energy usage, lower costs and energy savings.

Potential Energy Savings

Being one of the most widely adopted standards for energy management, ISO 50001 is likely to influence up to 60% of the world`s energy use across many industries. There are many factors which are expected to increase the adoption of ISO 50001, including the growth of sustainability programs for corporations and different awareness programs for energy savings.

The establishment of Energy Baseline

ISO 50001 is useful for all organizations as it does not specify or prescribe the exact goals for energy performance but rather it provides a benchmark that organizations can follow to reach energy efficiency with relevant means for their business. However, the ISO 50001 implementation requires from organizations to start determining their baseline for energy usage and cost. That is a fundamental step of the ISO 50001 energy management system as it compares the companies’ energy performance against the energy baseline. Any change in the energy efficiency is also considered as an immediate improvement and a cost benefit. Consequently, lowering the energy usage leads to lower energy costs and higher profits.

Benefits that Organizations can derive from ISO 50001

The implementation of ISO 50001 enables organizations to make better use of their energy consumption and manage effectively their daily activities while focusing on the future energy consumptions. However, apart from being an instrument that promotes the energy’s best practices and stimulates practical energy behaviors throughout the organization, ISO 50001 is also recognized worldwide as a management system which helps an organization to show its commitment towards energy management.

In addition, ISO 50001 implementation yields other significant benefits beyond energy cost savings. Organizations that have already experienced the adoption of the standard have shown that conformance towards ISO 50001 results in other non-energy benefits such as higher productivity and lower maintenance needs. There have been cases where energy cost savings were achieved with little or no investment at all resulting from the ISO 50001 promotion of a change in culture. This change in culture gives the employees the empowerment to identify and address all the energy-savings opportunities and also achieve energy savings with continuous monitoring and improvements.

By having the same structure with other ISO management system standards, the ISO 50001 standard is quite compatible with ISO 9001 (quality management systems) or ISO 14001 (environmental management systems). Thus, the organizations which have already implemented any other ISO management system standard will have a smoother path towards the ISO 50001 certification.

ISO 50001- A Major Opportunity

ISO 50001 has proven to be a timely and beneficial standard as it emphasizes the needed resources to critically look at the energy performance in order to plan and act continually and strategically to improve energy efficiency while reducing waste. Every individual needs to take measures towards energy management improvement, thus, this strategy applies to all organizations, regardless of their size, industry, geography and cultural or social background.

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About the Author

Nico Snyman
Founder and CEO at Crest Advisory Africa (Pty) Ltd Nico Snyman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Crest Advisory Africa (Pty) Ltd since June 2014, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nico has an MBA, specializing in Total Quality Management (TQM) and is an internationally Certified Management System Auditor with PECB. Nico is also a PECB-certified Senior Lead Auditor for 19 ISO standards. With over 35 years of experience in various disciplines, Nico has a vast subject matter expertise (SME) base across various industries, from government, corporate, regulators, banks, mines, medical schemes, etc. He served as a Brigadier in the South African Police Service (SAPS), an Executive on the biggest global project between 2007 and 2011, the Gautrain Project, and as an Executive, was instrumental to the establishment of the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) between 2009 and 2013.