There is a new international standard published June 9, 2011, that might just warrant your attention. This standard’s purpose is help organizations follow a systematic approach to improving energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use, and consumption. It applies to variables that affect achieving these goals, thus cutting energy costs, reducing energy-related impacts on the environment, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Sound like it’s worth a peek inside? Presenting ISO 50001—“Energy management systems—Requirements with guidance for use” from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
This new management systems specification and guidance document is built upon the same plan-do-check-act (PDCA) logic model as the popular quality and environmental management system standards, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
The need for an international energy management standard comes straight from the United Nations, which wants to respond as effectively as practical to climate change. A simple request from the UN Industrial Development Organization to ISO boosted the notion of energy management even higher on the ISO list of standards whose time is now.
To quote the recent ISO marketing brochure, “Win the energy challenge with ISO 50001,” the ISO 50001 document is designed to “provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs, and improve energy performance.”
According to ISO, this new voluntary consensus standard “is intended to provide organizations with a recognized framework for integrating energy performance into their management practices.” Multinational organizations are to “have access to a single, harmonized standard for implementation across the organization with a logical and consistent methodology for identifying and implementing improvements.”
The ISO 50001 standard aims to accomplish at least these agenda items:
• Assist organizations with better use of assets that consume energy
• Create transparency and facilitate communication on managing energy resources
• Promote best practices and energy management behaviors
• Assist in prioritizing new energy efficiencies to try out and implement
• Provide a strong and lasting framework for energy efficiency throughout the supply chain
• Facilitate energy management improvements that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
• Empower integration with environmental, quality, health, and safety management systems
The ISO 50001 standard is written to highlight the data that can best be used to understand and make decisions on energy performance (use + consumption + efficiency) and measure the results.
An energy management system (EnMS) is defined as a “set of interrelated or interacting elements to establish an energy policy and energy objectives, and processes and procedures to achieve those objectives.” Like ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, top management is to document a commitment in its energy policy to demonstrate support for the EnMS and provide the human resources, specialized skills, technology, and financial resources needed to maintain it.
Energy planning is a requirement early in the ISO 50001 specification, with continual improvement as the ultimate achievable goal. Energy use and consumption are to be reviewed against an energy performance baseline for areas of significance in terms of facilities, equipment, systems, processes, and personnel. Opportunities for improved performance are to be identified, prioritized, and recorded against the baseline for energy use, consumption, efficiency, and intensity.
The launch and maiden voyage of the standard is here. Let’s christen her with our finest magnum of welcome to our world.