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ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard Impacts the Bottom Line

"Energy is no longer a technical issue but a management issue"

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 10:49

Substantial improvements in energy efficiency with positive financial consequences have been experienced both by a major company and by a small business taking part in a pilot program to test the new ISO 50001 energy management standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

These results were reported on June 17, 2011, at the launching by ISO of the new standard at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) in Switzerland.

“Energy is no longer a technical issue but a management issue with an impact on the bottom line, and the time to address the issue is now,” said ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele to the international audience of nearly 200 people attending the event. The conference included presentations by three of the 100 experts from 45 countries who participated in developing the standard.

Ken Hamilton, director of global energy and sustainability services at Hewlett Packard (USA), described ISO 50001 as a “very pragmatic standard” which will help companies to integrate energy management with business practices. It will allow multinational companies like Hewlett Packard to reduce energy costs and increase the efficiency of energy use throughout global supply chains.

Hamilton quoted results from two pilot implementations which were part of the Superior Energy Performance program sponsored by the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing and the U.S. Department of Energy. He cited the experience of two plants. One of the plants is owned by a major company, Dow Chemicals. The plant reduced its use of energy by 17.9 percent over two years. At the same time, ISO 50001 principles are also successfully implemented by small businesses as shown by the experience of the other plant, CCP of Houston, Texas, employing 36 people. In two years, it achieved energy savings of 14.9 percent, worth $250,000 a year, with zero capital investment.

Alberto J. Fossa, director of International Copper Association/MDJ in Brazil, underlined the international expertise that has been distilled in ISO 50001, with meetings to develop the standard held in China, the United States, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.

At these meetings a common understanding was forged between experts in technical efficiency on the one hand and in management on the other to produce a standard that will help all types of organization to achieve continual improvement of their energy performance.

Marco Matteini, of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Unit, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that forecasts of future energy demand highlighted substantial increases in developing countries, thus underlining the importance and relevance of ISO 50001 for organizations in emerging economies.

The ISO 50001 launch event, moderated by the ISO director of marketing, communication, and information, Nicolas Fleury, saw the first public showing of the short video, ISO and Energy Management.

This video is among the material available on a multimedia news release published on the ISO website, making the launch event available to a worldwide public. The news release includes video interviews of the speakers, videos of their presentations, their PowerPoint slides, the new ISO brochure “Win the energy challenge with ISO 50001,” and links to related ISO material.

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.