The complete ISO 50001 guide – Energy Management Systems‎

A lot of people talk about sustainability in companies. However, few of them know how to act to optimize energy consumption, reduce costs and help preserve the environment.

As incredible as it may seem, many companies still believe that energy management systems are still far from reality, complicated to implement, or apply only to large industries.

That is where they are wrong! Today, organizations ranging from hospitals to soccer stadiums use energy management systems.

Although still quite new, ISO 50001 and energy management systems are here to stay, and can be integrated into other management systems (for example, quality and environment), providing many advantages.

Are you ready to enter this world and not look back? Then just read this post to the end.

 What is ISO 50001 exactly?

ISO 50001 is a standard that provides requirements and guides organizations looking to establish, implement, maintain and refine energy management systems. The standard is based on the best practices throughout the world, essential for making businesses sustainable. It was published in 2011 and is becoming increasingly popular. It is designed to help organizations carefully manage energy consumption in their processes, identify opportunities for improvement and avoid wasting resources.

The standard provides a standardized methodology for measuring energy consumption through individual processes, and helps align it with sustainability efforts.

ISO 50001 adheres to the high-level structure already used by other standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Both are based on the concept of PDCA (PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT), adopted by ISO, and focus on the continuous improvement cycle. This means that the company must constantly seek ways to optimize energy use.

Why implement an energy management system?

Increasing competition encourages companies to seek greater efficiency by reducing operating costs. It is estimated that, in some electricity-intensive industries, energy costs can account for more than 30% of the final cost of production. The constant increase in the prices of oil, electricity, gas and other energy sources has a major impact on the economy of the industrial sector. However, at the same time, it is a great opportunity for improvement actions.

Reducing energy consumption is recognized as one of the most effective strategies for increasing a company’s competitiveness and revenues, as well as for strengthening companies in scenarios of economic uncertainty and instability.

What are the benefits of implementing an energy management system?

By implementing energy-saving strategies, companies can benefit in a number of ways. Three of them are highlighted below:

1. Differentiated products and better access to exclusive markets

Companies that obtain certifications improve their image in the market. This prominence over the competition means your products have better a chance of reaching more demanding customers.

2. Reduced risks and uncertainties

Often, large industries just focus on meeting production targets. Energy efficiency is rarely considered, which often results in increased costs and reduced profits. Optimizing energy consumption helps improve the financial health of companies.

3. Environmental protection

In recent years, many countries have implemented new energy laws, agreements or regulations, such as regulations for reducing carbon footprints or climate change agreements. These changes have forced many organizations to mitigate environmental risks in order to maintain their market presence. By demonstrating a commitment to improving environmental performance, organizations can attract new customers looking for environmentally friendly products.

How to implement an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001

ISO 50001 should involve all levels of a business, just as occurs under ISO 14001. This includes environmental experts, experts on key business processes and other leaders.

These are the basic principles of the ISO 50001 structure according to PDCA:

Plan

  • Evaluate the current scenario and set targets for energy consumption.
  • Define the goals and targets you want to achieve.
  • Establish action plans to work on opportunities for improvement.
  • Establish performance indicators to track energy consumption.

Do

  • Delegate tasks to team members who are qualified to implement them.
  • Implement the action plans defined in the planning stage.

Check

  • Monitor processes and measure energy use.
  • Check your results against goals and targets.
  • Communicate the results to stakeholders.

Act

  • Once the goals have been achieved, set new goals for continuous improvement. If the goals were not achieved, determine the reasons and take measures to correct the problems.

What is the link between ISO 50001 and sustainability?

To be successful, any sustainability plan must address energy consumption optimization. Thus, implementing ISO 50001 is an excellent way to contribute to the sustainability of organizations.

The standard helps maximize energy use from renewable sources and identifies equipment to perform tasks more efficiently, while reducing energy consumption.

Furthermore, ISO 50001 also helps manage energy consumption across the entire supply chain. Having a supply chain that cares about sustainability is one of the most efficient ways to make your business more sustainable.

Conclusions

The certification process is not required to achieve all the benefits of ISO 50001. However, by obtaining the certificate, with the support of a professional certification body, the results are achieved much more quickly.

It is also easier to manage energy consumption with the help of automated software. Companies that already have an environmental management system or ISO 14001 certification can capture the data required for ISO 50001 with greater ease.

If your company intends on becoming a leader in sustainability, now may be right time to consider ISO 50001.

Marcelo Becher

Author

Marcelo Becher

Specialist in Strategic Management from PUC-PR. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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