Energy management with ISO 50001

ISO 50001 "Energy management systems" is a world-wide standard that is taken over as ÖVE/ÖNORM EN ISO 50001 into the Austrian body of standards and supports enterprises and organizations in setting up systematic energy management.

The document was first published in 2011 and revised in 2018. It lays down requirements for the introduction, implementation, maintenance and improvement of energy management systems. Based on a systematic approach and the establishment of appropriate processes and systems, energy performance is to be improved continuously.

The objective of this standard is to raise energy efficiency and thus reduce energy consumption, cut energy costs and decrease the environmental impacts of energy consumption - for example, resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2.

In this context, "energy" refers to electricity, fuels, steam, heat, compressed air and renewable energies. The term "energy use" is defined broadly and covers lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, process heat, transportation, processes and production lines.

1. Background

Global energy consumption has more than doubled in the past 40 years and, according to forecasts, is expected to rise by another 30% until 2040. The energy industry is considered to be the main contributor to climate change as it is responsible for almost 60% of greenhouse gas emissions world-wide.

As the Emissions Gap Report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) presented in November 2018 shows, global emissions again increased in 2017. It is not least due to this fact that the focus of the global climate agenda is on reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency.

In 2015, 196 countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris. The "Paris Agreement" aims at keeping anthropogenic global warming to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

At the 24th UN Climate Change Conference held from 2 to 14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland, a common rulebook was elaborated to provide harmonized guidelines for national reporting (greenhouse gas inventory), for improving climate plans and on issues of international funding for climate protection projects.

ISO 50001 is considered to be the most important International Standard for improving energy efficiency. Among others, it also supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (climate action).

2. Energy management

Systematic energy management helps organizations better organize their processes and, hence, improve their own productivity. An energy management system (EnMS) involves the development and implementation of an energy policy as well as the definition of objectives, energy targets and action plans for improving energy performance, energy consumption and energy efficiency while complying with applicable legal and other requirements.

An EnMS enables an organization to establish and achieve objectives and energy targets, take the measures necessary for improving energy performance and demonstrate the system's conformity to the requirements of the standard ÖVE/ÖNORM EN ISO 50001.

Like other ISO management system standards, ISO 50001 uses the PDCA (plan — do — check — act) process for continual improvement. In the application of an energy management system, an energy review (corresponding to an energy audit) is used to record energy flows at a specific time, to identify relevant energy aspects and to find measures for improving energy efficiency.

The implementation of measures depends on organization-specific decisions. To check whether the system still works optimally and to respond quickly to deviations, energy consumption has to be analyzed regularly. This means that even if the measures already have an effect, the PDCA cycle is used.

3. Benefits

Energy management systems play an important role in taking forward climate protection measures supporting the climate protection agreements of the United Nations. Energy management standards support improvements of energy performance and ensure transparency, reliability and accountability.

Enterprises integrating energy management in their business practices ensure that opportunities for improving energy performance are continuously realized and that improvements are sustained and increase over time. The Austrian Energy Agency (AEA) estimates that average energy savings potentials amount to 10 to 20 percent.

Apart from improved ecological performance and the resulting energy and cost savings, the introduction of an energy management system also has indirect effects for enterprises and organizations: these include not only a better environmental situation, but also lower insurance and maintenance costs, improved working conditions and the like.

Moreover, an energy management system ensures that enterprises and organizations

  • know how much energy is consumed in different areas (departments, production processes, etc.),
  • immediately detect changes in energy consumption in a specific area and can respond properly to such changes,
  • have a systematic and structured documentation of their own energy system.

The standard also serves as a basis for the certification of energy management systems, which is required, for example, by legal provisions on peak equalization and capping the levy under the Renewable Energies Act.

Measures improving the management of energy consumption also help society save money. The Climate Works Foundation, an NGO, showed in a study that efforts toward more energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions in industry and construction would result in savings of USD 3.2 billion in healthcare.

4. Update in 2018

To address the challenges in the energy sector even more effectively, ÖVE/ÖNORM EN ISO 50001 was revised in 2018.

The key changes in comparison with the 2011 edition are a clarification of language and document structure, explanations on the definition of energy performance indicators and their normalization as well as the addition of details on the "energy data collection plan" and related requirements.

To ensure a high level of compatibility with other management system standards, the text of the "high-level structure" (HLS) was used. The HLS is a generic structure for new and revised ISO management system standards. Its objective is to improve the consistency and alignment of the ISO management system standards. This is ensured by using a harmonized, common general structure (table of contents), identical core text and common terms and definitions.

As in other standards, top management is more intensively involved in implementing and supporting the management system and a risk-based approach is promoted.

5. Series of energy management standards

Since ISO 50001 was first published in 2011, ISO/TC 301 has developed a series of relevant standards on energy management and energy savings.

This "family of standards" currently comprises the following documents:

  • ISO 50002 Energy audits - Requirements with guidance for use (ISO 50002:2014)
  • ÖNORM EN 16247 Energy audits, 5 parts (2012, in line with ISO 50002:2014)
  • ISO 50003 Energy management systems - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of energy management systems (ISO 50003: 2016)
  • ISO 50004 Energy management systems - Guidance for the implementation, maintenance and improvement of an energy management system (ISO 50004:2014)
  • ISO 50006 Energy management systems - Measuring energy performance using energy baselines (EnB) and energy performance indicators (EnPI) - General principles and guidance (ISO 50006:2017)
  • ISO 50007 Energy services - Guidelines for the assessment and improvement of the energy service to users (ISO 50007:2017)
  • ISO 50015 Energy management systems - Measurement and verification of energy performance of organizations - General principles and guidance (ISO 50015:2014)
  • ISO 50047 Energy savings - Determination of energy savings in organizations (ISO 50047:2016)

In addition, drafts are available for:

  • ISO 50021:2018-10 Energy management and energy savings - General guidelines for selecting energy savings evaluators
  • ISO 50045:2018-03 Technical guidelines for evaluation of energy savings of thermal power plants
  • ISO 50046: 2018-10 General methods for predicting energy savings

A cumulative publication bringing together all standards of the ISO 50000 series is planned for early 2019.  

6. Organizational information

The subject of energy management systems falls under the scope of Austrian Standards' Committee 093 "Energy management" that is chaired by Ing. Christian Ulrich and supported by Committee Manager Ing. Andreas Hermann, MSc.

ISO 50001 was developed by the technical committee ISO/TC 301 "Energy management and energy savings" in co-operation with CEN/CLC/JWG 3 "Energy Management and related services - General requirements and qualification procedures".

The secretariat of ISO/TC 301 is held by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the one of CEN/CLC/JWG 3 by the Italian standardization body UNI (Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione).

7. Bibliography

EN ISO 50001 Energy management systems - Requirements with guidance for use (ISO 5001:2018)

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