ISO 50001 standard: what it is and why it’s applied. Requirements and advantages on the certification of «Management systems for energy».
ISO 50001, what is it? Let’s start from this concept: an Energy Management System is a systematic approach to monitor and reduce energy consumption in any type of organization or enterprise. Saving and managing energy efficiently means contributing to the sustainability of human activities.
The role of enterprises is crucial: in a system that involves everyday activities, saving and integrating energy generate benefits on different fronts: economic and competitive ones are fundamental. Economical: because an integrated system allows significant savings within the company/organization. Competitive: cost savings can be reinvested. Moreover, the adoption of a valid energy management system has a positive impact on global energy resources too. In short, Mother Earth thanks us.
ISO 50001 advantages
In August 2018, ISO 50001 has been an important subject’s update. It now has an HLS structure, namely High Level Structure. The HLS goal is to make the structure of management systems uniform. In this way, it’s possible to make easier the integration with other companies and organizations’ systems. The decision to standardise the rules is based on one requirement: to resolve some of the contradictions caused by the increase in rules.
ISO 50001 rule is dedicated to Energy Management Systems Requirements. It represents the new standard devoted for the Energy Management Standards (EnMS). Everything is based on a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach, in Italian «Pianificare-fare-verificare-agire», that is a four-step management method used for the control and improvement of products and processes (this method is known as the Deming cycle). In this case, we are talking about a method that aims at implementing correct energy policies with specific aims. Then, actions aimed at achieving them and that depend on these objectives, immediately later, we’ll allow to have control and verification of actions finalized at reducing the energy use.
The requirements of ISO 50001 cover several areas:
- implementing energy policies with concrete and, therefore, measurable objectives;
- to identify energy uses: to ascertain which are the critical areas and the elements that have the greatest influence on consumption;
- to forecast, periodically, which the consumptions will be in order then to compare them with the actual consumptions;
- the energy consumption, once ascertained, will have to be inserted inside of the decisional processes like services, planning and purchase of systems, raw materials.
Achieving ISO 50001 certification is an important tool for increasing competitiveness, highlighting to stakeholders the commitment to environmental protection (see also ISO 14001 and ISO 9001). But there is more, because integration can also take place with other standards such as, for example, ISO 45001 on Health and Safety at Work, which also has the HLS structure. In addition, those who want to certify themselves 5001 don’t have to be ISO 14001 certified. In fact, 14001 considers energy in terms of environmental impact and natural resources. However, the 50001 also provides for the analysis and control of energy costs.