How to get the most out of the new ISO energy management standard

03 Aug 2011Archived News Energetics in the News

PUBLISHED: CE Daily. The new ISO 50001 energy standard mirrors the approach of the ISO 14001 environmental management system, but that doesn't mean your company should make the same people responsible for both, according to Energetics' principal consultant Gordon Weiss.

Like the widely-implemented ISO 14001, the new ISO 50001 takes a plan-do-check approach.

It provides a framework for companies and other organisations to build commitment to energy efficiency, develop a policy, better understand data, fix targets and objectives, measure results and continually improve.

And, as with 14001, organisations can choose to be certified as compliant with 50001 or they can implement it without seeking certification.

Business improvement task

"If you've already got a 14001-compliant system for environmental management, it won't take a lot of effort to formally extend it to an energy management system that is compliant with ISO 50001," Weiss told CE Daily.

But there are good reasons to consider involving a different mix of people in its implementation, Weiss says.

He says experience with the Federal Energy Efficiency Opportunities scheme has shown that putting energy management in the hands of business improvement staff, rather than environmental staff, can deliver much better results.

"They have quite different perspectives, and certainly we often get much better take-up if it is run out of business improvement."

"Energy use is not an environmental issue, it is a business cost issue. Therefore you want the business improvement people who are concerned about the costs of running a business to be involved."

Piggybacking off EEO

Weiss says there are many similarities between the new standard and the Federal EEO scheme, and notes one international resources company is considering using its Australian operations as the test-bed for a possible global roll-out of 50001, "on the back of EEO assessments".

But EEO generally targets large companies.

In contrast, ISO 50001 "has all the elements to achieve sustainable improvements in energy performance" and can benefit a broad range of organisations.

"It's a management system and arguably all organisations from BHP down to the corner shop need systems to manage their business inputs," Weiss says.

"We just need to look back at what happened with safety management and environmental management systems.

"Before they were brought in there was just this ad hoc approach … nothing much improved. Then the systems came in and you get sustained improvement. You get the same thing with an energy management system."

Win the energy challenge with ISO 50001 (International Standards Organisation, July 2011)

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