23 November, 2017
Since 2011, organizations have been able to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption, thanks to ISO 50001.
Like all International Standards, ISO 50001 has come under periodic review to ensure that it continues to meet the rapidly changing needs of the energy sector. This work is being carried out by the ISO technical committee responsible for energy management and energy savings (ISO/TC 301), whose secretariat is held by ANSI, ISO's member for the USA, in a twinning arrangement with the ISO member for China, SAC. Here, we explain the main changes with the help of Deann Desai, Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Convenor of the working group tasked with revising the standard.
'Perhaps the most important change for the 2018 version is the incorporation of the high-level structure, which provides for improved compatibility with other management system standards.' The high-level structure (HLS) is a simple and effective concept. 'Because organizations often implement a number of management system standards, the use of a shared structure, as well as many of the same terms and definitions, helps to keep things simple,' explains Prof. Desai. This is particularly useful for those organizations that choose to operate a single (sometimes called 'integrated') management system that can meet the requirements of two or more management system standards simultaneously.
Prof. Desai continues: 'There are other improvements in the 2018 version to help ensure that the key concepts related to energy performance are clear for small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs).' This is important in encouraging uptake of the use of management system standards by SMEs, which sometimes assume that the benefits of International Standards mostly apply to multinational businesses. That's not the case, with SMEs around the world using ISO standards to build customer confidence and reduce costs across all aspects of their business, including meeting regulation requirements.
With energy efficiency playing such a key role in meeting social and environmental targets for all sizes of business, promoting uptake of ISO 50001 is also an important part of Prof. Desai's work. She tells us about a number of different initiatives that have helped increase the use of ISO 50001 around the world, including the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The Clean Energy Ministerial is a global awards programme that recognizes leading organizations for their energy management achievements and use of ISO 50001 to address energy and climate challenges. Organizations certified to ISO 50001 are invited to submit case studies for recognition. If that sounds like your organization, then you should know that the Clean Energy Ministerial is now accepting entries for its 2018 Energy Management Leadership Awards.
The Draft International Standard ISO/DIS 50001 was approved in November 2017, and the new version of ISO 50001 is expected to be published in 2018. You can find out more about ISO 50001 on ISO.org.