Reducing Energy Costs with ISO 50001

David Goodfellow, UK Business Assurance Manager at TÜV SÜD, a global product testing and certification organisation.

With the increasing cost of energy, organisations must objectively evaluate their energy consumption to maintain or reduce costs and lessen the negative impact on the environment. A revised edition of the ISO 50001 standard was released in 2018, and as of 20 August 2021 ISO 50001:2011 certificates will no longer be valid. The ISO 50001 energy management system (EnMS) provides every type and size of organisation with a systematic approach to:

  • Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy.
  • Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy.
  • Identify, measure, monitor and analyse the key characteristics of operations affecting energy performance.
  • Facilitate data-based analysis and decisions about energy use.
  • Measure the results.
  • Review how well the policy works.
  • Continually improve energy performance and energy management system

The ISO 50001:2018’s requirements are described in clauses 4 – 10.

Clause 4 – Context of the organisation

ISO 50001 requires that internal and external issues are considered as part of the organisation’s energy planning process. This includes understanding the relevant needs and expectations of those impacted by the organisation. The organisation must also ensure that it has access to and considers relevant legal and other requirements related to its energy efficiency, use and consumption.

Clause 5 – Leadership

Senior management must ensure the formation of an energy management team, and that roles, responsibilities and authorities are assigned and communicated. They must also ensure that the EnMS’s requirements are integrated across business processes and that it is compatible with wider strategic direction.

Clause 6 – Planning

The energy planning and review process will help to identify the activities and processes that impact energy performance, and how this can be continually improved. Opportunities and risks must be identified, with the plan covering how they will be addressed, as well as their integration and implementation within the EnMS, and how effectiveness can be evaluated. This should include the establishment of objectives and energy targets, as well as conducting an energy review which must be updated regularly and in response to any major changes.

The organisation must also determine the energy performance indicators (EnPIs) that measure energy performance, so that improvements can be monitored. Data should include relevant variables for significant energy uses (SEUs); energy consumption related to SEUs and the organisation; operational criteria related to SEUs; static factors; and data specified in action plans.

Clause 7 – Support

The appropriate resources must be available to establish, implement, maintain and continually improve energy performance and the EnMS. The EnMS must also be actioned by competent people. There is a requirement to retain evidence of workers’ competence, while ensuring appropriate education and training, as well as awareness raising about energy performance issues. There must also be a process for communicating information relevant to the EnMS, both internally and externally, as well as documented evidence of these practices.

Clause 8 – Operation

This covers the planning, implementation and control of the processes related to the SEUs identified in the energy review, and what is required to implement the actions during the objectives setting phase.

To achieve this, a process criteria must include the effective operation and maintenance of facilities, equipment, systems and energy-using processes, where their absence can lead to a significant deviation from intended energy performance. These criteria must be communicated to the relevant people that are under the control of the organisation. The organisation must also ensure that the processes are controlled, as laid out in the criteria. Documented evidence must also be kept, to show that the processes have been carried out in accordance with the plan. The organisation must also ensure that outsourced SEU’s or processes are controlled.

During the design of facilities, equipment, systems and energy-using processes, the organisation must consider if there will be any significant impacts on energy performance over the operating lifetime, to identify improvement opportunities and operational control. It must also establish criteria for evaluating the energy performance for any energy- consuming products, equipment and services that are procured, if this is expected to have a significant impact on the organisation’s energy performance.

Clause 9 – Performance evaluation

Organisations must ascertain what must be measured and monitored, by whom and with what frequency, to give an indication of how the energy management system is performing. This must include internal audits of the EnMS at planned intervals. Documented evidence must be retained – the standard gives in-depth detail about what such a review should include.

Clause 10 – Improvement

Key to the success of an ISO 50001 management system is the ability to demonstrate continual energy performance improvement. Opportunities for improvement must therefore be identified, appropriate action taken and nonconformities reported.

In most cases it is advisable to integrate the EnMS into an existing ISO 14001 environmental management system, or an ISO 9001 quality management system, so that synergies can be exploited and the organisation can leverage existing management system compliance investments.

For those transitioning between ISO 50001:2011 and ISO 50001:2018, an audit will enable organisations to focus on the key areas that require action. A gap analysis will identify nonconformities and differences, as well as weaknesses in terms of the requirements of the new standard.


TÜV SÜD is one of the world’s leading experts in product testing and certification, with 150,000 product certificates in circulation globally. Its Product Service division analyses over 20,000 products each year in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, using its technical expertise to help customers optimise market access.

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