ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard Released

June 7th 2011
Cover of the ISO 50001 guide

Berkeley Lab Researcher Played Significant Role In Its Development

June 15, 2011—A significant new standard to help organizations save energy, "ISO 50001 Energy management systems- Requirements with guidance for use," was released today by the International Organization for Standardization.

ISO 50001 can be used by any organization to manage its energy use. Targeting broad applicability across national economic sectors, its developers estimate that the standard could influence up to 60% of the world's energy use. The standard was developed by the ISO project committee PC 242 Energy Management, with the chairmanship held by the United States and Brazil.

Aimee McKane, a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has had a central role in developing the standard. Her work on the standard began with an analysis of the existing national energy management standards for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in early 2007, and continues as Vice-Chair to the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO PC 242.

ISO 50001 provides organizations with an internationally recognized framework for efficiently managing and improving their energy performance. "The standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach to continual improvement," says McKane. "It supports energy performance improvement over time based on the best data available to the organization."

Continual improvement of energy performance requires a comprehensive energy management system involving a variety of stakeholders, McKane notes. The standard does not prescribe minimum performance criteria, energy reductions, or targets. However, she says, many countries, including the United States, are developing programs to recognize organizations that achieve specified energy performance improvement targets.

To ensure that U.S. companies and organizations derive the greatest possible benefit from ISO 50001, the U.S. Department of Energy is working with standards authorities, energy management experts, and industry representatives to create a supportive framework for implementation. Activities include:

  • Developing a training curriculum for ISO 50001 implementation experts.
  • Developing requirements and credentialing auditors to assess energy management systems for conformance to ISO 50001.
  • Credentialing professionals to assist organizations in implementing ISO 50001.
  • Supporting accreditation of certification bodies to manage the ISO 50001 auditing process.

For more information about DOE activities to support implementation of ISO 50001, see Superior Energy Performance, Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP), and The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

McKane adds that the next steps for the experts responsible for creating ISO 50001 include a transition to a technical committee (ISO TC 242) with a primary focus on providing standards and technical documents necessary to support effective implementation of ISO 50001.