ISO 50001 for US Commercial Buildings – Current Status and Opportunities

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ISO 50001:2011 Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use is a voluntary International Standard that provides organizations with a proven framework to manage energy and continuously improve their energy performance. Since its publication in 2011, the standard has been adopted in more than 20,000 certifications around the world according to the 2016 ISO Survey data. By 2016, there had been 47 certifications covering at least 180 U.S. sites. Most of the U.S. certifications are in the industrial sector, as industrial organizations strive to reduce manufacturing costs and promote good corporate social responsibility. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) promotes ISO 50001 as the state-of-the-art standard and framework for energy management in the United States.

Although the current ISO 50001 certifications mostly reside in the industrial sector, there is tremendous potential in the commercial building sector. The great value and potential in the commercial building sector is evidenced by several leading organizations such as Hilton Worldwide (Hilton), Aflac, JW Marriot, IBM, and Google adopting ISO 50001. The ISO 50001 certification differentiates from the other recognized commercial building "green" label certifications (e.g., LEED, ENERGY STAR) due to its requirements for continuous energy performance improvement based on a comprehensive and robust framework.

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