A new energy management standard ISO 50001:2011

There is a new standard you should be aware of for the implementation of energy management systems. Chris Bowser looks at how it can help businesses cut both energy use and costs

The European Standard BS EN ISO 50001:2011 covers the legislative requirements for implementing Energy Management Systems (EnSM), and organisations using the standard will benefi t from energy and cost efficiencies.

It replaces the short-lived standard BS EN 16001:2009, which was withdrawn in April this year.

Both documents essentially cover the same ground, enabling organisations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use and consumption. Both standards use the ubiquitous Plan, Do, Check, Act process of continual improvement, common to all modern management systems standards.

BS EN ISO 50001:2011 is a ‘one size fits all’ standard, applicable to all kinds of businesses and organisations. This can sometimes lead to situations where a level of interpretation and pragmatism is required to ensure that the energy management system is implemented and meets all of the requirements. The European standard does not specify how to manage energy, nor what criteria should be used to judge performance; this is down to the organisation implementing the EnMS.

Here is a brief summary of BS EN ISO 50001 using the Plan, Do, Check, Act process:

• Think about which parts of your business could be improved by better use of energy and define the scope and boundary of your energy management system (EnMS)
• Write an energy policy to demonstrate top management commitment to that EnMS – remember, top management commitment is vital to success
• Appoint someone as the focal point and ensure they understand their role as well as have the authority to perform their duties in that role
• Assign the necessary resources to establish the EnMS
• Determine any legal requirements that apply, and also any other requirements that you subscribe to, such as trade body schemes
• Perform an energy review for the scope and boundary of the EnMS that you have set to determine energy sources and uses; determine energy baselines and energy performance indicators
• Determine who does what within the boundaries of the EnMS and determine their impact on energy use
• Identify opportunities for improvement and make plans to prioritise and achieve those improvements. For example, set objectives, targets and implement improvement plans.

• Use the information from the planning phase to implement the EnMS
• Ensure all people with an influence on energy performance are trained and/or made aware of their impact. Don’t forget to tell suppliers, contractors and other visitors about your plans
• Prepare and control the EnMS documentation (see 4.5.4 of BS EN ISO 50001:2001)
• Ensure operations and activities such as maintenance are related to significant energy uses that have defined operating criteria for control. For example, set parameters for control and ensure they are adhered to

• Design all processes and energyusing systems, and purchase services, equipment and energy supplies, to help ensure best energy performance for your budget.

• Check your energy use for areas and functions within the scope and boundary of your EnMS – is it as expected?
• Make sure any equipment you use is accurate and suitable for the measurements you are making.
• Take action to correct any serious variation from energy use and performance expectations. Determine the cause of any variation before taking action.
• Are you complying with any applicable legislation identified in the planning stages, and how do you know? Record what was checked and how you checked compliance.
• Perform internal audits of your EnMS to ensure that all systems are working as you planned them to. Record any that are not and take action to correct deviation, determine why there was a deviation and take action to prevent recurrence.

• Control and protect records generated by your EnMS, without records you cannot demonstrate that your EnMS is working as expected.


• Review the EnMS at regular intervals with top management. It is always advisable to review the EnMS more regularly at the start of your EnMS implementation, to ensure that things stay on track. In any case never have these reviews more than 12 months apart.

Plan, Do, Check and Act is a simple but effective approach that is easy to understand and to implement and might just save you a lot of energy and money.

It is early days for third-party certification to BS EN ISO 50001, perhaps because energy is also covered in the more widely known BS EN ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard.

As of January 2012, about 100 organisations in 26 countries had already achieved certification to ISO 50001, and are clearly happy with the cost savings and improved energy performance they are achieving.

Perhaps BS EN ISO 50001:2001 will continue to come into its own, either as a standalone management system or as a complementary system to the environmental management system.

  • Chris Bowser is a chartered engineer, chartered quality professional and chartered environmentalist. He is also the owner of Blue Rock Associates, which specialises in all kinds of management systems and certification processes for systems, products and personnel.
  • Supplementary information is available on the CIBSE Certification website at www.cibseenergycentre.co.uk