Feature: Energy Efficiency
ISO 50001: THE KEY TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY After many years of discussion, the new ISO 50001 international standard for energy management systems was finally launched in the middle of 2011, with the promise that it will provide those who adopt it with a framework for achieving on-going reductions in energy usage and carbon footprint.
But what exactly is ISO 50001, how does it work, and what are its practical implications? David Pitt of Eaton’s Electrical Sector has the answers. In the simplest terms, ISO 50001 is a standard that sets out current best practice in energy management, and is intended to help users improve their energy efficiency. It’s applicable to organisations of all types and sizes, and according to ISO, the International Organisation for Standardisation, it could influence up to 60% of the world’s energy use.
There are three points about this new standard that are particularly worth bearing in mind. The first is that it is an international standard, which builds on existing national and regional standards. This is significant not only because it means that multinational companies can adopt the same energy management framework for all of their operations, but also because it means that ISO 50001 certification will be recognised globally.
The second key point about ISO 50001 is that compliance with the standard requires independent third-party assessment by an accredited organisation, so it’s a standard that generates a high degree of confidence.
Finally, ISO 50001 is not an “implement-it-and-forget-it” standard – it’s a driver for continual improvement. It’s not enough for organisations to carry out a one-off exercise to meet the standard because, as we shall see, on-going compliance with ISO 50001 involves regular reassessment. At these reassessments, organisations must be able to show that they are maintaining and, wherever possible, enhancing their energy reduction measures, and also that these measures are effective.
It may be worth noting that, in relation to these key points and in many other ways, the new ISO 50001 standard for energy management is similar in the way it works to the rather more familiar ISO 9001 standard for quality management although, of course, its focus is different.
Before examining further the requirements of ISO 50001 and how they can be implemented, let’s deal with two small points that may cause confusion.
Although ISO 50001 is an international standard, it will be adopted and implemented in individual countries by their own standards organisations. In the UK, it was published by the BSI Group as BS ISO 50001 on 15th June 2011. This is simply the customary approach for adopting international
standards, and has no significant implications for users of those standards.
The second point is that some who are reading this may have noted a close parallel between ISO 50001 and the older BS 16001 standard for energy management. That’s not surprising, as BS 16001 is one of the national standards that formed the foundations for ISO 50001. The older standard is now expected to be withdrawn, probably during 2012, and completely superseded by ISO 50001. Certifying bodies such as NQA and BSI are offering an upgrade path that allows organisations already certified to BS16001 to transition easily to ISO 50001.
Let’s now turn to how the new standard works. In general terms, the procedure will be familiar to anyone who has been involved with ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. The basis is a third-party assessment of the candidate organisation’s Energy Management System (EnMS). This is carried out in two stages by inspectors from the organisation’s chosen certifying body.
The first stage looks at policies, procedures and processes relating to energy management. Once these have been shown to be satisfactory, the second stage of the assessment examines how effectively the policies, procedures and processes are being implemented. This second stage typically involves discussions with staff at all levels in the candidate organisation.
Both stages of the assessment focus particularly on how well the EnMS has been formulated to drive continuing improvement, looking in particular for a plan-do-check-act framework that incorporates clearly defined processes for monitoring, measurement and analysis.
Organisations with an EnMS that satisfies all aspects of the assessment are awarded an ISO 50001 certificate of registration, which is initially valid for three years. Throughout that period, the assessor will regularly visit the certified organisation to ensure continuing compliance, and to support the organisation in making further improvements in its EnMS.
There is no denying that gaining ISO 50001 certification, and subsequently keeping it, involves a degree of effort and expenditure. So why should organisations bother? The most obvious answer is that increased energy efficiency means reduced costs, but that’s far from the only benefit. Better energy management also means reduced carbon footprint and easier compliance with increasingly stringent government measures designed to reduce emissions.
For all the most up to date news and products visit www.thepanelbuilder.co.uk
March 2012 Page 12
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19