New ISO 50001 energy management Standard impacts the bottom line

Issue 29 – July 2011

The new Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use ISO 50001:2011 offers a framework to help organisations to improve energy management and efficiency. Substantial improvements in energy efficiency, with positive financial impacts, were experienced by both a major company and a small business taking part in a pilot programme to test the new ISO 50001. These results were reported at the recent ISO launch of ISO 50001 in Switzerland. ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele told the international audience, 'Energy is no longer a technical issue, but a management issue with an impact on the bottom line and the time to address the issue is now.'

Energy is one of the most critical challenges facing the international community. With ISO 50001, multinational organisations have access to a single, harmonised Standard for implementation across the organisation with a logical and consistent methodology to identify and implement improvements. The Standard helps organisations to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs and it is estimated the Standard could have a positive impact on some 60% of the world's energy use.

The launch of ISO 50001 included presentations by three out of some 100 experts from 45 countries who participated in developing the Standard.

  • Ken Hamilton, Director, Global Energy and Sustainability Services, Hewlett Packard (USA), described ISO 50001 as a 'very pragmatic Standard' to help companies to integrate energy management with business practices. It will allow multinational companies like Hewlett Packard to reduce energy costs and increase the efficiency of energy use throughout global supply chains.

    Hamilton quoted results from two pilot implementations from the Superior Energy Performance programme sponsored by the US Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing and the US Department of Energy. He cited the experience of two plants. One of them was a plant owned by a major company, Dow Chemicals. The plant reduced its use of energy by 17.9% over 2 years. At the same time, ISO 50001 principles are also successfully implemented by small businesses as shown by the experience of the other plant, CCP, of Houston, Texas, employing 36 people. In 2 years, it achieved energy savings of 14.9%, worth USD $250,000 a year with zero capital investment.

  • Alberto J. Fossa, Director, International Copper Association/MDJ, Brazil, underlined the international expertise that had been distilled in ISO 50001, with meetings to develop the Standard held in China, the USA, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. At these meetings a common understanding was forged between experts in technical efficiency on the one hand and in management on the other to produce a Standard to help all types of organisations to achieve continual improvement of their energy performance.

  • Marco Matteini of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Unit, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said that forecasts of future energy demand highlighted substantial increases in developing countries, thus underlining the importance and relevance of ISO 50001 for organisations in emerging economies.

A new video about ISO 50001 is available to view on the ISO Website. View the 'ISO and energy management' video at

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Published in energy.