The International Organization for Standardization recently announced an updated draft of it’s ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard. The article appeared on the ISO website in November, 2017. The current ISO 50001 standard was established in 2011. Given the rapidly changing nature of energy technology and evolution of the energy sector, periodic revisions of the standard are necessary to insure they continue to reflect energy sector needs.
The ISO is the widely accepted organization charged with setting standards for many aspects of international commercial, industrial and proprietary issues that affect businesses. Since its inception in 1947, the ISO membership has grown to 162 nations around the world.
The updated draft is the result of efforts by ISO/TC 301, which is the technical committee charged with overseeing standards for energy savings and energy management. ISO/TC 301 is headed by the ISO member for the United States, the American National Standards Institute. They work closely with SAC, which is their counterpart group representing the People’s Republic of China. The convener or head of the revision working group is Dr. Deann Desai of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The article quotes Dr. Desai: “Perhaps the most important change for the 2018 version is the incorporation of the high-level structure, which provides for improved compatibility with other management system standards.” The goal of using a high level structure is essentially to keep things as simple as possible. It provides an overall form and terminology for organizations that find it desirable to implement situation-specific energy management systems.
Dr. Desai went on to outline additional upgrades included in the new version of ISO 50001, which will become effective in 2018. For example, the working group focused on making certain the basic concepts that bear on energy performance are stated clearly, especially for small and medium sized businesses. There is a natural tendency for these firms to regard global standards as useful mainly to large international organizations. In fact, following the ISO standards also benefits smaller companies. First, it helps promote customer trust. Second, the use of international standards help control costs and simplify implementation of government regulations.
There is a strong emphasis on energy efficiency that pervades the energy sector. That is likely to remain true indefinitely for a couple of reasons. For one thing, reducing energy waste helps businesses reach environmental and societal goals. There’s also a clear cost benefit to saving energy as the use of energy storage becomes practical. Put simply, if a business uses less energy, it will require a smaller and cheaper energy storage system.
Dr. Desai goes on to describe several initiatives that are intended to promote adherence to ISO 50001. One is the Clean Energy MInisterial. The CEM is a worldwide program that recognizes organizations that are making progress in developing energy management systems in compliance with ISO 50001.