What is ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems?
One of the topics of continuing debate the world over is the rising emission of greenhouse gases that are released majorly as a result of burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation. Another sector which largely contributes to the emission of carbon dioxide (almost 4.7 billion tons in 2010) in the air is the agriculture sector. Another harmful gas – methane, to a great extent, is released due to enteric fermentation, in other words during the digestion of organic materials by livestock. In a nutshell, the discharge of toxic gases in the air like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluoridated gases is a cause of global concern as it leads to degrading the environment further. The sources of fluoridated gases are mainly industrial processes, refrigeration and the usage of some consumer products that cause hydro fluorocarbons, per fluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride to be freed in the air.
In order to address this issue of rising emissions of harmful gases in the air and increasing energy costs, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) came up with the ISO 50001 certification for Energy Management Systems (EMS) – a standard that shows the way for creating, implementing, maintaining and then continually improving the system. ISO 50001 provides a framework to industries and commercial facilities and even organizations, as a whole to be able to effectively manage different aspects of energy usage and procurement.
Objective of ISO 50001 Certification
- The main purpose of this EMS Certification is to help organizations improve their energy-related performance.
- Use energy efficiently and work on a continuous process to correctly classify areas of improvement to reduce energy consumption.
Benefits of ISO 50001 Certification
- Reduce the emission of poisonous gases in the air, thereby reducing greenhouse effect and carbon footprint.
- Guaranteed reduction in energy consumption up to 10% within the first year itself.
- Helps create brand equity for the company by improving its corporate image and credibility amongst its stakeholders and customers.
- Helps in setting up future energy efficiency systems and achieving the set targets.
- It leads to increased awareness among st internal and externals stakeholders about using energy efficiently.
- It helps improve the overall operational and maintenance processes of the company.
- Finally, one good reason for adopting this standard is that organizations are able to control energy-related costs to a great extent.
Applicability - EMS Certification
The ISO 50001 Certification was published by ISO in 2011. It is applicable for all types of organizations – big or small, any industry or location. In order to get the registration for ISO 50001, it is required for an organization to prove that their energy costs and energy use have been reduced, thereby improving the energy performance of the system. The energy management systems was revised and the latest edition was published in August 2018.
ISO 50001 is meant for which Organizations?
ISO 50001 is meant for all manufacturing units, factories, and industrial plants, corporations, utility service providers, government facilities, institutions, energy service companies and all other organizations that make use of energy for running their businesses. ISO 50001 Certification can be used by companies from both the private as well as the public sector to improve their energy-related performances. Irrespective of the quantity, use or types of energy being consumed, the energy management systems is applicable to all types of organizations.
Within a span of five years of introduction of ISO 50001:2011, more than 23000 units all over the world were certified with the standard. It is also good for organizations that are already compliant with other ISO certified management systems as it is compatible and can be easily integrated with other operating systems and standards.
The ISO 50001 was the brainchild of ANSI (American National Standards Institute), that acted as the Secretariat for the project and 59 nations that participated in developing this international system of standards. The technical committee is now responsible for developing the ISO 50001 family, few of which are already published:
- ISO 50002 – requirements and guidance for energy audit.
- ISO 50004 – provides guidelines for ISO 50001.
- ISO 50003 – auditing specifications for ISO 50001 for certifying bodies.
- ISO 50006 –energy performance indicators and energy baselines.
The ISO 50001:2018 reaffirms that all certified organizations must demonstrate continual improvement in performance of their energy management systems. It, however, does not specify levels of energy performance improvement that need to be achieved by the organizations.
Process of obtaining the ISO 50001 certificate
- Defining an energy policy of the organization where the top management confirms its commitment towards the deliverance and implementation of the same.
- Identifying and appointing a capable person to head the Energy Management Systems project.
- This head of project along with the involvement of the senior management and other stakeholders need to then finalize a team that is formed with representation from all major functional areas of the organization.
- In order to make the Energy Management Systems practically viable, it is important to define boundaries of the system at this stage.
- This is where the new Energy Management Systems is implemented. At the initiation, the team is required to conduct an energy review of the existing system to understand the areas that use energy significantly, their energy consumption statistics and identify areas for improvement.
- Establishing an energy baseline.
- Identifying key indicators that would help in evaluating and carrying out energy performance improvement against the set baseline.
Many organizations enroll themselves in the ISO 50001 Ready program where the audit process happens internally rather than involving an external auditor. It is meant for self-paced, self-attested implementation of the culture of continually improving the energy management system based on the requirements of ISO 50001 Certification.
In order to provide technical assistance, resources and opportunities to interested organizations, it is best to contact the concerned ministry or national body that is specially appointed by the Government of the country to oversee and enforce regulations pertaining to energy conservation and effective consumption.
In order to obtain the ISO 50001 certification, the organization needs to enter into a contract with an accredited certifying agency. The agency would first conduct an initial assessment to understand if the essential requirements of the standard have been met or not. If the auditor finds everything in place, the external agency proceeds further to check for the effectiveness of the implemented system and whether it is operational or not.
Any requirement of corrective actions is concluded after these initial reviews. After the corrective actions are implemented, re-audit is conducted to check for effectiveness. Once the auditor reports his findings to be as per mentioned requirements of the system, he recommends certification. At the final audit stage, an independent and impartial panel reviews all the relevant documents and files of the organization based upon which the decision to certify the organization is taken. On passing the external audit successfully, the organization is issued the certificate for ISO 50001.
Validity Period of ISO 50001
The ISO 50001 certificate is valid for a period of three years during which there would be mandatory audits that would take place every year. In order to retain the EMS certification for a period of another three years, there would be a reassessment audit at the end of the third year, just before the validity of the present ISO 50001 certificate gets over.