How the ISO 50001 standard promotes sharper energy management decisions

ISO 50001:2018 is the international standard for Energy Management Systems, updated and adapted to meet the evolving demands of the business environment.

The standard provides a robust framework for organizations pursuing energy efficiency gains. The systematic approach is designed to deliver continuous improvements, meeting cost and carbon reduction targets while also improving energy security.

Re-examining their resilience and their climate response strategies, many organizations are now considering whether now is the right time to implement the energy management standard. So what makes ISO 50001 so compelling?

Continuous improvement, not fixed targets

Crucially, ISO 50001 does not set targets – organizations must set their own and then create an action plan to achieve its objectives. The standard does however have a requirement to “… improve the Energy Management System and the resulting energy performance” (4.2.1 c).

To meet the standard, organizations must be able to demonstrate energy performance improvements, making tangible financial benefits much more likely. With resource efficiency an important part of resilience strategies and climate change responses, ISO 50001 is increasingly important to senior management as a way to reduce operating expenditure while achieving sustainability targets.

Competitive advantage and policy pressure

ISO 50001 certification is about doing it right. At a time when sustainability has become an important differentiator for companies in more competitive markets, the standard demonstrates commitment to effective energy management, with independent verification against a globally recognized industry standard.

ISO 50001 can also open doors. A growing number of organizations look for certification as part of the procurement process, and it also ensures that organizations meet national requirements for energy saving schemes and legislation. With governments shouldering more financial risk, policymakers are likely to expect organizations to invest and demonstrate greater preparedness for the challenges posed by climate change.

Better energy data, more integrated thinking

Getting an entire organization engaged in sustainability – and resilience – requires a top down approach – and a data-driven cultural shift. Clear information and feedback about energy savings targets and progress drives real changes in behavior.

ISO 50001 recognizes that commercial and industrial sites often have sources of energy other than electricity, such as fuels, steam, heat, compressed air and other media, as well as other utilities, such as water and gas. The standard also expects these sources to support the organization’s overall efficiency targets.

ABB’s white paper, “The new era of energy management”, explains that by coordinating the different sources, as well as by utilizing storage technologies such as batteries, TES and supercapacitors, sites can potentially create their own independent micro-grids that are able to eliminate peaks in demand for energy.

As the leader in digital energy management, ABB understands the importance of making energy data part of the planning process. That’s why the ABB AbilityTM Electrical Distribution Control System (EDCS)* can now provide a range of reports that support the ISO 50001 process, including energy reviews, energy performance indicators, baselines and plans for energy data collection.

The cloud-based system also automates the monitoring, measurements and evaluation of the site’s energy performance, providing a custom ISO 50001 report that highlights specific contributions for management review. More on that here. Our innovations make it simple to embed digital capabilities into a site’s essential power hardware and its management systems.

Higher standards, sharper solutions

Energy management is a cornerstone of sustainability and fundamental to effective cost management. Heating, cooling and lighting the world’s buildings absorbs more than 42 percent of global energy and demand is forecast to grow by more than 40 percent in the next 25 years.

Organizations must now move beyond simply measuring and monitoring: effective power management strategies and an integrated approach are needed. ISO 50001 provides a framework to address these challenges.

ABB continues to develop technologies that support energy’s changing ecosystem – and sharper energy management tools for leaders and managers to integrate the right data into their decision-making. By working together, real gains in sustainability and competitiveness are possible.

Our white paper, “The new era of energy management”, explores these issues further. To discuss how we can support your organization in implementing ISO 50001, get in touch.

*The two current and well-known energy and asset management solutions ABB Ability™ Electrical Distribution Control System (EDCS) and ABB Ability™ Asset Health for Electrical systems – MyRemoteCare have been constantly further developed and migrating in one single user interface. ABB Electrification celebrates this offering evolution with the new ABB Ability™ Energy and Asset Manager.

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About the author

Giuseppe Casagrande

I joined ABB at the beginning of 2020 and I’m currently the Digital Leader for Smart Power Division, which is part of the Electrification Business Area. I studied Innovation and Circular Economy at the Bradford School Of Management (UK). Before joining ABB I spent 4 years in Strategic Consulting (BCG, Deloitte Digital) and in the TMT Industry (RCS MediaGroup). I love my daughter, art, water and technology. I like to fastly spin everything which is changing around me.
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