What is ISO 50001?

"Broad implementation of ISO 50001 could drive cumulative energy savings of 62 exajoules by 2030, saving over $600 billion in energy costs and avoiding 6,500 Mt of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing 215 million passenger vehicles from the road."

 “Global Impact Estimation of ISO 50001,” LBNL, 2016

Get Started with DOE Programs:

  • 50001 Ready: Self-paced, no-cost way for organizations to build a culture of structured energy improvement that leads to deeper and sustained savings
  • SEP 50001: Certification for ISO 50001 plus verified energy performance improvement

An energy management system (EnMS) integrates energy management into existing business systems, enabling organizations to better manage their energy and sustain achieved savings. Companies use an EnMS to establish the policies and procedures to systematically track, analyze, and improve energy efficiency.

ISO 50001, the global standard for energy management systems, provides organizations with an internationally recognized framework for implementing an energy management system (EnMS).

This standard shares the Plan-Do-Check-Act structure to continual improvement used in ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management), and other management systems. 

The standard addresses the following:

  • Energy use and consumption
  • Measurement, documentation, and reporting of energy use and consumption
  • Design and procurement practices for energy-using equipment, systems, and processes
  • All variables affecting energy performance that can be monitored and influenced by the organization.

An EnMS helps an organization internalize the policies, procedures, and tools to systematically track, analyze, and improve energy efficiency. It considers maintenance practices, operational controls, and the design and procurement of renovated, modified, and new equipment, systems, processes, and facilities. With ISO 50001, energy management is integrated into normal business processes involving multiple types of employees across the organization.

ISO 50001 was developed by experts from around the world who participate in the ISO/TC 301, the group that developed the portfolio of ISO 50001 standards and guidance documents. As of January 2020, ISO TC 301 has published 18 standards and has 7 more under development. As of 2018, over 43,000 sites worldwide achieved ISO 50001 certification. The growth of ISO 50001 is expected to accelerate as an increasing number of companies integrate ISO 50001 into their corporate sustainability strategies and supplier requirements.

ISO 50001:2018, the revised version of the standard, was published on August 21, 2018 to increase its clarity and applicability for businesses and organizations around the world. Changes include improved compatibility across various ISO standards. Already using ISO 14001? Check out DOE’s Adaptation Guide and detailed Crosswalk to find out how to leverage your ISO 14001 system to add 50001 Ready and ISO 50001.

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DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office recognizes the importance of energy performance in boosting the cost-competitiveness of U.S. businesses. DOE's 50001 Ready and Superior Energy Performance 50001 (SEP 50001) programs provide guidance, tools, and protocols to drive deeper, more sustained savings from ISO 50001.

ISO 50001 also supports the mission of other DOE programs.

The Building Technologies Office (BTO) is developing technologies, techniques, and tools for making buildings more energy efficient, productive, and affordable. BTO focuses on improving commercial and residential building components, energy modeling tools, building energy codes, and appliance standards. BTO piloted ISO 50001 with seven organizations at 12 different sites and investigated three principal questions:

  • What resources and activities are essential to establish an EnMS effectively in commercial buildings?
  • What are the benefits and costs of implementing an EnMS? What are the incremental benefits and costs of attaining ISO 50001 certification?
  • What are the benefits and costs of implementing an EnMS? What are the incremental benefits and costs of attaining ISO 50001 certification?

This report summarizes lessons learned from the commercial buildings pilot.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) works with key individuals to accomplish energy change within organizations by bringing expertise from all levels of project and policy implementation to enable Federal agencies to meet energy-related goals and provide energy leadership to the country. FEMP is currently exploring how ISO 50001 can support Federal agencies implementing and meeting the President's Executive Orders to improve energy intensity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. DOE, through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), has worked actively with scores of countries to develop the ISO 50001 standard and promote its adoption. DOE and industry have jointly invested over $3 million to accelerate market-driven uptake of the standard—delivering business value to companies and organizations nationwide.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO prioritized energy management as one of the top five fields for the development of International Standards, and created Project Committee (PC) 242 in 2008 to carry out the development of ISO 50001.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supported the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) role as Secretariat of PC 242 (serving jointly with Brazil), to lead the international development of ISO 50001. In addition, DOE contributed actively to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG), the U.S. delegation to ISO PC 242. The U.S. TAG led international negotiations to ensure that ISO 50001 preserves the U.S. emphasis on management support and data-driven energy performance.

Following the publication of ISO 50001, PC 242 transitioned to a Technical Committee (TC) 301, which is responsible for updating ISO 50001 as needed and developing a family of related standards. DOE support will help to ensure that the new standards will be consistent with U.S. energy policy and strategy.

International governments are collaborating to accelerate worldwide use of energy management systems in industry and commercial buildings through the Clean Energy Ministerial Energy Management Working Group (EMWG).

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