A global topic with local relevance: Energy Management Standard ISO 50001

ISO 50001 Energy Management System

The interest in ISO 50001 and energy management systems on the whole unites countries and industries worldwide. The need for handling resources carefully, for saving costs in energy consumption, and the necessity for fulfilling each country’s energy related political objectives are factors uniting organization in their desire for such a certification, no matter where they are located.

Before the backdrop of rising energy costs, “energy efficiency” has become a major topic on the agenda especially for energy intensive industries. Sustainability is the driving social force behind innovations and values, and will certainly be one of the strongest growing areas in corporate organizations in the years to come. With sustainable action based on certified management systems, organizations stand to realize benefits in many operational areas, from cost savings to cash-flow or market shares. In addition, organizations are likely to improve their environmental balance sheets regardless of location, size, industry sector or type of energy consumed. Additionally, governments of many countries increasingly make use of this tool in order to make legal requirements for energy savings more attractive. And they like to make use of the expertise of DQS UL Group for their national energy goals. DQS UL Group recognized the significance of energy management early on; through the experts at UL DQS Inc., the group was involved in the development of ISO 50001 from the start. At the end of December 2011, UL DQS was one of the first certification bodies to receive an accreditation to ISO 50001 by the German accreditation body DAkkS.


Energy management, a topic once “owned” by environmentalists, in increasingly being ranked “urgent” by senior executives from various industries. There has been a significant shift in business attitudes regarding climate change and energy worldwide. Companies are beginning to identify the true costs of carbon-centric energy consumption patterns. This congruence of concerns around cost, supply, reliability and environmental impacts of the energy needed to sustain our economies and way of life are increasingly influencing business and planetary decisions at the highest levels.

As a result of this rapid change in perceptions, corporate America has reached a tipping point, with companies across a host of industries now making the cost, availability and environmental impact of their end-to-end energy consumption a strategic priority. They are now frequently viewing energy management as a form of risk management. What once was managed as a cost in increasingly being managed as a strategic risk, and as a source of new value and opportunities.

Organizations that have adopted energy management plans have achieved major improvements. Since the end product of the EnMS standard is to provide measurable results, their implementation has become a business driver, enhancing ROI (Return On Investment) and achieving improvements in changes to how energy is managed. Organizations that have adopted effective energy management strategies and built successful energy programs have had interesting results: Ford Motor Company has saved over $75 million through effective energy management; Hines estimates the difference in operational costs between its energy efficient and inefficient buildings at more than $13 million; and Fairfax Country Public Schools estimates an annual energy savings of $4.5 million from energy efficiency improvements. Leading energy management companies such as Schneider Electric and Case New Holland (CNH) have been assessed and certified to ISO 50001 by UL DQS.


Japan has learned a lot since Fukushima. Late in August 2011, the Japanese government passed a law subsidizing the purchase of energy from renewable sources. According to this law, which became effective July 1, 2012, the government is allowed to define special tariffs for energy from renewable resources. In order to better understand the background and objectives of the German Renewable Energy Sources Act ( EEG), which served as an example for similar initiatives in about 50 other countries, the Japanese government sent energy experts to Germany. After meeting with the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), they proceeded to the DQS headquarters in Frankfurt to learn about the methods a certification body may use to verify implementation of the EEG. The DQS-UL office in Tokyo continues to enhance this contact with their government.


During a chamber conference of parliament in 2011, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, emphasized that implementation of the “Energy Saving and Energy Effectiveness Law” would be one of their most important objectives, since the development of the energy market is very important for strengthening the economy. This law establishes a legal basis in the area of energy saving and improving of energy effectiveness. It also includes stipulations for the financing of activities through budgets at all levels. Additionally, the law includes provisions for implementing the rights of governmental bodies in modernizing production, storage, transportation and consumption of energy resources, conducting control over usage of energy resources etc.

Among the 300 attendants at the “Days of Energy Savings and Energy Effectiveness” were many officials from various government levels, as well as from large scale companies both foreign and domestic. As the official representative of DQS-UL Group in Kazakhstan, the general director of “DQS Certification KZ”, Mrs. Gaziza Omarova spoke on the approval and implementation of the ISO 50001:2011 standard and the importance of energy savings.


In Korea, DQS UL customer Samsung is a pioneer in the area of energy management. Four sites in Korea have already been certified to ISO 50001 by UL Management Systems Solutions (Korea) LLC, with plans to certify all sites overseas. The Korean government requires designated companies (large energy consuming companies such as steel, shipbuilding and chemical companies) to establish and achieve energy savings targets.


ISO 50001 is particularly sought after in Poland, especially due to the requirements of the new European Directive on Energy Efficiency (EED) stipulating 20% primary energy savings by 2020. The government has implemented working groups designed to generate plans for the implementation of these statements and goals. To date, the so-called “Act of 15th April 2011 on Energy Efficiency” is still applicable, which calls for energy savings of 9% as well as establishing responsibilities of the public sector in energy efficiency and rules of obtaining and remitting certificates for energy efficiency. The Act places much emphasis on conducting so-called “energy support audits” for thermo-operated buildings and renovations. Funding opportunities for financing and supporting initiatives aimed at saving energy and promoting renewable energy sources, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, became available late 2012.

don macdonald photo Don Macdonald
Director of Sustainability at UL DQS Inc.