How new energy management standard could benefit your company

Bill Meffert, U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program
Tags: energy management, business management, maintenance and reliability

A new international standard for energy management is scheduled to be in place by 2011. In this article, Bill Meffert, an Energy Expert with the U.S. Department of Energy, explains the new global standard, how it is being developed, and how it could help companies worldwide reach energy efficiency and emission-reduction goals.

What is ISO 50001?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a network of member bodies representing more than 157 countries and including 200 technical or project committees. ISO assists in the creation of global- and market-relevant international standards that cover management systems, product specifications, services, test methods, conformity assessment and organizational practices. In 2008, ISO designated the development of the energy management system standard ISO 50001 as one of its top priorities.

ISO 50001, scheduled to be completed in 2011, will be a management system standard that provides an organizational framework for managing energy. The standard is structured around the Plan-Do-Check-Act continual improvement process model that is found in other management system standards, including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. ISO 50001 integrates both technical and management system elements that are essential for efficient use of energy and improving energy performance. The standard allows an organization flexibility in how to integrate these elements into their company culture.

How is the U.S. involved in ISO 50001 development?
The United States is leading the development of ISO 50001. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which is the U.S. member body to ISO, submitted an application for a new work item on energy management; and in February 2008, the ISO Technical Management Board approved the formation of a new project committee called ISO/PC 242. This group is tasked with developing a management system standard for energy management. The United States, through ANSI, provides many of the key leadership roles on ISO/PC 242. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds ANSI’s efforts and the administration of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (U.S. TAG), which builds U.S. stakeholder consensus around the standard. The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Energy and Sustainability Services has been approved to serve as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator for the ISO/PC 242 group.

The first ISO/PC 242 meeting occurred in Washington, D.C., and was hosted by DOE. This meeting resulted in a working draft document for ISO 50001. In preparation for the second ISO/PC 242 meeting in Brazil in March 2009, a second working draft was generated. The result of the Brazil meeting was a decision to move to the third stage of development, a committee draft, with the continued development of the text by the working group experts. The next meeting of the ISO/PC 242 group took place in November 2009, in London, England. There, the group continued to make progress toward the development of ISO 50001 and has made the decision to move to the fourth stage of development, Draft International Standard. The final two stages of development are the Final Draft International Standard and International Standard. It is anticipated that International Standard ISO 50001 will be available in early to mid-2011.

How will ISO 50001 affect my company?
Currently, ANSI/MSE 2000-2008 is the national standard for energy management in the United States. When ISO 50001 is completed in 2011, it is expected to replace ANSI/MSE 2000-2008. ISO 50001 is a voluntary standard, and as such, companies will determine the value of implementing this standard in their organization. For many companies, energy is an important resource, and they will adopt the standard for the energy-saving benefits. Additionally, companies will benefit from setting up a management system framework to sustain savings. Many businesses will also be attracted by the environmental benefits, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction.

The U.S. Department of Energy is currently developing a program for industry that will use ISO 50001 as a central feature. The Superior Energy Performance program assists manufacturers in implementing ISO 50001 and committing to improved energy performance. ISO 50001 standards coupled with the energy performance improvements that the Superior Energy Performance program requires will lead to a robust program that will provide real, sustained energy savings. It is expected that many countries will develop similar programs that build on ISO 50001 to promote energy efficiency and GHG emission reductions.

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This article was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program and first appeared in an issue of its Energy Matters newsletter. For more information, visit the ITP Web site at

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About the Author

Bill Meffert is group manager of energy and sustainability services for the Georgia Technology Institute’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and oversees the development, transfer and adopti...