Energy management and ISO 50001 – it's quite simple, isn't it?

9. July 2024

To answer the question in advance: Yes, it is really easy, provided a few points are clearly defined. But let's start from the beginning.

What is ISO 50001 anyway?

This international standard includes the specifications for systematic energy management. All of a company's energy flows are recorded and the energy efficiency of all processes, systems, facilities and activities is evaluated. The aim is to continuously improve energy performance while reducing energy consumption and costs as well as minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. The revised version of ISO 50001:2018, which has been in effect since 2018, can be applied by any organization, regardless of size and industry or service sector, and defines the framework for a cost-efficient and sustainable energy supply within the company. Large and energy-intensive sectors in particular, such as manufacturing companies or transport and logistics companies, benefit from the implementation of an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001. This means, for example, that the energy audit obligation in accordance with the Energy Services Act (EDL-G), which stipulates an energy audit every 4 years, is no longer necessary.

Why introduce ISO 50001?

Although ISO 50001 is only legally binding for companies with an average energy consumption of more than 7.5 GWh over the last three years, every company should still consider this topic. Incentives such as cost reduction through systematic optimization, strengthening sustainability and environmental responsibility by reducing CO2 emissions or compliance make this standard attractive in terms of both economic and regulatory considerations. In addition, future-oriented energy management is present in every company, even if it has not yet been introduced everywhere, planning and awareness of this topic is present almost everywhere. ISO 50001 actively supports this and facilitates the implementation and its efficient management through similar structures of other widely used ISO standards such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001.

What needs to be considered when introducing ISO 50001?

As with any implementation project, a systematic and analytically designed introduction in compliance with the specified framework conditions is the prerequisite for efficiency and sustainable benefits. For ISO 50001 in particular, additional aspects must be considered, such as the obligation of management to actively support the implementation or an objective assessment of defined factors for sustainable and effective energy management. A clearly defined and transparent energy policy with efficient energy use is another building block that needs to be considered. The certifications, both the audit by an external body and the annual proof of effective energy management, must meet the requirements and be firmly anchored in the company.

Digitization and expertise

Companies planning to introduce company-wide energy management in combination with ISO 50001 certification often see this task as an insurmountable challenge. However, with the right consultants, this external view of the company's energy situation can have a far-reaching positive impact. For example, a systematic and know-how-based approach can identify inefficient processes, develop innovative approaches - including for the implementation of company-specific requirements - and implement professional solutions for long-term sustainability goals. As a result, the overall cost of the entire energy management process is kept to a minimum and the specific details of the certification process are competently taken into account. The methodology in such a project is characterized by the collaborative work of all parties involved, which is reflected both in personal exchanges and in the joint processing of documents and records.

Systematic approach to efficiency and sustainability

Involving experts in the energy management process may seem like a large investment at first glance, but it turns out that the targeted use of this expertise promotes efficiency and can even optimize the entire company processes. The introduction of an energy management system requires a comprehensive and integrated approach that takes both technical and organizational aspects into account. Suitable tools support this systematic approach and provide a comprehensive and transparent overview of the entire company organization and the associated information.

Experts are in demand

The introduction of an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 is a multi-stage process that requires various consultants with specific expertise, but who act symbiotically as a unit. The interaction includes the seamless documentation of the entire company processes and energy management, planning of the necessary measures, adoption or support of the subsidies, certification process and long-term guarantee of the defined goals.

Horus is an expert in business processes and offers predefined ISO 50001 structures directly in the system, allowing process-relevant information to be recorded conveniently and efficiently and the entire company structure to be systematically recorded. EQB, an accredited energy consultant and familiar with Horus and its systems, uses this information to create qualitative concepts with sustainable benefits. This integrated partnership simplifies the complex process of introducing energy management, including ISO 50001 certification, and brings about a sustainable reduction in energy costs through legally compliant and conscious action.

Author: Dr. Thomas Karle
Image: © Sumedha Lakmal / istockphoto.com