Major energy standard revised for first time in eight years

A new version of the ISO 50001 energy performance standard has been published today to better reflect the management processes considered best practice across the world.

Updated by the British Standards Institution (BSI), ISO 50001:2018 will require organisations to state their energy performance targets and what they have done to achieve them.

The ISO 50001 standard has been used by a number of companies as a means to comply with the UK government's Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

This is the first time the standard has been revised since 2011, and provides “step-by-step guidance” on how firms can cut energy costs, boost resilience, comply with legislation and grow more sustainably.

BSI head of sustainability, David Fatscher, said unpredictable weather patterns and increasing energy costs had created a “perfect storm” for businesses, with the new standard going some way to address these challenges.

“Technology, the regulatory environment and scientific knowledge have all changed markedly in the last seven years, and this update of the standard acknowledges that transformation,” he continued.

“We know that the status quo is unsustainable. The bottom line is reducing energy costs is a win-win for organisations, who can achieve lower financial outgoings while minimising their carbon footprint.”

The BSI said the updated standard improves compliance with legislation, regulation and overall climate change mitigation goals, while also remaining an approved route to meeting the requirements of the UK Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme.

It does not dictate energy targets or how improvements should be demonstrated, with individual goals recognised as “an internal concern” that will vary across organisations.

However, it does provide greater clarification of concepts related to energy performance than the 2011 version, and has a stronger emphasis on the responsibility of leadership in driving energy management policy.

The standard also has improved compatibility with ISO 14001 and other management improvement standards, and an amended section on data collection and normalisation.

“Businesses across a wide range of sectors regularly cite the monetary and environmental costs of addressing climate change as one of their number one concerns,” Fatscher said.

“ISO 50001 can assist organisations of all shapes and sizes in establishing a process for continual energy improvement.”

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