ISO 50001 FAQ’s
We often receive questions about ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems certification.
We’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions and provided our answers below, which we hope helps.
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Whatever you do, make sure you have a chat with an ISOQAR Technical Sales Officer. They’ll talk you through the options, what help we can provide and even give you a quote for our certification services.
Finally, when you’re ready to press ahead, if you feel you want external support you can seek the help of an independent ISO consultant.
Yes, you can still benefit from ISO 50001 even if you have the ISO Environmental Management System. ISO 50001 is not really about the environment; it’s totally focused on energy performance. Additionally, ISO 14001 doesn’t say as much as you might think about energy.
Nevertheless, ISO 50001 will make you think about your approach to energy and the environmental impact. For example, if you were to change a fairly modern, efficient, diesel vehicle, to a first generation, inefficient electric vehicle, that might give you credit under ISO 14001 for emissions. But it could be a negative as far as ISO 50001 is concerned because your kilowatt hour energy usage – and your costs – for transporting the same weight over the same distance may actually increase!
So, ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 tackle different issues in different ways (for example, ISO 50001 is much more data driven than ISO 14001) and complement each other very well.
Yes. It can make sense to get ISO 50001 if you don’t have ISO 14001 depending on the context of your organisation. If your organisation has very little environmental impact, except for energy use, then it may be a better decision to just go for ISO 50001. This can both reduce your environmental impact better than ISO 14001 would and deliver better business results in terms of cost controls. (There may of course be other drivers behind your decision whether to go for ISO 50001 and/or ISO 14001, such as the requirement to be certified by your clients.)
Yes. All modern ISO management system standards share common clauses so there’s a lot of overlap between them (you will sometimes read about ‘Annex SL’ which relates to this).
If you already have one or more ISO systems and are thinking of adding ISO 50001, you should look at combining them into an Integrated Management System (IMS).
You can share elements of the standards, like the Management Review, so that you can kill two birds with one stone. There is no duplication of the common parts. Your certification body can also audit integrated management systems at the same time, saving you time and money.
Yes. Investors and potential clients are increasingly focusing on ESG agendas and ISO 50001 is a key part of that. Additionally. if effectively implemented, the investment involved in developing, implementing and maintaining the management system can easily be offset by the savings.
If you’re covered by ESOS legislation, it’s also a route to compliance with that.
ISO 50001 can support the ESG agenda.
Whilst it’s not the primary aim of ISO 50001, it does clearly make a contribution toward broader environmental objectives. This is because good implementation of ISO 50001 can lead to a reduction in energy consumption and enable you to identify sources of high carbon emissions. Additionally, the steps to achieving that could also incorporate, for example, transitioning to more renewable sources of energy, which is actually a side benefit of 50001 rather than a stated objective.
The focus of ISO 50001 is on energy efficiency rather than emissions but there’s an obvious link.
When you start examining energy consumption by activity/device/site etc. it allows you to identify where performance can be improved / savings can be made. Although it’s not a requirement of ISO 50001, you can then more easily calculate your carbon emissions and identify where reductions can be made. This also supports your ISO 14001 system if you have that implemented.
In short, if you are ISO 50001 certified, you are deemed to meet the requirements of ESOS, because ESOS is just a small part of what ISO 50001 is designed to achieve.
ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme, introduced by the UK government to make sure large enterprises in the UK (usually 250+ staff or £44.1m turnover) are energy efficient. Under the scheme, qualifying organisations are required to assess their energy usage every 4 years and to find new ways to save energy. It’s essentially about understanding your baseline energy usage and identifying the opportunities for improvement. ISO 50001 of course deals with that and more, in much greater detail and with greater benefits.
The Energy Policy is the starting point for ISO 50001 so it’s important you get it right. An Energy Policy is a formal statement of your intentions. It’s usually quite a brief document, often only a page or so. You can find many examples online but remember it has to relate to YOUR organisation, you can’t just cut and paste.
Also note that if your ISO 50001 Energy Management System is going to be integrated with another management system, it could be possible to integrate the energy policy with, for example, your environmental policy.
These are your Energy Performance Indicators (EnPIs).
Usually, the INPUTS are simply kilowatt hours – a measure of your consumption. You might look at kwh per site, per member of staff or square metre of space you occupy or by department, for example. If you’re in a more complex business, you may use more sophisticated measures that consider HDD, CDD, moisture content etc.
Then you need to set a BASELINE which is a reference to give you a basis for monitoring and comparing energy performance. (Keep in mind that your energy use might be a little irregular due to lockdowns so you may need to go further back to get a reliable baseline.)
No. It doesn’t need to be. In your home, you probably simply look at your meters, and maybe note down your fuel use from your car’s dashboard or fuel pump. And in the case of low complexity, small businesses, collection of energy data can be as simple as doing the same thing and logging readings on a spreadsheet. Smart meters make this easier and offer more insight into usage.
You can then move onto looking at individual devices, rooms, operational areas of your business and identify where performance can be improved / savings can be made. (Additionally, although not a requirement of ISO 50001, you can then more easily calculate your carbon emissions and identify where reductions can be made. This will support your ISO 14001 system if you have that implemented.)
For a complex organization to effectively manage energy, the data collection would likely need to include electronic gathering and transmitting of multiple data sources across the organization, including sub-meter data.
Yes. It specifically says that the organisation shall not exclude any energy type. So, fuel for vehicles is absolutely in scope.
One option here is to use the figures you report to the Inland Revenue, and proportions you claim back for electricity, gas for example. You can also use smart plugs on items that actually record energy use for specific devices. You wouldn’t necessarily need to do this for every employee – just samples, and then multiply up appropriately.
Make sure your certificate is UKAS accredited
Not all certificates are equal. You need to make sure your certificate is issued by a body that has been accredited by the government-recognised United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
A UKAS accredited certification body like ISOQAR undergoes regular rigorous inspections by UKAS to check we are operating to the highest standards.
This means that when you hold a certificate from a UKAS accredited body, you can be sure it’s more meaningful. Certificates that are issued by bodies which are not UKAS accredited are often not accepted.
UKAS accredited certificates are accepted across the world as evidence that you meet global standards of best practice.
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