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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Thinking Globally: How ISO 50001 - Energy Management can make industrial energy efficiency standard practice


Industry utilizes very complex systems, consisting of equipment and their human interface, which are organized to meet the production needs of the business. Effective and sustainable energy efficiency programs in an industrial setting require a systems approach to optimize the integrated whole while meeting primary business requirements. Companies that treat energy as a manageable resource and integrate their energy program into their management practices have an organizational context to continually seek opportunities for optimizing their energy use. The purpose of an energy management system standard is to provide guidance for industrial and commercial facilities to integrate energy efficiency into their management practices, including fine-tuning production processes and improving the energy efficiency of industrial systems. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has identified energy management as one of its top five priorities for standards development. The new ISO 50001 will establish an international framework for industrial, commercial, or institutional facilities, or entire companies, to manage their energy, including procurement and use. This standard is expected to achieve major, long-term increases in energy efficiency (20percent or more) in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. This paper describes the impetus for the international standard, its purpose, scope and significance, and development progress to date. A comparative overview of existing energy management standards is provided, as well as a discussion of capacity-building needs for skilled individuals to assist organizations in adopting the standard. Finally, opportunities and challenges are presented for implementing ISO 50001 in emerging economies and developing countries.

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