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Get ready for an ISO standard on energy efficiency

ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, is one step closer to finalizing its new energy management standard, ISO 50001. In July, the organization approved a Draft International Standard for the energy management system, which is based on common elements found in ISO's management system standards. As such, the new standard will be highly compatible with ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management).

ISO 50001, forecast to become an international standard by early 2011, will establish an energy management framework for industrial plants, commercial facilities, and other organizations. The voluntary standard is expected to broadly apply to many economic sectors, and thus could influence 60% of the world's energy usage, according to ISO officials. Anticipated benefits include establishing a framework for integrating energy efficiency into management practices, making better use of energy-consuming assets, and promoting energy efficiency throughout the supply chain. ISO 50001 also addresses benchmarking, measuring, documenting, and reporting of energy intensity improvements and their projected impact on reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The United States (through ANSI - American National Standards Institute) and Brazil (through ABNT) are co-leaders of the project committee, ISO/PC 242, Energy management, with 42 member countries participating in the standard's development, and another 10 countries observing. China and the UK are at the forefront of development efforts as well. When ISO 50001 is complete, it is expected to replace ANSI's Management System for Energy (MSE) standard, ANSI/MSE 2000-2008, currently the national standard for energy management in the U.S. The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) also plans to use ISO 50001 as the organizing framework for the Superior Energy Performance (SEP) energy management certification program it is developing in conjunction with the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing (USCEEM).

“This will add to the traction that the international standard can achieve domestically,” says Chris Kielich of the DOE's Press Office. “Features of SEP and the associated Save Energy Now LEADER initiative will lay the crucial groundwork for companies to implement the new standard. However, because ISO 50001 is a draft standard at the moment, it's premature to talk about specific requirements until the standard and surrounding requirements are finalized.”


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