Enhanced energy efficiency, improvements in the energy balance and better cost-efficiency – there are good reasons for enterprises to operate an energy management system. The corresponding requirements are defined in the international standard ISO 50001. As many readers already know, a new version – ISO 50001: 2018 – was released last year. But what changes does this entail for businesses and by when do the new requirements have to be implemented? Companies wishing to be certified according to ISO 50001:2018 should pay particular attention to the following aspects:
High-level structure (HLS)
Like other ISO standards, the new ISO 50001:2018 adopts the so-called high-level structure (HLS). This means that similar requirements apply for the structure of main chapters and subchapters, and all overarching content. Harmonizing the structure as well as common concepts and definitions is intended to ensure improved compatibility between standards. Overall, this greatly simplifies the establishment of integrated management systems.
More responsibility for company management
The general objective is to integrate the management system more closely with operations. This means that the top management will be held accountable to a greater extent. ISO 50001: 2018 also calls for the establishment of an energy team. Under certain circumstances, the tasks may be distributed among several people to achieve a better penetration of the organization. The establishment of an energy team is not an entirely new concept. Nevertheless, having it included in the new standard is nothing but positive.
Influence and expectations of interested parties
Interested parties (or stakeholders) are persons or organizations who affect, are affected by or perceive themselves affected by a decision regarding the energy management system, both internally and externally. This applies, for example, to customers, employees, legislators and authorities or even external companies and suppliers. The aim here is to systematically analyze existing influences and expectations, determine relevant requirements, opportunities and risks, and plan appropriate measures.
In addition, the new version of ISO 50001 contains numerous language clarifications and requirements that are “self-evident” for a well-functioning energy management system, for example:
- Normalization of energy performance indicators and the associated baselines
- Inclusion of a new definition to improve energy performance.
Transition to the new ISO 50001:2018
Affected companies should address the transition to the new version of ISO 50001 in good time. Starting 21 February 2020, all ISO 50001 audits will need to be based on the new version. The exact date of the changeover is generally determined by the first audit due after the February 2020 cut-off date. For example, if your ISO 50001 audit usually takes place in August, the first audit according to the new standard (ISO 50001:2018) will be carried out in August 2020. Of course, it is also possible to switch to the new standard earlier than required. This can be done, for example, during the audit in 2019 or by way of a special audit.
It is advisable to talk to your certification body and your auditor at an early stage to plan the audit according to the revised standard. The changeover will require one-off extra audit time on-site, which must be taken into account during planning.