ISO 50001:

  • is a voluntary International Standard developed by ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
  • gives organizations the requirements for energy management systems (EnMS)
  • provides benefits for large and small organizations, both in public and private sectors, in manufacturing and services, in all regions of the world
  • will establish an energy management framework for industrial plants and for commercial, institutional and government facilities and organizations

The target for ISO 50001 is quite broad; it is applicable across all national economic sectors; it is estimated that this standard could influence up to 60% of the world's energy use.

(This estimate is based on information provided in the section, “ World Energy Demand and Economic Outlook ”, in the International Energy Outlook 2010, published by the US Energy Information Administration).


Energy is critical to operations and can be a major cost for organizations, independently from their activity.  An idea can be gained by considering the use of energy through the supply chain of a business, from raw materials through to recycling.

In addition to the economic costs of energy for an organization, energy causes also environmental and social costs by depleting resources and contributing to problems such as climate change.

The development and deployment of technologies for new energy sources and renewable sources can take time.

Individual organizations cannot control energy prices, government policies or the global economy, but they can improve the way they manage energy.  Improved energy performance can provide rapid benefits for an organization by maximizing the use of its energy sources and energy-related assets, thus reducing both energy cost and consumption. The organization will also make positive contributions toward reducing depletion of energy resources and mitigating worldwide effects of energy use, such as global warming.

ISO 50001 is based on a management system model that is already understood and implemented by several organizations worldwide. It can make a positive difference for organizations of all kind in a very short term, while supporting longer term efforts for new, improved energy technologies.


ISO 50001 will provide public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.

The standard is intended to provide organizations with a recognized framework for integrating energy performance into their management practices. Multinational organizations will have access to a single, harmonized standard for implementation across the organization with a logical and consistent methodology for identifying and implementing improvements.

The standard is intended to accomplish the following:

  1. Assist organizations in making better use of their existing energy- consuming assets
  2. Create transparency and facilitate communication on the management of energy resources
  3. Promote energy management best practices and reinforce good energy management behaviours
  4. Assist facilities in evaluating and prioritizing the implementation of new energy-efficient technologies
  5. Provide a framework for promoting energy efficiencies throughout the supply chain
  6. Facilitate energy management improvements for greenhouse gas emission reduction projects
  7. Allow integration with other organizational management systems such as environmental, and health and safety


ISO 50001 is based on the ISO management system model familiar to more than a million organizations worldwide who implement standards such as ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management), ISO 22000 (food safety), ISO/IEC 27001 (information security).

In particular, ISO 50001 follows the Plan-Do-Check-Act process for continual improvement of the energy management system.

These characteristics enable organizations to integrate energy management now with their overall efforts to improve quality, environmental management and other challenges addressed by their management systems.

ISO 50001 provides a framework of requirements enabling organizations to :

  1. Develop a policy for more efficient use of energy
  2. Fix targets and objectives to meet the policy
  3. Use data to better understand and make decisions concerning energy use and consumption
  4. Measure the results
  5. Review the effectiveness of the policy
  6. Continually improve energy management. 

ISO 50001 can be implemented individually or integrated with other management system standards.


Like all ISO management system standards, ISO 50001 has been designed for implementation by any organization, whatever its size or activities, whether in public or private sectors, regardless of its geographical location.

ISO 50001 does not fix targets for improving energy performance. This is up to the user organization, or to regulatory authorities. This means than any organization, regardless of its current mastery of energy management, can implement ISO 50001 to establish a baseline and then improve on this at a rhythm appropriate to its context and capacities.


Like all ISO management system standards, ISO 50001 can be implemented solely for the internal and external benefits it provides the user organizations and the latter's stakeholders and customers. Certification by an independent auditor of conformity of the user’s energy management system to ISO 50001 is not a requirement of the standard itself. To certify or not is a decision to be taken by the ISO 50001 user, unless imposed by regulation.

Alternative to independent (third party) certification are to invite the organization's customers to verify its implementation of ISO 50001 in conformity with the standard (sec on party verification), or to self-declare its conformity.


Introduction (extract from ISO 50001)

“The purpose of this International Standard is to enable organizations to establish the systems and processes necessary to improve energy performance, including energy efficiency, use, and consumption. Implementation of this standard is intended to lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy cost, and other related environmental impacts, through systematic management of energy. This International Standard is applicable to all types and sizes of organizations irrespective of geographical, cultural or social conditions. Successful implementation depends on commitment from all levels and functions of the organization, and especially from top managements. "This International Standard specifies requirements of energy management system (EnMS) for an organization to develop and implement an energy policy, establish objectives, targets, and action plans, which take into account legal requirements and information relates to significant energy use. An EnMS enables an organization to achieve its policy commitments, take action as needed to improve its energy performance and demonstrate the conformity of the System to the requirements of the International Standard. Application of this International Standard can be tailored to fit the requirements of an organization - including the complexity of the system, degree of documentation, and resources — and applies to the activities under the control of the organization."

This International Standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act continual improvement framework and incorporates energy management into everyday organizational practices.

This approach can be briefly described as follows:

  1. Plan: conduct the energy review and establish the baseline, energy performance indicators (EnPIs), objectives, targets and action plans necessary to deliver results in accordance with opportunities to improve energy performance and the organization's energy policy.
  2. Do: implement the energy management action plans
  3. Check: monitor and measure processes and the key characteristics of its operations that determine energy performance against the energy policy and objectives and report the results
  4. Act: take actions to continually improve energy performance and the EnMS

The basis of this approach is shown in the next figure:

figura do-plan-act-check