50001 reasons to be certified

By Professor Andrew Geens, Head of CIBSE Certification

Following the announcement that CIBSE Certification have received the necessary accreditation to certify energy management systems against ISO 50001, CIBSE's Head of Certifcation Prof. Andrew Geens takes us through the reasoning behind the move.

We at CIBSE Certification were delighted by the news that the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has granted CIBSE the right to certify energy management against ISO 50001, having applied in December last year. This accreditation represents another great string to the bow of CIBSE Certification, and a great asset for CIBSE members to draw on.

But what exactly does ISO 50001 accreditation mean for CIBSE Certification, and why did we pursue it?  The obvious reason is that it’s a great solution to those looking to comply with ESOS standards before the December 5th deadline, or for those who want to increase their energy efficiency for other reasons: The first certificate issued with our new accreditation was for a manufacturing site for Kingspan Insulation, This will exempt that site from ESOS Regulation requirements, but Kingspan were already following the Standard as part of their strategy of working  towards making all their sites net zero energy.

However, the main reason that it has been growing in popularity in recent times is the association between energy efficiency and cost savings. Our view was that ISO 50001 is more broadly useful to business than as a compliance measure, which is something we’ve seen borne out – at a time of ever stretched budgets, energy management systems are being seen as a way of helping their facilities use less energy and ultimately less money.

But establishing an energy management system is a complicated business, there are many routes that a business can use, and it’s often not so much a choice between right and wrong as it is finding what is best for your organisation. What we are able to add to the mix with our accreditation is the confidence that a company will be able to report back to its stakeholders, reassured that an organisation like CIBSE Certification, with such a strong record in energy management and backed by a UKAS accredited scheme, is monitoring the process.

There’s also a third reason for gaining ISO 50001 certification if, like Kingspan, you have a commitment to reducing your company’s impact on the environment. While this might not be as legally necessary as ESOS compliance, or as time sensitive as a cost saving, it is still a worthwhile goal that is something every building in the country should be working towards. Wasted energy costs the UK economy upwards of £12bn every year, but many fear that trying to solve the problem in their own business is too costly or complicated.

Sustainability and energy security will only become more important as time goes on

It is certainly true that there are a lot of considerations involved in implementing an energy management system – not every system is right for every business, and getting it right can involve a lengthy process of trial and error. This is where ISO 50001 can come in – by working towards a set of independently accredited and verified standards, the decision making process is informed, and the practices behind it are based on the best available knowledge.

As a result, CIBSE Certification is now able to offer a service that offers not only obvious and tangible benefits, but a range of longer-term benefits as well.


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