Plan - Do - Check - Act

Many UK businesses are looking to increase efficiency and reduce energy costs. Whether as part of an overall corporate strategy, a route to organisational efficiency or a key focus of a cost or carbon reduction drive, monitoring and managing your energy use effectively makes sound business sense. But what steps can companies take to manage their energy use? CIBSE takes a look at ISO 50001 and the business opportunities associated with it.

ISO 50001, the globally recognised energy management standard developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation, is the key tool in that process.

It provides a framework for effectively managing the energy that an organisation uses in its premises. It helps organisations understand where they are using energy, how that energy use can be managed effectively, and how consumption and costs can be controlled into the future.

The standard is effectively a framework to:

  • Develop policies and approaches for the more efficient use of energy
  • Help set organisation targets and objectives 
  • Use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use
  • Monitor, review and improve on an ongoing basis.

Conformity with ISO 50001, confirmed through official third party certification, can be a route to a range of business benefits. It allows organisations to demonstrate responsible and efficient energy management, and can provide returns in energy and cost savings, and employee engagement. It can also give organisations an important business edge, in public relations and satisfy tender requests for responsible energy management.

Steps to managing your energy use
Constant monitoring allows companies to review and develop their energy management processes

ISO 50001 follows a plan-do-check-act process, with organisations seeking certification needing to:

  • Plan – Create an energy plan with baseline indicators of energy performance, strategic and operative energy objectives and action plans
  • Do – Implement the plans, targeting improvements
  • Check – Check that the plans being put into action are proving effective, by monitoring, measuring, and comparing results with the initial objectives
  • Act – Review performance in regular reporting, to optimise and improve energy related performance and the energy management system.

The business opportunities

ISO 50001 is a relatively new standard, issued in 2011, but its uptake is growing rapidly. According to an ISO survey, almost 12,000 ISO 50001 certificates were issued in 2015, up 77% on the preceding year. It is now applied by major brand names in manufacturing industries, retail, financial services, communications and many other business sectors in the UK and internationally.

The standard is suitable for any business in any sector, although some organisations may be able to drive greater benefits than others, with more significant energy users having the greatest potential to make savings. That doesn’t mean, however, that the standard is only viable for major energy users, as it can form part of an integrated approach to energy management, and provide broad opportunities for business improvement.

How organisations can make the most of the ISO 50001 opportunity

The most popular way to demonstrate conformity with ISO 50001 is via third party certification. CIBSE Certification is an independent body, with UKAS accreditation to certify to this standard, and is backed by the recognised authority and expert building services knowledge of the global engineering body, CIBSE.

CIBSE Certification is UKAS accredited for the certification of ISO 50001

Want to know more?

CIBSE Training provides a course designed for energy professionals who are looking to gain an in-depth knowledge of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems (EnMS) standard, and also those who are tasked with designing, implementing and maintaining an EnMS that complies with the ISO standard.

Find out more:

CIBSE Certification operates a register of Low Carbon Consultants, all able to provide authoritative, expert advice on managing energy use, increasing efficiency and helping organisations implement an ISO 50001 compliant energy management system. The register contains more than 1,200 names, located across the UK, all of whom have undertaken an assessment to demonstrate their competence.

CIBSE Certification can also offer non-accredited certification for:

ISO 9001 Quality Management System
ISO 14001 Environment Management System
ISO 18001 Health and Safety Management System

To find out more and to check out the register of Low Carbon Consultants, visit the CIBSE Certification website:


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