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How is ISO 50001 Implemented?

Implementing ISO 50001 is attainable for all organizations regardless of size, type or business or finances. 

Getting Started with ISO 50001

Companies use an energy management system (EnMS) to establish the policies and procedures to track, analyze, and improve energy efficiency.

ISO 50001, the global energy management systems standard, specifies requirements for initiating, implementing, maintaining, and improving an EnMS. The Standard is based upon the Plan-Do-Check-Act management system. Many organizations that have implemented other ISO standards are familiar with this.  DOE’s 50001 Ready and Superior Energy Performance programs provide guidance, tools, and protocols to drive deeper, more sustained savings from ISO 50001.

The following sections highlight some of the information included with the guide; visit the Navigator for more details, examples, templates, forms and checklists, and more.


Outline management responsibilities. Top management commitment and involvement are critical to the prosperity of an EnMS. Management engagement at the beginning of the process helps to encourage progress.

Define the scope. A defined EnMS scope and boundaries will allow your organization to focus both its efforts and resources. The scope may encompass a building, plant, facility, site, corporation, or a combination of these, but it must cover the activities, facilities, and decisions associated with the energy sources encompassed by the scope.

Establish a team. Initiating a team is a great way to reach the needed skills, knowledge, and relevant expertise, and an energy-management project is reliant on a team. Teams are great because they provide a range of perspectives, disperses the workload, eases implementation, promotes wider acceptance, and improves the potential for sustaining the system. The team must be made up of members from different areas of the facility concerned with the selection, procurement, consumption, reliability, disposal, or environmental impacts of fuels and energy systems.

Set the energy policy. An energy policy initiates commitment from top management towards energy performance improvement. The policy needs to address the organization’s energy priorities. The policy can range from only a few sentences to several paragraphs. Regardless of the length, it needs to be documented and understood by all employees.

recognize significant energy uses. To achieve the greatest performance improvement with the fewest resources, facilities need to recognize significant energy uses (SEU). SEU must receive special attention when initiating energy objectives, targets, and action plans, during training and competency evaluations of relevant personnel, when planning for effective operation and maintenance, and when monitoring and analyzing performance.

Determine energy performance indicators. Energy performance indicators (EnPIs) are measured parameters, ratios, or models that help to quantify energy use and efficiency improvements at the organization, facility, system, process, or equipment level. When compared to baseline values, they help to gauge performance and improvements.

Set energy objectives and targets. Once opportunities for energy improvement are identified and organized, energy objectives and targets for meeting the energy policy or performance commitment need to be set. For each objective, specific, quantifiable achievement targets must be outlined to help reach the overall goal.

Prepare an action planAn energy-management action plan is a comprehensive project guide that needs to be communicated to all responsible parties. It must define the activities to be completed, resources needed, personnel responsibilities, and methods for verifying results.


Manage and control documentation. An EnMS requires two types of information to be controlled: Documents and Records.

Documents: lay out expectations for energy-management actions and behaviors. Document control guarantees that the correct information is available and also helps manage external and nonessential information.

Records: Provide evidence of the results of those efforts. Accurate, accessible records are necessary to corrective and preventive efforts and for confirming system processes and results.

Communicate. Internal communication is a necessity for managing change. It keeps personnel in the line of energy-management activities, incentives, and accomplishments. This strengthens commitment and participation. The communication plan must include multiple options and ways for propagating information.

Confirm competency, training, and awareness. ISO 50001 requires positions associated with significant energy uses to have defined competencies, as well as evidence that the person responsible for the SEU has those competencies. Thus, the team must define the needed competencies, assess the personnel, and develop a plan to address any training needs.

Define energy procurement specifications. In order to comply with ISO 50001, an organization must define specifications for purchasing energy. The specifications may include quality and quantity requirements, characteristics (e.g., fuel composition, moisture, and energy content), approximate cost, delivery schedule, resource reliability, and voltage, current, and/or electricity peaking times. To ensure that the procurement plan and the EnMS are cohesive, the staff involved with energy procurement must understand SEUs and related controls; energy objectives, targets, and action plans; EnPI’s; operational controls critical to sustain improvements made by previous energy projects; and key maintenance items related to energy systems (e.g., compressed air, steam, etc.).


Verify legal and other requirements. A profile of the organization’s energy commitments needs to be gathered and must include any legal or voluntary obligations. Processes must be put in place to recognize, assess, and evaluate those requirements.

Implement a monitoring, measurement, and analysis plan. A primary requirement of ISO 50001 is that the organization establish an energy monitoring, measurement, and analysis plan. The components of the plan depend on the size and complexity of the organization and the monitoring equipment available. Typically, the plan includes system specifications, processes or equipment to be monitored, methods and frequency of data collection, processes for data analysis, and calibration requirements.

Conduct internal audits. An audit is a systematic, documented process that verifies that the EnMS meets the organization’s criteria, is effectively implemented and maintained, supports the energy objectives and targets, and improves energy performance. During an audit, the auditors’ interview personnel, observe activities, review documents, and examine records and data. Many facilities conduct audits annually.


Perform a management review. The organization must periodically review and evaluate its activities and energy performance to recognize opportunities for improvement. Typically, a management representative ensures that the appropriate information is collected, organized, and presented to enable management to carry out evaluations and make informed decisions.


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