Get ISO 50001 in time for ESOS

So you need ISO 50001 certification in just 12 months?

The Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires large businesses (>250 employees or turnover >€50m turnover) to carry out audits of all their energy usage. One route to compliance is an Energy Management System (EnMS) certified to ISO 50001.  But given the Dec 2015 deadline for reporting ESOS compliance, is it possible to implement an EnMS and get it certified to ISO 50001 in time?


Well for those companies that already have a management system in place, it should be possible. If you have an ISO 9001 Quality or ISO 14001 Environmental Management System then you already have over half of the system requirements.


Are we there yet?

ISO 50001 has typical ISO clause requirements, such as policy, roles and responsibilities, planning, communication, documentation, internal audit, and management review.  You will have these in place for your existing system, so modifying this to cover the specific energy issues will ensure a smooth transition to the requirements of ISO 50001.


The energy-specific clauses include:

  • Carry out an energy review to determine the current consumption and establish an energy baseline
  • Identify and prioritise opportunities for improving energy performance, developing an energy measurement plan and performance indicators (EnPIs)
  • Put in place operational controls to maintain and improve energy performance
  • Consider energy performance when designing new, modifying and renovating.


Including these items into the existing management system will make it easier than starting from scratch.


What to do next

  • Start with reviewing your energy consumption – to include energy in buildings, industrial processes and transport.
  • Identify significant consumption and factors affecting it (e.g. production levels, weather, size of buildings etc).
  • Identify opportunities for improving energy performance and develop an action plan, targets and performance indicators.
  • Allocate responsibilities – to include facilities team, senior management, auditors and staff in general.
  • Look at operational controls and means of monitoring, so you can track your energy performance.
  • Start planning for certification.


Plan for Certification

Set a date that you’re aiming for to go for certification, it’s a good way to ensure your timetable doesn’t slip. Speak to your certification body earlier to register your interest and try to get something in the diary.


As with other ISO certifications, the process for ISO 50001 consists of two stages: Stage 1 (mostly consisting of document review) and Stage 2 (audit of the EnMS, how it runs & its effectiveness involving site visits, staff interviews etc).  While it is usual to let a management system run for a good period of time before certification, with the ESOS deadline speeding things up it appears that the average gap between stages 1 and 2 is 3-6 months.


So work with your consultant, energy manager and certification body to agree a plan for certification, including timetable and approach. All elements of the EnMS must be checked by the certification auditor but not necessarily all sites (though all sites must be checked through the three-year certification cycle). A sampling approach is valid to choose those sites to include in the initial audits, to ensure representative and significant energy consumption is included.


So, it is possible to achieve ISO 50001 in time for the ESOS deadline, especially if you modify your existing management system, but it’s always good to start now.


Benefits of ISO 50001

  • Understand energy use to find where to make improvements
  • Identify and manage your future energy supply risks and budgets
  • Improve overall performance to cut energy consumption and costs
  • Reduce carbon emissions and meet government reduction targets
  • Demonstrate environmental credentials to increase tender opportunities
  • Comply with ESOS.


More info on successful certifications (though with an ISO 14001 slant) can be found here.


Addendum: The Environment Agency has recently said if you are implementing an ISO 50001 Energy Management System as a form of compliance for ESOS, you now have until 30th June 2016 to achieve certification.




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