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What is ISO 50001?


ISO 50001 is a set of internationally recognized standards that helps businesses and industries establish, implement, maintain or improve their energy management systems. It was created with the idea that it is possible and advisable to seek continuous improvement. 


ISO 50001 was established as a global collaborative effort from the members of the ISO/TC 301 technical committee, whose scope oversees standardization across energy management and savings efforts. Though compliance is not legally required for all industries, many contracts or local laws require it. Due to the nature of these standards, companies continue to seek certification at a rapid pace.


Being ISO 50001:2018 certified is an effective method of managing your energy system to maximize efficiency, keep costs low and remain compliant with pre-established standards or laws. An ISO 50001 certification might also qualify you for government subsidies. It is incredibly beneficial for the environment because, in following ISO 50001 standards, you're working on a continuous cycle of improvement to minimize your environmental impact and improve the world around you.


To receive an ISO 50001 energy management certification, you must work through an external certification body that meets ISO's Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) standards. These certification bodies may be accredited, but not always. Accreditation is an optional layer that gives certifying bodies further independent confirmation. 


You can locate these agencies for certification by contacting your local governing body or exploring the International Accreditation Forum. Once you successfully receive ISO 50001 certification, it's important to remember you are not certified by ISO. Always advertise your certification status as "ISO 50001 certified" or similar.

ISO 50001 standards establish sustainable processes to achieve energy management objectives in different industries

What is an energy management system?

An energy management system (EnMS) or energy data management system (EDMS) is your organization's plan for managing energy consumption, utilization and monitoring. The ISO 50001 works well with the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) action model, which helps plants and businesses strive for continual growth and improvement.


When used in conjunction with ISO 50001 standards, the PDCA action model focuses on raising and controlling efficiency and consistently improving processes, rather than remaining complacent or at the minimum threshold for environmental improvement. As circumstances change, you must adjust your EnMS to accommodate those shifts.


The PDCA is a circular cycle in a constant state of rotating motion. Each phase overlaps with the other, working in conjunction to help your business stay on top of your energy data management system plan. When broken down into its steps, your PDCA EnMS should include the following.



Before you can improve your system, you need to know how it operates. "Plan" refers to gathering and analyzing your existing data to create a baseline strategy. Calculate how much energy your organization currently consumes and use that information to establish energy performance indicators (EnPIs) to measure your progress later on. 



"Do" is the stage where you put your research and action plan to work. Establish training programs for employees and communicate across departments and with external stakeholders. Identify critical or vulnerable areas where there is room for improvements to energy consumption or environmental impact, and procure any necessary equipment and products. Once you've identified your most significant energy-consuming processes or machines, list and enact ways to minimize them. Strive for the EnPIs you established during the planning phase.



Your energy plan should be more than sustainable — it should be in constant, forward-moving motion. As you activate steps of your action plan, "check" your successes by analyzing new data from independent tests and energy billing to form results and compare them to your baseline and EnPIs. 


Decide whether the hypotheses and goals you created during the planning phase were realistic and achievable. If so, continue toward further implementation. If not, start the cycle over and create a new action plan using your new data. Identify new variables that may be impacting how your organization consumes and uses energy.



"Act" involves compiling your findings and successes through internal audits and reviews and using the information to implement a company-wide strategy or objective. These reports will contain information about your action plan, tests and adjustments, as well as a summary of effectiveness. You will also identify areas where you can continue to improve upon after these changes have been successfully implemented. Now you're ready to restart the cycle with your new findings in mind.



The benefits of becoming ISO 50001 certified

The former variation of ISO 50001, ISO 50001:2011, has been withdrawn and replaced with ISO 50001:2018, the current active edition. Critical changes include a stronger emphasis on the importance of commitment from management and leadership within your organization, additional internal and external communication requirements, further clarification regarding the energy review process, baseline and energy performance indicators and some updated language.


These changes make it even easier for organizations to adopt ISO 50001 energy management standards and seek certification. This certification is more than a cost-effective energy data management solution. It's a signal for clients, stakeholders and others in your industry that your organization has committed to more efficient, sustainable practices.


When you work toward ISO 50001:2018 certification, your organization will enjoy the following benefits:


  • Increase energy efficiency: Identifying areas to cut energy consumption and enhance existing protocols have helped organizations improve energy performance by up to 30.6%. Improved energy efficiency can help you meet corporate goals, improve your organization's public image and boost profits.
  • Reduce energy costs: Energy efficiency leads to reduced energy consumption, which translates to lower utility bills. Reports demonstrate an average of $36,000 to $938,000 in energy savings per year. With 12% of major energy savings occurring within the first 15 months, it's also a fast process, so you can start reaping rewards as soon as possible. As energy costs fluctuate, your new procedures can harness more control over your usage and expenses. Reallocate those savings toward other areas of the organization, like equipment upgrades or job improvement.
  • Keep in compliance with regulations: An ISO 50001 certification can help you navigate regulatory compliance by completing required reports and meeting specific standards. This saves you the cost and frustration typically associated with unexpected legal challenges.
  • Receive government subsidies: In some countries and cities, maintaining ISO 50001 standards may make your organization eligible for government subsidies or tax savings. It may also reflect on applicable insurance policies and loan applications.
  • Save the environment: Energy consumption is a significant cause of rising greenhouse gas emissions across the world. By reducing energy consumption and implementing more environmentally conscious procedures — such as optimizing raw material consumption — your organization will do its part to minimize its carbon footprint. While preserving the environment, you can also preserve your own resources, leading to even more savings and helping you retain a competitive edge over others in your industry.


This list is not exhaustive. By implementing important changes and staying up to date on regulations and compliance measures, you will achieve other indirect advantages. For example, environmentally friendly procedures may create a safer, healthier and more positive work atmosphere for employees, leading to increased company morale and employee retention. 


Your dedication to sustainability and reduced energy usage may earn the attention of stakeholders, clients or talent. Existing in a state of continuous improvement will foster an environment that promotes adapting and learning, which will benefit management, clients and employees alike.


Industries that can benefit from ISO 50001:2018 certification

ISO 50001:2018 certification is advantageous across many industries, but it is especially useful in the automotive, food and beverage and manufacturing sectors. Below, explore a few examples of why and how this certification can be beneficial to an organization.



Automotive production processes are often plagued with excessive energy and resource consumption, with companies racing to reach the top. This high level of competition creates an increasingly high demand for energy.


Many automotive manufacturers have implemented greener practices along the production line to manage energy costs and utilize more sustainable materials. For example, some companies have started using recycled metals and fabrics to design vehicle interiors and exteriors and crafting parts out of eco-friendly alternatives to traditional materials. 


Many of these changes have led to new products, like the electric car and more fuel-efficient automotive systems. These modifications are also an excellent way for producers to show the public they're taking steps to lessen their impact on the environment, which studies show is great for brand image.


Meeting ISO 50001:2018 standards can help your automotive company minimize production costs, maximize profits and create more sustainable practices by providing a list of specifications and instructions for you to follow. In such a competitive industry, ISO 50001 certification will help you achieve and retain a competitive edge. 

Meeting ISO 50001:2018 standards helps automotive companies minimize production costs and maximize profits

Food and beverage

In recent years, interest in food and beverage companies that utilize eco-friendly production methods has grown as consumers become more educated about the environmental implications of mass food and beverage production. More than half of consumers are more likely to purchase or sample products from a company conscious of their corporate social responsibility (CSR). 


This has led to brands focusing on CSR and seeking more sustainable and less intrusive methods. In some cases, this means working alongside farmers, rather than in opposition to them, or sourcing products from sustainable places that utilize similar practices. 


Of course, ISO 50001 benefits for the food and beverage industry go beyond public image. They can also improve your bottom line by helping you manage your energy consumption and identify more efficient practices throughout each step of the process — from harvesting and production to packaging and distribution. Because food and beverage businesses are held to stringent governmental standards that are sometimes costly to meet, reduced energy prices can help you retain more profit.


Classical manufacturing companies

In the United States alone, the industrial sector was responsible for more than 30% of all energy consumption in 2018. In the same year, Asia was the largest global region for energy consumption, largely due to its growth in manufacturing. Most of the manufacturing industry's energy use comes from industrial boilers, heating, drive power, cogeneration and facility management, like HVAC and lighting. 


Regular energy audits are critical for maintaining cost-efficient practices and equipment, and ISO 50001 standards provide facilities with achievable benchmarks to measure success. Implement energy-saving processes throughout production and replace outdated, energy-draining equipment with up-to-date tools and machines. You can also implement energy-saving strategies outside of the manufacturing and distribution processes and inside the facility itself, including lighting, heating and cooling.


Using an EDMS solution like zenon can help you make these important changes while remaining compliant with governmental regulations and industry standards. It can also help your organization work toward sustainable manufacturing processes, creating a smaller carbon footprint.


How zenon helps companies achieve ISO 50001 certification

Now that you know how effective energy management systems can transform your production line, benefit your CSR and sustain the environment, you need a clear picture of how you're currently consuming and utilizing energy and resources. This is where zenon can help your business. 


Your organization can use zenon to collect and evaluate crucial data while monitoring progress toward benchmarks and company-wide objectives. You can easily integrate zenon into your existing production processes, and its ease of use makes it accessible for each member of your team, regardless of role or skill. We designed our platform to adjust to your needs, with flexible options and customized views. It's also scalable, so as you grow, your EDMS software will do the same.


Save time by letting zenon acquire and process the information you need to achieve ISO 50001 certification. With our EDMS, you can:


  • Collect and evaluate data: With zenon, you collect and view data faster and more easily than before. Get detailed looks at trends and figures or generate an overview. Use built-in features like Dynamic reporting with comprehensive KPIs to analyze data and identify critical patterns to track their relationship to your energy consumption. zenon reduces the need for paperwork, minimizing the chance for human error and giving you instant access to information. Because zenon supports more than 300 communication protocols, you can process and share the information your way, with role-based authentication and security features protecting your data.
  • Create benchmarks and clear statistics: Use zenon to generate graphical reports for a visual representation of your company's energy trends and costs. Our software includes pre-made templates for easier access and enables you to customize your experience to fit your preferred viewing method. Use these reports alongside analytics to compare data and track objectives while working toward achieving the EnPIs established during your action plan. 
  • Identify and achieve savings: Identify areas where your company might be overspending or wasting valuable energy or resources. Let zenon help you visualize how they fit into your overall production process, including equipment information and operations.


Utilize simple production integration: Enjoy all of zenon's features in a single package for a cost-effective solution that integrates seamlessly into your existing environment. Service Grid by zenon makes it even easier, utilizing the network to connect processes across different work locations.

Energy Data Management with zenon is a blueprint to work towards improved processes in more than one industry

Learn more about using zenon for your EDMS needs

COPA-DATA's zenon Software Platform is what your organization needs to identify and monitor critical energy management areas, so you can continue creating and implementing the EnMS you need to reduce costs and shrink your carbon footprint. With decades of experience in the automation industry, we at COPA-DATA are continuously seeking new ways to improve our software and services to keep important algorithms up to date. You can rest assured that zenon is ready to help you achieve your goals and stay competitive.


Contact a representative to learn more about what zenon can do for your EDMS action plan.