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can an energy management standard save the Day?
by RONA FRIeD, PH.D.
rona Fried, Ph.D., is
president of sustainable
business.com, the online
community for green
business: daily green
business and investor
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green investing newsletter, The Green Investor.
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Anew international standard that governs energy management launched in Geneva on June 15. Because of its broad applications, ISO 50001
could influence 60 percent of the world’s energy use, says
its developer, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The new framework is designed to reduce energy
demand through improved efficiency in industrial plants,
commercial facilities and entire organizations. ISO says
there is significant market demand for a global energy management standard, and it expects it will be adopted relatively
quickly and widely.
It couldn’t come at a better time. The news on climate
change is ever more dire, food prices are rising rapidly, and
demand on the world’s shrinking water resources is increasing. Energy use affects all of these pivotal issues.
The most serious recession in 80 years has had a minimal effect on global emissions. Even the statistics-oriented
International Energy Agency (IEA) expressed concern at
the growth of global carbon emissions. In a report released
in May, IEA said carbon emissions hit all-time highs in
2010, and that the prospects for keeping global temperatures from rising 2°C ( 3. 8°F) are dim.
Energy is the third-largest expense for businesses
(after employees and real estate), representing an average of 19 percent of total expenses, and it accounts for
75 percent of a company’s carbon footprint. An energy
standard should accelerate adoption of energy-efficiency
practices and drive companies to continuously improve
their energy performance.
ISO 50001 complements the existing ISO environmental
management and quality management standards.
“Every day, organizations all over the world deal with
issues such as energy supply availability, reliability, climate
change and resource depletion,” said Edwin Piñero, chair
of the ISO Energy Management Committee. “A critical
element in addressing these issues is how effectively an
organization manages its energy use.”
what is iso?
ISO, a nonprofit, is the world’s largest developer and
publisher of international standards. The group is best
known for its ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO
14001 (environmental management) standards, but it has
developed key standards in almost every economic sector.
ISO says it “only develop[s] standards for which there is a
clear market requirement.”
The standards are highly influential and often widely
adopted, as evidenced by the success of ISO 9001, which
has more than 1 million certifications and has become the
global benchmark for quality management in corporations.
ISO 50001 complements ISO 9001 and 14001; using all
of them will enable organizations to manage their most
important issues holistically.
what Does iso Accomplish?
All ISO standards are voluntary, but they tend to
quickly become de facto requirements as rapid uptake by
competitors drives nonparticipating companies to adopt
them as well.
Rather than setting absolute benchmarks for performance, ISO provides a framework that companies use to
establish their own benchmarks. Companies create a baseline and targets for improvement. They measure the results
and continually raise their targets when they get close to
reaching them. The idea is for companies to continually
improve their performance. To achieve ISO-certification,
organizations must demonstrate that they’ve set benchmarks and met them.
An international standard for managing energy use will
enable benchmarking, provide a systematic roadmap for
achieving energy savings, help document those energy savings to comply with regulations and help drive supply chain
initiatives. Since the process is based on measurement and
verification, the standard will help companies stay on track
to meet their stated energy policies.
ISO 50001 is designed to provide these benefits:
• Create a framework for integrating energy efficiency
into management practices.
• Make better use of energy-consuming assets.
• Benchmark, measure, document and report energy-intensity improvements and their projected impact on
reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• Enable transparency and communication on the management of energy resources.
• Describe energy management best practices and good
energy management behaviors.
• Evaluate and prioritize the implementation of new
• Promote energy efficiency throughout the supply chain.
• Enable energy management improvements in the context of greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects.
Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
which green stocks will benefit?
It’s good news for companies that offer energy efficiency services, such as Ameresco Inc. (AMRC), Johnson
Controls Inc. (JCI), Lime Energy Co. (LIME) and Orion
Energy Systems Inc. (OESX). ST