ISO 50001: How Ireland is leading the way in Energy Management

Mike's Enerit Blog Post September 2012

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In June 2011, the ISO 50001 standard for energy management systems was released by the International Standards Organization (ISO). The ISO 50001 standard is widely recognized as an excellent systematic management framework for all energy and CSR activities. Ireland is at the forefront internationally in the development of energy management standards and as a result, has one of the highest uptakes of energy management standards worldwide, with 50% of large Irish based companies participating in their application.

Strong commitment from the Irish Government including the establishment of Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has been a major driving force in the development and implementation of energy management standards in Ireland. In 1995 SEAI established LIEN (Large Industry Energy Network), a voluntary network involving 160 companies representing 60% of Ireland’s industrial energy use. These companies achieve energy performance improvements of 2% annually. Long-term members have improved energy performance by 33% between 1995 and 2010. €150mn in avoided energy costs has been achieved since the establishment of LIEN.

Experience has shown that uptake of EnMS standards is connected with Government programmes that encourage and help companies implement the standards. The SEAI/industry partnership has turned Ireland into an international leader in energy management. The country has accumulated highly skilled personnel with expertise, experience and know-how on the efficient implementation of EnMS.

Predecessors to ISO 50001 included IS 393 and EN 16001. IS 393 was developed in 2005 by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), SEAI and other key players. It was one of the first of its kind worldwide and provided the blueprint for the 2009 European standard EN 16001. By 2010, approximately 45 companies across 65 sites as part of an Energy Agreements programme were certified to EN 16001 and had achieved substantial improvements in energy efficiency, as well as savings.

Many of the MNCs based in Ireland (e.g. Pfizer, Google) are now leading the way in energy management for their international counterparts, a fact further reinforced by these organizations swift implementation of the ISO 50001 standard. Other examples of Irish based companies to achieve ISO 50001 certification Include, Diageo, Dairygold, Abbott, Arigna Fuels, Siemens, and University College Cork .

According to research, Germany and the UK are currently leading the way in ISO 50001 certifications worldwide. Ireland is coming up strong behind these countries and with the SEAI having a goal of ISO 50001 certification by 2013 for all its EAP members, the future for ISO 50001 in Ireland is bright.

These achievements and targets set the scene for the conference Creating the right environment for ISO 50001 to thrive and the ISO TC 242 committee meeting which were both held in Dublin recently. Ireland also lays claim to the first software in the world to automate all aspects of ISO 50001 as developed by energy management software provider Enerit Ltd.

The ISO 50001 standard follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act management model (PDCA) and it is expected that it will be used by up to 2 million organizations worldwide and influence up to 60% of the world’s energy use. In the 12 months following its release approximately 326 companies worldwide were certified and this exceeded the uptake of ISO 14001 and is similar to the uptake of ISO 9001 in the 1990’s. Now, just 2 months later the number of certifications has already risen to approximately 446.

The next generation of energy management standards are currently being developed and implemented including the US Superior Energy Performance (SEP) and the Energy Management Maturity Model (EM3) in Ireland. Again, Ireland is a leader in developing these new standards.

The ISO 50001 standard is a key element of Ireland’s 2007-2020 national energy reduction targets of 20% energy efficiency savings across all sectors by 2020 with a 33% target for the public sector and the development and implementation of EnMS’s is strongly recognized as a growth opportunity due to Ireland’s internationally recognized expertise and services in this area.

Dr Mike Brogan, COO, Enerit

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...it pulls all aspects of the standard into ONE manageable package and greatly simplifies the process.
Paul Farrell , Energy Lead, Global Pharmaceutical Company