ISO 50001:2019 – A new version, why and what is in store for us?

pdca-magnifyingAfter five years since first publication, the process of reviewing the ISO 50001 energy management systems standard has started. Hence, the latest draft is currently being reviewed by the ISO committee energy experts around the world.

Like all other ISO management system standards (e.g. 9001, 14001, 45001), the ISO 50001 energy management system standard is the result of international expert consensus offering the benefits of global management experience and good practice. Management system standards (MSSs) are usually based on managing an organization’s processes using a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) approach to achieve the intended outcomes.

However, despite sharing many common elements, most MSSs are structured differently. Consequently, using the new High Level Structure (HLS) format, all new and revised ISO standards will be aligned to ensure consistency and make integration easier. The HLS harmonizes the structure, text and definitions, while leaving the standards developers with the flexibility to integrate specific technical topics and requirements. Both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 have already been updated to follow this high level structure. It will also make it easier for companies that are getting re-certified for ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015 to also consider adopting a best practice energy management system based on ISO 50001.

The new version of ISO 50001 is expected to be published in January 2019. Organizations normally have three years to migrate to these new versions from the day it is published. A similar transition period is expected for the new ISO 50001 standard (so there is no need to panic if you already are certified.)

The main structure change is that section 4 of the existing standard (ISO 50001:2011), which details all of the EnMS requirements), is expanded into seven sections (or clauses) following the HLS (Annex SL):

ISO 50001:2011 ISO 50001:2019 (HLS)
1 Scope

2 Normative references

3 Terms and definitions

4 Energy management system requirements

   4.1 General requirements

   4.2 Management responsibility

   4.3 Energy policy

   4.4 Energy planning

   4.5 Implementation and operation

   4.6 Checking

   4.7 Management review

1 Scope

2 Normative references

3 Terms and definitions

4 Context of the organization

5 Leadership

6 Energy Planning

7 Support

8 Operation

9 Performance evaluation

10 Improvement


Other changes considered for inclusion are:

  • Replacement of words such as “documented procedure” and “record” with “documented information”.
  • Increased focus on leadership and top management involvement in the EnMS implementation.
  • A risk based approach to ensure the EnMS is able to achieve its objectives by considering the risks and opportunities at various steps in the PDCA process.
  • Organisations are encouraged to view corrective action as a broader concept than simply preventing a non-conformance from re-occurring.
  • Implementation of change management processes to control unplanned events that may affect the energy performance and the EnMS.

Regarding proposed “technical” changes around specific energy management requirements, there is still some debate around fundamental definitions such as energy performance, energy efficiency, energy consumption and energy use. This includes the use of “Energy Review” as compared to energy audits. Also included in the discussions are how energy performance indicators (EnPIs) are defined and how effective they are in measuring energy performance (this is a future discussion for another day.) The challenge as always with the development and revision of any standard is to keep them broad enough to be applicable to any type or size of organizations but still be effective and make better through the revision process.

My experience so far of the latest ISO 50001 draft is the main text will not be longer and the majority of any increased length will be made up of additional appendices. These additional appendices are aimed at providing more practical advice on understanding and implementing the changes.

The bottom line about what you really need to consider at this stage is:

  • The new version of ISO 50001 will not be available until 2019 so do not put off your decision to implement now (imagine the energy savings you will achieve over 2-3 years if you start now!)
  • It will follow the HLS structure so if you have already begun implementing or transitioning to ISO 9001:2015 or ISO 14001:2015, start planning how you can integrate your ISO 50001 EnMS and be ready for the new revision.
  • There will be even more common and duplicated processes (internal audits, management review, documented information, competency) that can be integrated now to provide more efficiency and quicker implementation of ISO 50001.
  • Your current management system documents and information will not be obsolete and major changes will not be required.
  • Another round of revisions is yet to come so provide any comments you have on the existing ISO 50001:2011 standard to your national standards body representative.


ISO 50001 on energy management is under revision, Tranchard, S., ISO website, 14th June 2016

Management system standards, ISO website, last accessed by author 17th Oct 2016.

Management makeover – New format for future ISO management system standards, Tangen, S. & Warris, AM., ISO website, 18th July 2012

What’s brewing in ISO 50001. Nijjhar, R. (2016, September/October), Environment & Energy Management magazine

Into the Future – How key management system standards are changing, Reid, Dan, R. American Society for Quality website, March 2014

ISO members, ISO website, last accessed by author 17th Oct 2016.


Author Notes:

Mike Brogan, CEO & Co-Founder of Enerit, has over 20 years of experience in the area of energy management and management system standards. He has implemented enterprise-wide management system software solutions throughout Europe and North America. Mike is an expert on the ISO TC 242 (Energy Management) committee currently reviewing the ISO 50001 standard. to ensure excellent energy management practice throughout an organization. The software brings transparency, for example, senior managers can view their company's energy management system by securely logging into the software.
Liam McLaughlin , eNMS