What is ISO 50005:2021? – How it can help reduce energy use and carbon emissions

Small businesses account for the vast majority, around 99.9%, of all UK firms and half of business-related emissions with the sheer volume of these businesses and carbon emissions contribution, there must be more done to drive real, transformative and committed progress towards Net-Zero at all levels of UK industry as foreseen by the UK Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener issued in October 2021.

It can be particularly challenging for smaller business with fewer resources to take that first step toward Net Zero, particularly as clear, practical guidance tailored for smaller businesses can be hard to come by.

ISO 50005:2021 could ensure that no matter what the organization size, everyone can take the first step to a Net-Zero future.

This article looks at the newly published ISO 50005:2021 entitled Energy management systems, Guidelines for a phased implementation, which simplifies the implementation of an Energy Management System for all types of organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A Bonus Tip is given at the end of this episode that you won’t want to miss as it will save some of the costs of implementing an Energy Management System based on ISO 50005:2021.

So, what is ISO 50005:2021, why use it, what are its benefits and can your organisation be certified to ISO 50005…Firstly,

What is ISO 50005:2021?

It is an ISO Standards providing guidance for organizations on establishing a phased (or staged) approach to implement an energy management system (EnMS). This phased approach is intended to support and simplify the implementation of an EnMS for all types of organizations, in particular for small and medium-sized organizations (SMOs).

It enables the user of to implement a phased approach to achieve a level of energy management appropriate to its objectives and to build a strong foundation which can subsequently be extended towards meeting the requirements of ISO 50001:2018.

Why use ISO 50005:2021?

ISO 50005:2021 simplifies the implementation of an Energy Management System by breaking down the phases or stages that are needed, in this respect, it mirrors almost all the requirements of ISO 500001:2018, which provides for Energy Management System.

As you might expect, the contents of ISO 50005 follow the structure of ISO 50001:2018, which includes the Context of the organization, Leadership, Planning, Support, Operation, Performance evaluation & Improvement. However, in ISO 50005 these are called Elements and within each Element, there are Levels, which I will cover in a few moments.

Additionally, two annexes are provided with further information on continual improvement and advancing of the EnMS & the Level version of the maturity model.

What is the maturity model and the role of Levels?

The use of the Levels can be seen most clearly as a maturity model, which provides a continuum along which progress can be made incrementally from one level to the next. The four levels represent a progression from a low level of energy management experience to a level approaching ISO 50001 conformity. The four levels can generally be described as follows.

a) Level 1:

Enabling energy management: initial management support, some awareness and understanding of energy use and opportunities for energy savings, collection of some energy data (e.g. energy bills), no systematic energy management practices.

b) Level 2:

Enhancing energy management: energy policy in place, formal team, conduct basic analysis of energy consumption and energy cost data, evaluate opportunities for energy savings, some systematic energy management practices.

c) Level 3:

Emerging EnMS: systematic energy management practices, energy management becomes strategic, monitoring and review improved, legal compliance is part of the EnMS, the organization learns.

d) Level 4:

Established EnMS: continual improvement of the EnMS and energy performance, core elements of ISO 50001 implemented, ready for gap analysis versus ISO 50001, if desired.

An example of the application of the maturity model including the Levels can be seen most clearly in the Energy Review Element with Level 1 covers the identification of energy types and energy uses through Level 2, which looks at current and past energy use including consumption and costs data, Level 3, which builds in preliminary future energy use predictions to the final Level 4 that covers firmer energy estimates and updates on infrastructure changes within the organisation.

When using the maturity model, the organization should consider that for each topic under an element the criteria for a certain level can include the criteria of the previous levels in a cumulative manner. Although the levels build on each other, they do not necessarily have to be implemented in four sequential steps. If, for example, the organization has planned to reach Level 3 of a certain element, it does not have to first implement Level 1, Level 2 and then Level 3. It can implement Level 3 directly, taking into account the criteria of Levels 1 and 2.

In other words, ISO 50005 offer maximum flexibility to the development of an Energy Management System.

Can I get certified to ISO 500005:2021?

The simple answer is No. ISO 50005:2021 is not a requirements standard and cannot be directly certified. However, it could become subject to inspection assessment by an accredited Inspection Body, in the same way that BS 8555 and ISO 14005.

Additionally, it should be noted that reaching Level 4 for all twelve elements does not necessarily lead to meeting all the requirements of ISO 50001:2018 for certification. So, it will not be possible to certified to ISO 50001:2018 directly from meeting all the Elements and Level 4 guidelines of ISO 50005:2021 but a gap-analysis will show any shortcomings and allow for additional processes to be put in-place to meet ISO 50001 requirements and those of the certification body.

Benefits of ISO 50005:2021?

The benefits of the use of a phased (or staged) approach are that it will enable quick wins to be achieved in reducing energy usage, and allow businesses to build upon these successes over time allowing the organisation to:

  • decide the scope and pace of its EnMS implementation to suit available resources and organizational needs;
  • decide on the elements to target and the desired maturity level(s);
  • start with areas that indicate the greatest potential for energy performance improvement, return on investment or align with current operational practices;
  • stimulate a positive culture towards energy management;
  • deliver simple and/or low-cost energy performance improvements and associated energy cost savings, emission reductions and other benefits;
  • build initial successes to increase credibility and thus secure commitment and support for further development of the EnMS;
  • build a strong foundation to expand an existing EnMS towards meeting the requirements of ISO 50001.

It enables the user of this document to implement a phased approach to achieve a level of energy management appropriate to its objectives and to build a strong foundation which can subsequently be extended towards meeting the requirements of ISO 50001:2018. This document is consistent with ISO 50001:2018 but does not cover all of its requirements.

As a bonus tip…

How to get a free copy of ISO 50005:2021?

Our bonus tip for this article, there is an offer to obtain one of the 100,000 free copies being sponsored by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of their commitment to support small and medium-sized organizations to manage their energy performance and help the UK to meet Net Zero. 

Organizations downloading the standard are asked to sign up to the SME Climate Commitment at the UK Business Climate Hub, where further resources, support, and information on how to take action against climate change are available.

So, to summarise:

The ISO 50005:2021 provides the guidelines for a phased implementation of an Energy Management System (EnMS) for all types of organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

As such it is compatible with ISO 50001:2018 with a gap analysis to further aid the implementation of a Energy Management System and be eligible for certification.

You can purchase a copy of ISO 50005:2021 and ISO 50001:2018 from your National Standardisation Body with a selection of the main Standards Bodies given in the table below:

Standards BodyWebsite
Standards Canadahttps://global.ihs.com/
Standards Australiahttps://www.techstreet.com/

If this article has helped to advance your understanding of ISO 50005:2021 & Energy Management Systems, please leave a comment in the box below.

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