Energy Efficiency Series: Watts holding you back? #6

| October 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

In our last installment of the series on ISO 50001, we are going to take a look at companies that have implemented ISO 50001 and the resulting savings.  As we said in the first post, energy is like a tax on your business and there is no reason to not work to reduce the bill.  Already we have seen how industry leaders such as Cummins, marquee brands like Bentley, and countries with energy intensive economies like South Africa have used ISO 50001 to contain rising energy costs. 

We have also seen that despite the headlines, energy markets are still fraught with a great deal of uncertainty.  So, when it comes to the management of an organization, it is important to consider the big picture and look to minimize future risks.  Energy management systems like ISO 50001 are a crucial tool in reducing costs and improving efficiency and as we shall see, ISO 50001 is delivering results.

When ISO 50001 was first introduced in 2011, there were a number of major organizations that quickly adopted the standard to reduce energy costs.  These included major names like:

  • Lamborghini, Italy
  • China Steel Corporation, Taiwan
  • Delhi International Airport, India
  • Equinix Data Centre, Holland
  • Hyundai Motors, Korea
  • Lindt & Sprüngli, Germany
  • Northern Rail, UK
  • Pfizer, Ireland
  • Repsol Refinery, Spain
  • Tokyo Energy Service, Japan
  • Utico Middle East, UAE
  • WEG Equipamentos Elétricos, Brazil
  • Yokohama Tire Manufacturing, Thailand

Over the past few years, other companies have seen the value of ISO 50001 and implemented it. Coca-Cola’s U.K. operations used ISO 50001 to create a dashboard visualization of energy use throughout the bottling plant.  This has led to operational changes like increasing the temperature of the equipment filling bottles and cans to reduce cooling loads and increasing natural lighting of the plant to reduce electricity costs.

Schneider Electric’s operations used the work already performed for ISO 14001 to quickly implement ISO 50001.  As we discussed earlier, there is a lot of overlap between ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 so if your organization is ISO 14001 certified, you are already halfway to enjoying the benefits of ISO 50001. 

In Taiwan, AU Optronics used ISO 50001 to reduce energy use in its LCD screen plants by 10% in the first year alone.  The rural Municipality of Bad Eisenkappel, Austria used ISO 50001 to prioritize energy saving projects.  Bad Eisenkappel’s analysis found some unexpected results; for example, upgrading its waste water treatment plant was one of the most cost effective projects and one year after the upgrades the town used 25% less energy.


If anyone should be concerned about energy use, it would be an electric utility.  Seeking to “eat” less of its own product, Dahanu Power Station in India used ISO 50001 to improve operational efficiency and upgrade equipment.  As a result, the company saved itself 96.4 million Rupees a year (over $1.5 million) and was able to put more electrons onto the grid to increase profits.

It is important to stress the point that an ISO 50001 analysis might give unforeseen results.  This is the advantage of having a set methodology: it opens up the ability to look for savings in places one might not have considered.  ISO 50001 is also an important tool in organizing information for the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders.  There is no reason to not demonstrate a company’s commitment to effective management through reducing energy costs.


Companies seeking to issue corporate social responsibility reports (CSR) can also follow the example of insurance giant Aflac.  Through incorporation of its iconic duck mascot, Aflac extends its brand recognition in its CSR report by showing how the company is “Protecting the Habitat.”  Aflac’s CSR outlined how it used the process of ISO 50001 certification to continue to improve upon its already significant 35% reduction of energy used per square foot of building space from a 2007 baseline.

“ISO 50001 represents the latest best-practice thinking in energy management. The standard outlines what organizations need to develop and implement to control and reduce energy use. The international standard outlines energy management practices that are considered to be the best globally, and provides a framework of requirements. These requirements help organizations to develop a policy for more efficient use of energy, fix targets and objectives to meet the policy, use data to better understand and make decisions about energy use, measure the results, review how well the policy works, and continually improve energy management.”

Aflac 2012 CSR Report

The use of ISO 50001 has been demonstrated to help companies save money and provide a clear organization for responsibility in making processes more energy efficient.  The reflective nature of the standard (reviews of improvement in performance) means that a company can continue to improve its systems to make its energy dollars go farther. 

With rising energy costs and persistent uncertainty over future price, it is vitally important to the continued success of a company to minimize risks posed by energy prices.  Also, having the data collected from ISO 50001 makes the production of CSRs and other third party requests for data much easier to satisfy.  In the end, there is little to lose and huge savings to gain from undertaking an ISO 50001 analysis.  Your shareholders and stakeholders will thank you.


Category: ISO50001, Op Ed, Series

About the Author ()

John Nash Maravich graduated from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment as a Master of Environmental Management in 2013. His thesis examined the effect of changing fossil fuel markets, capital costs for equipment, and recent regulatory changes by the US Environmental Protection Agency on the United States' energy economy and operational power plant fleet. Mr. Maravich also holds a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a past recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greater Research Opportunity Fellowship. Mr. Maravich is currently a consultant for Sustainable Industrial Solutions.

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