What is the difference between ISO 50001 and ISO 14001 certification?
Numerous companies that are already certified with the ISO 14001 standard are currently considering what advantages an energy management system based on ISO 50001 can bring and how these two systems can coexist given that both seem to pursue common objectives.
The objective of an ISO 14001 certification is the implementation of an environmental management system that helps the company reduce the impacts it has on the environment, while the objective of the ISO 50001 certification is the implementation of an energy management system that improves performance of energy consumption in the organization. Unlike the LEED or BREEAM sustainability certifications that pursue the same objectives, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 have totally different objectives although the results sought are aligned.
The ISO 14001 standard specifies the criteria for environmental management systems and provides a framework of specifications for organizations to assess and improve their environmental impact without establishing a methodology to control energy performance.
The ISO 50001, which is an energy management standard, focuses specifically on the ability of organizations to manage and use energy resources efficiently.
ISO 50001 provides an adequate methodology to improve the energy performance of an organization, while ISO 14001 is designed to reduce overall environmental impact.
ISO 50001 establishes the way to plan, implement, evaluate, and review an energy management system with energy performance indicators. These indicators allow the results of the planned energy improvement actions to be measured, in a way that is not linked to other parameters, and monitored through a continuous energy audit process.
ISO 50001 focuses exclusively on energy management and provides a framework of requirements that allows organizations to use data to better understand the use and consumption of energy, and thus help pave the way to improve their energy performance. It is based on the ISO management model of continuous improvement and it is designed to be compatible with existing management system standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
ISO 50001 can be used in conjunction with other ISO management standards to help identify energy saving opportunities, or independently in the case, for example, of organizations especially concerned about the cost of energy.
Advantages of integrating both certifications
Organizations that are already applying an ISO management standard can easily integrate the ISO 50001 standard into their management systems. The same tools and techniques can be used for the common activities of ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, such as document management, audit planning, corrective measures and management in general. A good example is the audit and management processes of corrective measures of ISO 14001 that can also be used for those same processes of ISO 50001.
The advantages of this integration are:
- The ISO management procedures of an organization can be easily adapted to constitute a single integrated system by streamlining the flow of information and minimizing the duplication of documents.
- Better management of resources and time by minimizing administrative paperwork that can be dedicated to identifying and taking advantage of energy-saving opportunities.
- More dynamic workflow since it allows a better teamwork and energy saving measures and their approval can be managed more efficiently and more quickly.
- Greater control of documents thanks to the history of audits, energy saving measures and results.
- Less duplication of documents in all management systems.
- Faster and easier location of information so that records are not lost and relevant information is delivered to the appropriate recipients.
- Easier planning of management activities (eg, audits, meetings, measurements) with reminders when the date approaches.
- Faster implementation of energy efficiency measures
- Ability to track the certifications.
- Standardized methods for processing environmental suggestions and energy savings.
- Efficient and strategic management of goals and objectives.
- Automatic report generation to monitor energy efficiency improvements.
How does ISO 50001 work?
The ISO 50001 standard is based on the same continuous improvement cycle as the other ISO standards. Therefore, to achieve an integration of the different standards it is necessary to bring together all the different teams under the direction of a single person in charge of an integrated management system, have a management team made up of two people, the energy director and a specialist in management systems, and create interdisciplinary teams capable of identifying and implementing opportunities for improvement.
Adequately implementing both measures is an advantage that every company should implement. Not only do the results please current and future customers, but the internal efficiencies created can help reduce operational costs tremendously. Although
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