For organizations looking to increase their energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance—and for certification bodies wanting to help their clients do so—the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) now offers a solution.
Opening a door to acquiring these benefits is central to SCC’s new Energy Management Systems Accreditation Program. This program accredits certification bodies to certify organizations to ISO 50001 – Energy Management Systems – requirements with guidance for use, published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
“We are delighted to announce the launch of our new accreditation program,” says Chantal Guay, SCC’s vice-president, Accreditation Services. “ISO 50001 is changing the global mindset of business regarding energy management. Studies indicate that this standard could have a positive impact on some 60 per cent of the world’s energy use.”
ISO 50001 specifies energy management systems requirements. The standard provides public-and private-sector organizations with a framework to create management strategies for increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing costs and improving energy performance. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has adopted ISO 50001 and published it as a National Standard of Canada (CAN/CSA-ISO 50001).
Tremendous energy savings
There are currently about 190 organizations in some 26 countries now certified to ISO 50001. “Organizations that implement energy management systems have reported tremendous energy savings of 10 to 20 per cent within the first five years of adherence,” says Carol Buckley, director general of the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
“Many more countries plan to adopt ISO 50001; it’s quickly becoming the global standard for energy management systems,” she says. “ISO 50001 dispels the myth that energy is a fixed cost. When an organization implements this standard, it improves its energy performance, and that is a direct contribution to its bottom line.”
“With the combination of energy costs increasing, and incremental pressure on organizations to reduce their energy footprint,” says Guay, “it’s only logical to assume more and more organizations around the world will adhere to ISO 50001. As well, products and services from environmentally responsible organizations have a preferred place in the market.”
Key sectors to be accredited
According to Guay, SCC’s new accreditation program will accredit certification bodies that intend to certify organizations within industry, as well as within key sectors such as commercial buildings, transportation, institutional facilities and energy providers. The program, she says, is open to both Canadian and foreign certification bodies.
The eagerly awaited voluntary standard was introduced in June 2011. An ISO brochure, Win the energy challenge with ISO 50001, highlights the standard’s key benefits. Through NRCan’s Office of Energy Efficiency, the federal government is offering cost-shared assistance to industrial companies seeking to implement ISO 50001.
Top 10 of international standards
“There’s lots of interest in ISO 50001, because organizations can see the benefits of complying with it,” Buckley points out. “By May 2012—less than a year after ISO 50001 was launched—global demand for it was already in the top 10 of some 19,023 standards.”
“By following the ISO standard’s proven Plan-Do-Check-Act framework, an organization will achieve sustained year-over-year improvements in energy performance,” she adds. “As a result, an organization will become more competitive, and savings can be passed on to consumers.”
The Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC), was instrumental in spurring the development of ISO 50001. The development of such a standard was critical for Canada, as it did not have an existing standard for energy management—unlike several other industrialized countries. Canada was one of 38 countries that participated in the development of ISO 50001.
Supply chain, early adopters
“SCC expects that for this standard, as with most standards, the supply chain will likely be used to seek independent verification (certification) of ISO 50001,” says Guay. “This would be a business decision made through the supply chain.”
The early adopters of this standard are leading companies striving to improve their energy performance and competitiveness. Key considerations for these organizations are their energy costs, supply chain requirements and corporate profile, including social responsibility.
ISO 50001 applies to any organization wanting to improve its competitive position, particularly in the global marketplace.
Making savings visible
According to Buckley, a key advantage of ISO 50001 is its ability to make cost savings visible to everyone within an organization, including senior management. “An organization can track the benefits of implementing this standard,” she says. “As a result, the organization can eliminate concerns about the time involved in setting up the system, the up-front costs, and having little or no time to qualify the system’s benefits.”
Guay maintains that not only is it essential for organizations to develop an energy management system, but also to obtain accredited certification to ISO 50001. “A clear benefit of SCC-accredited certification lies in its huge advantage over self-declaring compliance to ISO 50001,” she says. “In self-declaring, an organization may not achieve anticipated results. Moreover, a misperception may arise that the standard is not as valuable as it truly is.”
Guay says that SCC looks forward to discussing the benefits of its new Energy Management Systems Accreditation Services Program with its stakeholders, including at SCC’s World Standards Day 2012 event, on Friday, October 12, at the Ottawa Convention Centre.