This toolkit provides guidance for implementing and certifying an Energy Management System to ISO 50001 requirements. It includes links to key references, templates and detailed information available on this product.

Why ISO 50001?

ISO 50001 is the international standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMSs) that helps to ensure an organisation is more environmentally friendly, remains compliant with legal requirements and delivers the business benefits.

It is often the secret to locking in continual improvement for better energy performance over the longer-term. It does this through applying industry good practice standards using the Plan, Do, Check, Act framework.

A certified ISO 50001 system also provides exemption to undertaking an energy assessment as required by the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) in the UK.

How long does it take to implement?

The quickest amount of time you can implement ISO 50001 from conception to certification is typically six months or more, assuming you can demonstrate continual improvement in your energy performance.

This will only be effective if the systems are developed collaboratively between different stakeholders/locations and then integrated into the organisation’s business processes. A focused approach helps team members work together through an intense period of programmed activities while developing their skills and experience.

You will need to allow at least three months once the management system has been fully implemented to ensure it operates effectively before certification.

What you need to do

  1. Understand context for the organisation. Before developing an EnMS, the external and internal issues and drivers for better energy performance need to be understood. This includes the needs and expectations of interested parties and applicable legal requirements.

  2. Set out your Energy policy. It is essential that top management is on board and demonstrates its commitment through the company’s policy; this needs to address the energy sources/emissions (scope) and locations/limits (boundaries) that are to be covered by the EnMS.

    The Energy Policy should be set out to kick off the process. It should be appropriate to the purpose of the organisation and provide the direction for its energy planning and performance improvement activities. ISO 50001 includes key requirements that the policy needs to cover.

  3. Set up your energy management team. Identify and involve the key people who together can implement the EnMS standard and continual energy performance improvement, overcoming any challenges. Senior colleagues can help steer and act as ambassadors for the project. Delivery colleagues can act as key-connectors leading and co-ordinating local action.

    Provide structured training, as required, and help make the process as friction-free as possible for them to deliver on the requirements.

  4. Identify your significant energy uses and prioritise your opportunities. Carry out an energy review by analysing energy use and performance and identify the energy use which accounts for substantial energy consumption and/or offers considerable potential for energy performance improvement.

    Targeted, more detailed, energy audits can be useful to help focus effort and identify more energy improvement opportunities.

  5. Set up your key objectives, targets and action plans. Objectives can include both improvements to the EnMS to energise change as well as delivering specific and measurement energy performance improvements.

    Quite often focusing your effort on a small set of fundamental key objectives and risks is more effective to kick off the process and generate some good momentum. You can also apply the standard’s requirements in a phased approach to eventually achieve no non-conformities.

  6. Review your operational controls for energy performance and set appropriate criteria. This includes controls for effective operation and maintenance of the facilities, equipment and systems. Also incorporate controls to ensure better energy performance within design and procurement processes of equipment and assets as well as procurement of energy supplies.

    The best systems are not bureaucratic; supporting procedures and tools should only be focused to help facilitate action where they are required.

  7. Implement your monitoring, measurement and analysis plans. This should include reviewing the effectiveness of action plans, energy performance indicators, operation of significant energy uses and tracking actual verses expected consumption.

    Bespoke templates can be created to help each local team review their energy performance and consolidate the information required to effectively manage the subject; adding additional locations to the ISO 50001 system is then relatively easy.

  8. Get your significant energy users on board. This includes those who either have direct hands-on control, or can either influence or have decision-making impact, on significant energy use. Set up roles and responsibilities and put in place appropriate education, training, skills and experience as required; include those from within operations/procurement/design teams as well as key suppliers/contractors/consultants.

    Auditors like to see teams who are not only doing it because it’s needed but because they are into the subject and are also doing it for themselves.

  9. Document key information as a safeguard. ISO 50001 defines which information, as a minimum, should be documented to ensure the effectiveness of the EnMS and to demonstrate continual improvement is being delivered.

  10. Ensure continual improvement. Plan for regular internal audits and management reviews to assess and improve the operation and performance of the EnMS as well as energy performance itself. This can be done on a phased basis (say quarterly) at planned intervals over the year.

Certify or not to certify. For certification, allow plenty of lead-in time to identify and agree contract terms with the certification body and to plan in Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits.

Alternatively, an organisation can self-declare conformance to the ISO 50001 standard without the cost of certification.


Click here for a detailed ISO 50001 checklist. Fill in your own comments to monitor your organisation’s progress.

Last reviewed 26 April 2022