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ISO 50001:2018 Pt. II – Prove Savings with Digitized Energy Models

This blog is part II in a series on the changes in the ISO 50001 standard, and how to maximize its benefits. For background on the new standard and the benefits read part I first.

Organizations with an energy management system (EMS) following the ISO 50001 standard at their sites must apply ISO 50001:2018 when gaining new or recurring certification. In the first blog of this series, we discussed major changes and how organizations can prepare and benefit from the new standard.

One of the most significant innovations, which we will dive into deeper in this article, is how digitized energy models can help companies make strategic energy decisions based on real energy savings. Recent results from our clients indicate that as part of a dedicated system of measurement and verification (M&V), digitized energy models can provide evidence of proof of savings and drive improvements in energy efficiency.

benefits of ISO 50001The benefits of ISO 50001, combined with regulatory pressure, such as the EED obligation in Europe, have motivated over 18,000 organizations with more than 46,000 sites worldwide[1] to achieve ISO 50001 certification. With the release of ISO 50001:2018, these organizations have been challenged by a “shift of focus” from the energy management system’s effectiveness “on paper” to the actual improvement on energy performance.

What is a digitized energy model?

Energy models combine the energy consumption data of a site or system (e.g. a production line) with meaningful Energy Performance Indicators (EnPI) to build a statistical model that accurately depicts the energy demand profile of the system. The model will consider the main influencing factors from production or weather (e.g. number of units produced, tonnage output or outside temperature). As a result, the energy model approximates the specific energy consumption “as is” and facilitates the comparison between the energy baseline/business-as-usual scenario and actual consumption patterns. The difference is depicted as energy efficiency improvement.

How does a digitized energy model facilitate proof of savings?

To demonstrate the basic principles by which energy models facilitate proof of savings from an EMS, consider this example from one of our clients. A European packaging group’s site produces caps and closures. Triggered from other supply chains, there are seasonal highs and lows in production. Furthermore, the energy consumption of molding machines, accounting for more than 70% of the site’s electricity use, depends on outside temperature.

The customer’s energy model, digitized on EcoStruxureTM Resource Advisor platform (below), extrapolates the total energy consumption under baseline conditions (blue) and compares to actual energy use detected from the metering system (orange). The difference (red) is the actual achieved energy efficiency improvement. The yellow trend line shows monetized actual energy cost savings. This example demonstrates how a digitized energy model enables the client to visualize the effectiveness of its efficiency improvements, as investments in new full electric molding machines begin to show savings after June. This methodology has already passed the last recertification of this client in 2018 and was proven to be adequate for future ISO 50001:2018 requirements from the auditors.

Resource Advisor energy model example

Why is proof of savings so important?

Without demonstrated proof of savings, a company’s ISO certification is at risk. In the past, it was sufficient for initial and recertification projects to have all ISO-related management structures and action plans in place to improve efficiency. External audits did not focus on checking whether these actions had been implemented and whether there was an impact on actual energy performance. This provoked some general criticism, as an EMS could obtain regular ISO certification without any real positive impact on an organization’s energy or carbon footprint.

The ISO 50001:2018 standard includes considerable tightening in this regard. Auditors are now required to check whether continuous improvement of energy performance is occurring and ask for appropriate methods to objectively prove savings. An organization that is not able to show evidence on improvements risks the loss of certification or will not be certified in the first place.

demonstrating proof of savings in industrial sites can be complesMetering and energy monitoring has become more important as the need to demonstrate continuous improvements strengthens. However, demonstrating proof of savings is not an easy task, especially when it comes to industrial sites with complex energy consumption and supply infrastructures. Trends of total energy consumption of complex production sites will have little or no indication about the success of an energy management system. Because production often follows seasonal or larger economic trends, energy consumption will increase or decrease accordingly. Changes in the mix of goods produced, planned or unplanned outages, and other production related incidents can also impact energy consumption. Moreover, many industries have a large demand for heating and cooling, which automatically indicates a weather-dependence of their energy consumption. For example, you may recall 2018 and 2019’s record summers, which brought many sites to the limits of cooling capacities. These influences need to be taken into account for a meaningful energy balance.

How can companies begin using a digitized energy model?

Digital energy & resource data platforms, such as EcoStruxureTM Resource Advisor, are a key tool for successful energy management. They allow companies to connect various data sources (energy meters, production database, weather data) to visualize extrapolated and real energy data on a daily basis. With the tools available in the Resource Advisor platform, energy managers can coordinate and evaluate energy saving initiatives and show data-based evidence to their decision makers and other stakeholders, including external auditors. If an energy model reveals decreased energy savings, for example, energy managers are equipped to predict and react to trends early to initiate corrective actions. Beyond site level, managers in different locations can share and compare energy data and benchmark initiatives on a corporate level, working jointly to achieve company-wide sustainability goals.

To start implementation of the new ISO 50001:2018 standard requirements, we recommend beginning with a GAP analysis with our ISO experts. The GAP analysis will be conducted onsite and includes interviews with plant management and the energy manager, and document review. The report of the GAP analysis will present actions, a roadmap and timeline to achieve ISO 50001:2018 certification. Stay tuned for the 3rd part of this series, presenting a case study on successful implementation of enterprise-wide energy management with ISO 50001.

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Contributed by Dirk Mestdagh, Client Sustainability Manager, Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services. To get in touch, email me at


[1]  Based on the latest survey of the International Organization for Standardization ISO