Will ISO Energy Management Standard ISO 50001 make the difference?

Energy ManagementOn schedule, the new international ISO standard about energy management, ISO 50001, is now available on the ISO Website www.iso.org. ISO 50001 will establish a framework to manage energy for industrial plants; commercial, institutional, or governmental facilities; or entire organizations. Targeting broad applicability across national economic sectors, according to ISO it is estimated that the standard could influence up to 60 % of the world’s energy use.

The above estimate is based on information provided in the section, “ World Energy Demand and Economic Outlook ”, in the International Energy Outlook 2010, published by the US Energy Information Administration. This cites 2007 figures on global energy consumption by sector, including 7 % by the commercial sector (defined as businesses, institutions, and organizations that provide services), and 51 % by the industrial sector (including manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction).

As ISO 50001 is primarily targeted at the commercial and industrial sectors, adding the above figures provides an approximate total of 60 % of global energy demand on which the standard could have a positive impact.

In addition, ISO is launching the standard on 17 June at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG). Presentations on the following themes are planned:

  • ISO 50001 within the context of ISO standards in general and how they can contribute to solving global problems
  • A description of ISO 50001 and its benefits
  • How the standard was developed, who was involved and how they overcame challenges
  • What ISO 50001 can do for developing countries.

Also some supporting documents became available such as a general explanation of the standard, a special edition of  the ISO magazine ISO Focus+ and also a video.



Question is will this ISO standard make a difference in energy consumption reduction? There is well-known efficiency paradox.

The effect that increases in energy efficiency raise energy consumption is known in economics as the Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate. This is explained by the fact that on the micro level increases in energy efficiency leading to lower costs of energy, and on the macro level side increases in energy efficiency leads to increased economic growth. The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate is a special case of what in economics is called the Jevons paradox, increases in the efficiency of using a resource tends to increase the usage of that resource.

How do yo manage this paradox?

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