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Energy Efficiency

  • Practical guidance to help SMEs implement measures according to
    ISO 50001energy efficiency

    Economic growth relies on energy. As large parts of the developing world embark on industrial growth and participation in global trade, rising energy costs and the foreseen sizeable increase in demand make energy efficiency an important priority.


    Firstly, energy efficiency makes good business sense since it entails cost savings and improvements through optimized use of resources and reduced waste. It leads to improved energy performance; it increases the reliability of operations and processes; it strengthens security of supply and reduces exposure to energy price rises and fluctuations. Energy efficiency ultimately leads enterprises to higher profits and additional benefits such as credibility, prestige and customer trust that also have an important market value.


    Secondly, energy efficiency contributes to mitigating the negative impact of energy use and consumption on the environment, both at local and global level. The endowment and renewal rate of natural resources, including energy, cannot keep up with the current patterns of economic growth; a more resource-conscious approach is needed to do more with less, encouraging greater use of sustainable energy solutions and striking the right balance between growth and resource utilization.


    Estimates indicate a 30–40% energy efficiency improvement potential across most economic sectors of many countries around the world, with currently available technologies. This potential of cost-effective energy savings remains largely untapped, especially in the case of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


    Energy costs are very often a significant part of an SME’s budget. Managing and using energy efficiently can contribute to substantial gains over time. While individual SMEs have a relatively small energy consumption, their efficiency improvement potential is usually much higher than that of large energy consumers. Considering the high number of SMEs in any economic sector or supply chain, collective efficiency improvement measures can have a major impact on energy costs for the sector and the nation at large, as well as substantial beneficial effects on the environment.


    Despite sizeable opportunities for cost-effective energy savings and efficiency improvements, SMEs lag behind in implementing measures and reaping the benefit of potential reductions in operating costs. SMEs very often lack information, competencies, methodologies and resources to both identify and implement practical measures that can bring about such substantial savings and gains.


    With a view to helping SMEs take actions to overcome many of the barriers that prevent them from implementing practical measures and saving energy, ISO, ITC and UNIDO have developed “ISO 50001: Energy Management Systems: A practical guide for SMEs”. This guide intends to help SMEs understand the requirements of the ISO 50001 standard for energy management systems, become familiarized with the main components of such systems and acquire the skills needed to identify and implement concrete energy efficiency improvement measures.