Changes to the ISO 50001:2018

Transition to ISO 50001:2018 – Major changes

ISO 50001:2018 Energy Management System

As of Feb. 21, 2020, audits for energy management systems may only be performed according to the revised version of ISO 50001:2018. This includes initial and recertification audits as well as surveillance audits. Currently valid certificates according to ISO 50001:2011 will expire or be withdrawn on 20.08.2021 after the end of the three-year transition period.

Currently valid ISO 50001:2011 certificates expire or are withdrawn on 20/08/2021 after the end of the three-year transition period. The revised ISO 50001:2018 was published on 21.08.2018. We have summarized the main changes for you.

The most important changes from the draft revision of ISO 50001

High level structure

As already implemented in other ISO management system standards, the new ISO 50001 will also adopt the High Level Structure[1], the aim being to harmonize the standards with each other. Internally, the new structure means that there will be a stronger focus on top management as well as on the context of the organization.

Organizational structure

In addition to the increased responsibility for top management, the requirement for an energy management officer is eliminated. Instead, the formation of an energy team is explicitly required, with the relevant roles being assigned their responsibilities and powers. In the future, therefore, tasks are to be increasingly distributed among several players and thus better permeate the organization.

Environment and stakeholder analysis

According to the new draft, organizations must develop an understanding of their own context, assess opportunities and risks, and in particular consider interested parties when planning the EnMS.

Linguistic clarification & terminology

One result of the revision of the content is a clearer formulation of requirements and an adaptation of elementary terms. This allows all users a better understanding and leads to a standardization with the terms of the other standards of the 50000 family. For example, in future a distinction will no longer be made between documents and records, but these will be combined under the term “documented information”. In addition, the abbreviated form SEU, familiar from the other 50000 standards, is adopted for areas with significant energy use.

Structural changes

In the future, the new standard will distinguish between goals and energy targets, so in addition to savings targets, the focus will also be on qualitative and quantitative targets related to the management system itself. For example, increasing the coverage of consumers through new measuring equipment, improving penetration through training measures, or reducing deviations in audits. It is also noticeable that the process for “measurement and verification” will in future be found under the title “planning of energy-related data collection” as part of “energy planning”.

EnPI & EnB

The new ISO 50001 explicitly states that energy indicators must be suitable for evaluating the improvement of energy-related performance. This indirectly calls for the application of the methodology according to ISO 50006 by including and adjusting for relevant influences.


The standard remains true to its fundamental objective of systematically guiding companies to optimize energy-related performance on the basis of a continuous improvement process (PDCA cycle).

Do you have questions about the ISO 50001 revision and the associated requirements in your company or about the other standards of the 50000 family?

[1] High Level Structure (HLS) is a guideline developed by ISO for the development of management system standards, in which an overarching structure for management system standards as well as uniform definitions and requirements are specified.

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