Using industry’s own words to quantify the benefits and challenges of ISO 50001

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Conference Paper

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A growing body of research is beginning to identify, collect, and analyze data to understand drivers, benefits, and challenges of implementing an ISO 50001 energy management system. One such data source is the annual Energy Management Leadership Awards from the Clean Energy Ministerial. Launched in 2016, this international awards program requires ISO 50001 certified organizations to develop a case study of their implementation experience, using a uniform template. These case studies also include quotes from employees, along with energy and cost savings calculations, facility locations, and applicable industry sectors. Case studies typically range from 5 to 9 pages in length; 35 case studies were tendered in 2016, and 37 in 2017.

To analyze these data, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory employed the research method of content analysis, a well-established practice widely used in the social sciences to make sense of qualitative information. This analysis occurs via close reading of each case study and transcription of relevant phrases from the following classes of interest: motivations and goals; role of management and the organization; benefits achieved; keys to success; and challenges. Phrases are then assigned carefully defined “codes” that capture their meaning in order to enable quantitative analysis.

This paper presents results from the content analysis of Energy Management Leadership Awards case studies. While organizations undertook ISO 50001 adoption based on a range of motivations and experienced myriad benefits, commonalities exist. The biggest drivers for ISO 50001 certification are existing values and goals, cost savings, environmental sustainability concerns, government incentives or regulations, and gaining competitive advantage via visibility. Policymakers and others looking to promote ISO 50001 uptake can use these results to highlight benefits and incentives that will resonate well when communicating with industrial facilities.


eceee Industrial Summer Study 2018

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