Do you feel that the energy consumption in your company or organization is too high? Do you absolutely want to reduce these costs? Or does your competitor successfully advertise their perfect energy management and unfortunately convince your customers with it? Perhaps you would also like to make a contribution to environmental protection and reduce your CO2 emissions? The introduction of a professional energy management system can help you in all these respects. In the following, you will learn what exactly is behind the energy management system and what advantages it has.


Energy management is an important part of the different energy efficiency strategies of the European Union and the German government. Through its use, valuable know-how reaches companies directly. Because with the help of the measures listed therein, you can identify your energy saving potential, significantly reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. The sometimes enormous cost savings that result from systematic energy management can increase your competitiveness.

Many companies now rely on the internationally recognized ISO 50001:2018 standard for this purpose. With the help of the specifications provided by the standard, you can systematically monitor and improve all measures in your organization that lead to more efficient energy use.

Find out below about the benefits of implementing a professional energy management system, how to identify potential savings, and who can help you if you want to have your successful efforts in this regard certified.

What is an energy management system? A definition

By implementing an energy management system, or EnMS for short, you make energy savings one of your most important sustainability goals. This is because by implementing an energy management system, you can precisely analyze your energy consumption, initiate targeted measures for its optimization and continuously develop them. Used correctly, you can reduce your energy consumption - and thus also your costs and CO₂ emissions - in this way.

To do this, it is necessary to collect and record (usually automatically) all information on operating, consumption and cost data such as electricity, gas or district heating bills. This energy analysis provides you with the basis for concrete energy saving targets in terms of consumption and cost reduction. For example, you can set yourself the goal of saving ten percent of your electricity in the coming years.

Because every company has different requirements, the design of an energy management system in practice depends on the specific circumstances.

There are various measures that comprise a professional energy management system. You can find some possibilities here:

  • Planning: this includes, for example, analyzing your energy use, adjusting your operating hours or even identifying machines with high consumption.
  • Organizational measures: It may be necessary to make changes to your workflow. Every now and then, your employees also need to be more economical in their use of energy - training and continuous motivation to save energy can work wonders here. But your company can also save a lot of energy by maintaining and regularly servicing machines.
  • Load management: Efficient load management optimally regulates your power consumption and thus prevents cost-intensive load peaks. This involves recording the curves of your power consumption (base load, medium load, peak load). High load peaks at peak load time are expensive. If you identify them, you can take countermeasures.
  • Technical measures: Check, for example, the use of heat recovery, take a close look at the regulation and control of equipment, or use energy-efficient motors.

If you always keep an eye on the factors that are relevant to you, the entire infrastructure of your organization can be made energy-efficient. You will gain a better overview of your processes and the associated energy consumption, enabling you to derive measures for improvement more quickly and sustainably.

The international ISO 50001 standard provides you with support here, as it specifies all the relevant requirements for efficient energy management for organizations of all sizes and in all sectors. Not only large corporations, but also small and medium-sized companies benefit from a systematic improvement of energy-related performance. If you meet all the requirements of the standard, you can have your energy management system certified - for example, by the audit and certification specialist DQS.

What is an energy management system according to ISO 50001?

With the ISO 50001 standard, an international standard for energy management systems was created in 2011. The management system standard is not geared to any specific industry and can be used by a wide variety of organizations, authorities and companies of all sizes.

In Germany, almost 7,000 companies and public institutions use a certified energy management system according to ISO 50001. Worldwide, there are around 20,000 companies with an ISO 50001 certificate (source: ISO Survey 2020). Around 2,700 use alternative energy efficiency systems. However, there is still a lot of catching up to do.

When implementing the standard, it is your organization's task to tailor the requirements of the standard to its own needs, implement measures and continuously improve the management system. To do this, you need to determine internal and external issues that may have an impact on your energy management and understand the expectations of your interested parties.

After a comprehensive revision, the international energy management standard was republished on August 21, 2018. The German version DIN EN ISO 50001:2018-12 was published by Beuth Verlag in December 2018.

In addition to the introduction of the so-called "High Level Structure", which ensures a high degree of compatibility with other management system standards, such as the environmental standard ISO 14001, the new version places even more emphasis on the optimal use of your energy-consuming equipment and more efficient energy use within your entire process chain.

In addition, the revised standard provides greater clarity on the following points:

  • Greater focus on assessment and targeting of energy-intensive areas ("Significant Energy Use", SEU)
  • Greater involvement of top management
  • Intensive consideration of risks and opportunities
  • More precise energy planning processes, energy performance indicators (EnPI) and energy baseline (EnB) to be able to achieve continuous improvement.

In addition, the energy management standard includes a number of precise definitions such as the key term "energy performance improvement."

What is the PDCA cycle?

ISO 50001 is also based on the continuous improvement process known as the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle, which should be used by every company, regardless of type or size. So it's not enough to implement an energy management system once. Your goal must be its continuous improvement and control.

This approach is realized by the so-called PDCA model. The phases interlock and thus ensure constant movement and improvement.

  • Plan: At the beginning there is always an energetic evaluation. Here you define your starting point including energy performance indicators (EnPIs), strategic and operational energy targets and your approach. This is where you determine the energy consumption of the various business units, so to speak. This data forms the basis for the subsequent improvement processes and makes it possible to identify potential for increasing energy efficiency.
  • Do: In this phase, you take action. You target improvements and implement them. Based on the results of the energy assessment, you define indicators and targets for energy performance and create action plans to achieve your energy performance improvement goals.
  • Check: It is important to continually check the effectiveness of the energy management plans executed in the "Do" phase. To do this, now monitor and measure core processes that are important to energy-related performance. Then compare the results to the previously established goals.
  • Act: Break down the continuous measurements into reports. This gives you the basis for further steps to improve your energy management system.

Why is energy management according to ISO 50001 useful?

As sustainability becomes more and more important in everyday business, interest in professional energy management systems is also growing continuously. After all, saving energy and CO₂ also benefits our climate and environment to a large extent.

In recent years, a clear change in consumption behavior has already become apparent. Not only because of high electricity bills, most organizations now rely on modern machinery and equipment with lower energy consumption. Overall, an efficient infrastructure is in demand. In some industrial and commercial sectors with very high electricity consumption, companies are no longer competitive without efficient energy use.

If you also rely on an efficient energy management system, you can further reduce energy costs and thus increase your own liquidity. As a result, your company's overall operating result will be improved. This is because you gain a better overview of processes and consumption and can thus derive measures for improvement more quickly and sustainably.

With ISO 50001 certification, you can also give your existing or potential customers and partners confidence that your organization is extremely energy-efficient and climate-friendly. This strengthens trust in your company and, at the same time, your public image. Another benefit: You may be able to secure financial advantages with certification, as you can claim tax benefits.

Laws, taxes and subsidies - your energy management, your obligations and your benefits

Generally, companies are not required by law to implement effective energy management. However, German law, for example, requires all non-SMEs (more than 250 employees or annual sales of 50 million euros or more) to conduct an energy audit in accordance with DIN EN 16247-1, which must be repeated at least every four years. Alternatively, organizations can introduce an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001, which often proves more worthwhile.

Energy audit versus energy management system

In 2015, the German Energy Services Act (EDL-G) made energy audits mandatory for non-SMEs for the first time. This energy audit must take place at least every four years. An exception applies to companies that have an energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001. These are no longer required to have an energy audit.

But what exactly is the difference?

  • Energy audit: In an energy audit, your energy use and energy consumption are systematically inspected and analyzed. This includes plants, buildings as well as systems with the aim of identifying and reporting on your energy flows and the potential for optimization.
    However, DIN EN 16247-1 is not a management system standard and therefore does not enable certification. An energy audit only helps you to evaluate the actual state of your energy consumption. However, it does not initiate a continuous improvement process.
  • Energy management system: According to ISO 50001, an energy management system is "the set of interrelated or interacting elements for establishing an energy policy and strategic energy objectives, as well as processes and procedures for achieving those strategic objectives".

The introduction thus provides you with a secure and plannable assistance to fulfill all requirements of the German EDL-G. The introduction of a management system is also more worthwhile for tax reasons than carrying out an energy audit. According to §55 of the German Energy Tax Act and §10 of the German Electricity Tax Act, non-SMEs in the manufacturing sector can only benefit from tax relief if they have a certified energy management system in place.

Financial relief in Germany through a certified energy management system

A professional energy management system not only saves you energy costs. The German legislator also specifically promotes your commitment to reducing your energy consumption.

Therefore, it is worthwhile, especially for energy-intensive companies, to deal with the topic in order to be able to claim financial relief. In doing so, it is always important to adhere to fixed deadlines and dates. This is the only way to claim the following benefits in terms of apportionments and levies.

Special equalization scheme

The manufacturing industry in particular can benefit from the special German equalization scheme. Under this scheme, companies with high electricity costs only have to pay a reduced EEG levy. The EEG levy is used to finance the expansion of renewable energies and is laid down in the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG). However, this exemption only applies to electricity-cost-intensive companies that compete internationally.

In the meantime, anyone wishing to apply for benefits under the special German equalization scheme pursuant to sections 63 et seq. of the EEG must provide evidence of certification of their energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 or an environmental management system in accordance with EMAS. The application for the equalization scheme must be submitted to the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) by June 30 of each year.

German electricity tax peak compensation

Companies in the manufacturing sector with high energy consumption can receive a portion of their paid electricity tax back via the so-called electricity tax peak equalization (SpaEfV). To qualify, companies must also have a certified energy management system. For SMEs, an energy audit in accordance with DIN EN 16247-1 is also sufficient. However, the performance of the energy audit in compliance with the requirements must also be confirmed by a conformity assessment body such as DQS.

Those who already participate in such energy audits can consider a possible reorientation towards the international standard DIN ISO 50001 at any time. After all, only systematic energy management can meet increasingly stringent energy policies in the long term - and thus, of course, the German Energy Services Act (EDL-G).

Energy management system - the advantages at a glance

  • Reduction of CO₂ emissions
  • Effective contribution to climate and environmental protection
  • Permanently lower energy costs
  • Tapping of many untapped energy efficiency potentials
  • Increased confidence among customers and partners
  • Regular review of the system by trained, external auditors
  • Optimal preparation for possible tightening of legislation
  • Securing a functioning energy procurement system
  • Sensitization of your employees to the topic of energy consumption and efficiency
  • An ethically sound, yet credible image
  • Improvement of competitiveness
  • Opening up new markets
  • Avoidance of fines
  • Financial advantages through the peak balancing or the special balancing regulation

DQS: Simply leveraging Quality.

The goal of implementing an effective energy management system is the final certification. However, before the actual ISO 50001 certification takes place, you can have your efforts assessed in a so-called pre-audit. In this process, a DQS auditor examines whether your energy management system already covers all standard requirements and whether you can achieve certification. This procedure is always useful if you have set up your management system without the help of a consultant.

With more than 35 years of experience and the expertise of over 2,800 auditors worldwide, we are a trusted partner at your side when it comes to audits and certifications of management systems. Our industry-experienced auditors will guide you professionally and competently through the entire certification process. They also ensure smooth audit planning, audit execution, and meaningful audit reports.

Man and woman with solar panels and wind turbine

Certification according to ISO 50001

How much effort do you have to expect for certification? Find out free of charge and without obligation.

Impartiality and objectivity are always essential elements for us when performing audits and certifications. A characteristic feature of all DQS audits is that an independent industry expert takes a close look at your management system and the associated processes.

To strengthen confidence in our services, we always include the following fundamentals in our certifications:

  • Confidentiality
  • Competence
  • Openness
  • Responsibility
  • Impartiality
  • Responsiveness to complaints
  • Ethical business practices

You too can rely on a DQS certification audit as a particularly effective tool for the further development of your management system. This way you will gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of your organization. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to talking with you.

Tyrone Adu-Baffour

The environmental engineer looks back on more than 10 years of experience as a project engineer for energy efficiency and energy management as well as in the field of sustainability. He is a DQS standards expert and product manager for energy and climate management, as well as an auditor for the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 standards.


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