ISO 50001: One Small Step for a Manager, One Giant Leap for Management.
Why This New Standard is going to Change Energy Management Forever
By Robert Allender Founder, Energy Resources Management | June 03, 2012
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has an edge when it comes to public speaking. After all, how many people can tell "landing on the moon stories"? Twenty years ago he regaled us at a breakfast speech and one story I remember well was that Neil Armstrong's first words on stepping upon lunar soil are often quoted missing an 'a', even if in the sound recordings he has more or less swallowed that particular impersonal pronoun. And it's obvious on reflection. "One small step for a man" lacks any meaningful contrast to the second half of that famous sentence with the 'a' missing. Man and mankind – two words meaning about the same thing. A man and mankind – quite another matter.
A new document describing minimum good management practice for the way a hotel (and any other entity) buys, processes, and consumes energy can hardly be compared to landing on the moon. But there is one similarity. This new standardized way of managing energy needs to start with a small step for an individual hotel manager, but it will assuredly turn out to be a giant leap for hotel management as a whole.
This standardized – we could say formalized – way of managing energy goes by the term 'energy management system'. Now it's true that there are other meanings of this term. A hotel's guestroom controls, the software that stretches the life of your iPhone battery, and the controls for an entire city's power grid, to name just three. But in this case the system is a set of procedures, documents, and written statements. For some hotels it will end up being nothing more than a fat three-ring binder. But this binder can go a long way to saving your hotel enormous sums of money.
The document that describes this good management practice goes by the name ISO 50001. It was published by the International Organization for Standardization just recently – June 2011. The committee which developed it was co-chaired by the US standards body, ANSI, and also included China, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the UK, Australia and Canada. ISO 50001 represents an international consensus on what an energy management system should entail. For such a global industry as hotel keeping, that's good news; every country is on the same page.
You, as a hotel manager, are unlikely to find this so-called energy management system standard exciting. (That's for energy management professionals like me.) And you have no need to become a 'subject expert'. (Although likewise I did.) But taking the time to become 'subject literate' will turn out to have been a wise investment.
Standards and Systems
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