Many energy conscious business owners are familiar with the term, “LEED”, The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The program, which is designed around sustainability, can provide a number of benefits for building owners, but it’s not the only energy management system companies have the option of working with. There is also ISO 50001.
With mounting energy costs, as well as pressure to be more environmentally responsible, many companies around the world are looking for legitimate ways to show that they are focused on energy efficiency. Erik Floyd is a U.S. sustainability expert and says designations like LEED and ISO 50001 are a good way to show that you are serious about your efforts.
“These designations hold companies accountable and tells the public that you are meeting high standards. This allows the public to make educated decisions about supporting whatever the company has to offer, whether it be a product or service based business,” Floyd explains.
While most business owners know they can be more energy efficient, deciding how to go about it isn’t easy. What makes sense for one business might not make sense for another. A closer look at LEED and ISO 50001 can help managers make the right move and reap the rewards that can come with certification.
In order to receive LEED certification, projects have to earn points that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points achieved, your LEED rating can be Silver, Gold or Platinum. Buildings can attain certification in five main areas: energy use, including lighting and HVAC systems; location and sustainability of the environment, indoor air quality, water conservation, and use of sustainable materials in terms of construction. Extra points are received for innovative building design and compliance with local environmental priorities. Commercial buildings have to meet stringent standards. There are several LEED rating systems available for different types of buildings. For example, there are different requirements if you want to build a home versus an office building.
According to sustainability experts, here are some of the best ways to achieve LEED certification:
• Install energy efficient lighting systems
• Use modern heat pumps and energy efficient HVAC systems
• Incorporate low-flow water fixtures
• Install high-insulation rated windows
ISO 50001 is an international standard for energy management that provides a strategy for blending energy performance into organizational practices. It allows companies to develop policies and procedures for efficient energy use, as well as set fixed targets in terms of energy goals.
ISO 50001 provides a framework for organizations to do the following:
• Develop solid policy for efficient use of energy
• Set objectives to meet policy
• Use collected data to better understand and make decisions about energy usage.
• Measure results
• Constantly improve energy management
It is worth noting that although they are two different protocols, the goals of ISO 50001 are in line with the energy goals of the credits within the LEED certification process. In other words, the two can overlap.
For more information on ISO 50001, check out iso.org and if you are in Canada you can learn more about LEED through the Canada Green Building council.