How ISO50001 and building analytics align

April 23, 2020

Prior to joining CIM, a significant part of my time was dedicated to securing or renewing the ISO50001 Energy Management Standard for large manufacturing sites. Now, after spending the past year working for CIM and witnessing how good building analytics works, I can share my thoughts as to how the two align.

The role of building analytics

A building analytics platform will extract data directly from the various onsite sources such as a building management system (BMS) and an energy management system. It then cleanses, normalises and blends all data to enable full visibility in real time.  The platform then runs a series of automated fault detection rules over this data-set, to identify operational inefficiencies on large plant and equipment such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and develop a list of actions to resolve any issues. This is effectively equivalent to performing an energy health check on a building every 15 minutes. Related: How building analytics enhances your BMS - a guide for manufacturing sites

The purpose of ISO50001

The ISO50001 Energy Management Standard specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system.  Its purpose is to enable an organisation to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy security, energy use and consumption.

Enhancing the ISO50001 process with building analytics

The best way to show the complementary relationship between ISO50001 and building analytics is to drill into each of the requirements specified in the standard.

1. Establishing an energy management system: Where to start

There is a common misconception that the body of work in applying for certification for ISO50001 is prohibitive. Also, that if certification is awarded, there is a huge amount of bureaucratic work in maintaining it.

By virtue of the fact that a building analytics platform ingests data in real time, this misconception no longer applies, as a significant portion of the data collection work is already covered by the platform. Building analytics addresses many of the ISO50001 required steps by pulling in data on energy consumption, identifying significant energy users (SEUs), highlighting energy performance indicators, and simplifying measurement and reporting through its intuitive dashboards.

2. Implementing an energy management system: Identifying opportunities

The standard specifies that improvement opportunities are continually identified for each SEU or large piece of plant room equipment. Typically, these opportunities are identified during a site audit by an SME consultant who later develops a report for the facility manager.

However, this engagement is expensive and slow, and the results are only based on a specific data-set—the operating conditions at the time of the site audit—so it is not an accurate reflection of overall site performance. More often than not, costly capital upgrades are recommended as solutions to improve energy performance, which is a tall order for sites where budgets are tight. Whats more, the facility manager rarely has the bandwidth to implement the recommendations.

The best way to identify opportunities for improvement is to let building analytics do the consulting. The technology uses automated and continuous fault detection algorithms to identify operational inefficiencies, for which low or no-cost fixes are typically required. It also offers a collaborative work-flow management solution for everyone involved to help resolve inefficiencies as quickly as possible. And when the solution is combined with technical engineering support, as is practice at CIM, the process is even faster.

This is good news for sites with limited budgets and headcount, and good news to share with auditors too, as it proves to them that opportunities for improvement are identified and actioned on an ongoing basis.

3. Maintaining and improving an energy management system: Operational control

Ensuring large plant and equipment is running optimally is difficult without building analytics. Lack of access to proprietary data and transparency into it, forces some sites to rely on manual data collection from equipment to verify performance. This is a slow, resource-dependent and outdated method of monitoring energy intensive equipment.

Instead, by taking data directly from plant and equipment controllers, a building analytics platform can actively monitor key parameters in real-time to ensure equipment is running at its peak performance. Any good platform will generate alerts when control limits are breached, and draw from a large database of insights generated over time, to provide specific solutions to solve equipment issues should they occur.  

Related: Optimising manufacturing site performance with building analytics

4. Monitoring and verification: Ensuring ongoing optimal performance

Operations teams shouldn’t take a ‘fix and forget’ approach to operational changes. Verifying savings are achieved and ensuring those energy savings do not degrade over time is a key part of the ISO50001 energy management standard.

One very manual way of doing this is by setting up historical data trends on the BMS. However, this typically requires blending different data sets, constantly monitoring this data and then painstakingly trying to decipher the root cause and solution when something goes wrong.

A building analytics platform on the other hand, will automatically ensure any savings achieved as part of an energy conservation measure are maintained. Rules can be developed to alert onsite teams when conditions change and give them recommendations on how to return the equipment to optimal performance.

Starting your ISO50001 journey

A good building analytics platform, supported by a comprehensive rules library and backed by sound technical expertise, will make it much easier for sites to start their ISO50001 journey and improve their certification success rate. Building analytics removes most of the time consuming and manual effort usually required to achieve ISO50001, and helps organisations maintain certification across multiple assets with minimal resources. It also ensures that any costs invested into improving site performance are maximised for energy efficiency and a return on investment.


CIM's PEAK Platform is a best-in-class building analytics SaaS technology, improving efficiency, sustainability, and tenant comfort across property portfolios. Discover more by watching a demo.

CIM Team
April 23, 2020