Ready for a new green building standard?

The ISO 50001 framework has arrived, and energy management technology and services provider Schneider Electric is among the first to jump on the bandwagon.

If you are a regular reader of SmartPlanet's coverage, you will doubtless be familiar with the U.S. Green Building Council's well-known framework for organizations seeking to make their facilities (of all types) more energy efficient: the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system. Now, you'll need to familiarize yourself with another standard, ISO 50001 for energy management systems. In fact, energy management company Schneider Electric has already latched onto the standard: its global headquarters in France was the first building to earn the standard.

The standard, which was published this week, focuses on practices for how to integrate energy performance technologies and concerns into an overall facilities and operations management approach. The organization makes the point that ISO 50001 will offer a "single, harmonized standard" for multinational organizations. Translation: it helps companies get a better grip on their energy performance regardless of the country, allowing for cross-facility comparisons. The aims of the standard include:

  • Making better use of "energy-consuming" assets
  • Reinforcing energy management best practices
  • Helping facilities managers evaluate and prioritize the implementation of energy-efficient technologies
  • Enabling energy management improvements that directly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiatives
  • Supporting the integration of energy management systems with other key operations systems for environmental, health and safety

Schneider Electric has been quick to latch onto the new standard, and it has earned an ISO 50001 blessing for its headquarters in Rueil-Malmaison, France, a building called "the Hive." (In French, the acronym "Hive" refers to "The Hall of Innovation and Energy Showcase.")

The company began adapting the 35,000-square-meter (377,000-square-feet) building in late 2010 in oder to comply with the new framework. Its certification was verified by AFNOR Certification, a certification body in France. The company is now working on a similar designation for commercial and research and development buildings in Grenoble, France.

Of course, Schneider Electric's aim is twofold: Not only is it seeking to reap the benefits of the new green building standard, but it is setting itself up to be an early expert in helping advising other companies how to work toward certification. Notes Frederic Abbal, president of Schneider Electric France: "More than ever, we are aiming for the highest standards in energy management for both our customers' buildings and our own. The Hive provides valuable feedback that we can leverage to develop efficient, operational energy performance solutions that create value for our customers."

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com