Our study presents an approach where consultants supported 28 European municipalities in establishing energy management systems. A majority (71%) of these municipalities had achieved ISO 50001 certification by the end of our study. We also conducted two surveys to learn more about motivations and challenges when it comes to establishing municipal energy management systems. We found that organizational challenges and resource constraints were the most important topics in this regard. Based on the experiences in our study we present lessons learned regarding supporting municipalities in establishing energy management systems.

Energy Management System Guidebook for Local Authorities

Currently more and more local authorities around Europe acknowledge the benefits of an energy management system (EnMS), but fail to understand where to start, how much time, effort and money it will take to create and implement it, why it is important to certify it and much more. The purpose of this guidebook is to guide the reader through the process of establishing an effective EnMS system for a local authority (LA). The guideline covers the meaning and benefits of an EnMS based on the international Standard “ISO 50001: Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use". Even though the ISO 50001 initially was designed for industries, even LAs are appropriate institutions who should apply such a systematic approach towards the reduction of their own energy consumption and CO2 emissions. There already exists plenty of good experience available from LAs around Europe introducing EnMS into their local context. The authors of this guidebook, based on their own practical experience in facilitating LAs through previous projects, have gathered here the main facts, necessary information to provide a better guidance on how EnMS can be adapted for the LA-context. It is a unique guidebook comprising experiences from those LAs with ISO 50001 certificates and front-running organisations which have supported them in achieving and maintaining them.


How to use the guidebook?

The guidebook is based on the structure of the ISO 50001 standard. We have tried to explain each point that the ISO 50001 requires, but addressed them specifically to the context of LAs. Experience shows that there is no unique recipe, it is more of an open process up. You can start from the first points mentioned in this document, like the creation of an Energy Team and/or Energy Policy, or you can also start from the point of data gathering and monitoring. You can also download the full updated version of the Energy Management System Guidebook for Local Authorities and the Appendix reflecting the new Standard ISO 50001:2018 here.



About ISO 50001














 EnMS certification


short stories


iSO 50001:2018
EnMS in other languages
Short stories about certified local authorities:

The following examples have been included here as illustrations of the story of specific LAs from all across Europe. They serve to portray where each of them started and how they proceeded on the ISO 50001 EnMS path, all the way up to certification.