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Task 15: Our personnel and on-site contractors are aware of our energy policy and their energy-related roles and responsibilities. We have processes in place for internal and any applicable external energy management system communications.

Detailed Guidance: Awareness and Communication

  1. Develop and deliver an initial energy management system (EnMS) communication from top management that includes the importance of energy management and the organization’s energy policy.
  2. Develop the details for EnMS awareness training for specific personnel or departments.
  3. Plan and implement awareness training.
  4. Conduct awareness training and retain records.
  5. Plan and implement internal communication processes of the EnMS, including a suggestion system.
  6. Plan and implement external EnMS communication processes.

Task 15 Guidance Version: v18.15.01.02
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Creating organizational awareness about the energy management system (EnMS) and energy performance is an important part of getting and sustaining buy-in. It is top management’s responsibility to communicate the importance of energy management and to encourage employee participation. Top management takes the first steps in conveying this message, which is then supported by ongoing processes for internal communications.

Personnel must also be aware of their roles and responsibilities related to the organization’s EnMS. Energy awareness among personnel is a first step in integrating energy management into daily operations and supporting effective EnMS functioning. These personnel include anyone working under the organization’s control, and include salaried, hourly, part-time, and temporary employees, as well as on-site contractors, suppliers, and consultants.

Communication is an important element of the EnMS. Implementing an EnMS involves organizational and cultural change, and communicating internally is a critical component in managing that change successfully.

External communication processes help ensure that any required reporting of energy information is managed appropriately. They also provide an opportunity for the organization to potentially enhance its public image and demonstrate leadership in sustainability by proactively sharing energy performance information with outside stakeholders. Whether internal or external, the EnMS communication processes must ensure that the information communicated is consistent and dependable and that responsibilities and authorities for the various types of communication are assigned.

This guidance is relevant to sections 5.1 f), 7.3, and 7.4 of the ISO 50001:2018 standard.


Task 15 Guidance Version: v18.15.01.02
Creative Commons License
The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

In the early stages of energy management system (EnMS) implementation, the goals of the initial EnMS communication to employees are to:

  • announce your organization’s commitment to energy performance improvement,
  • announce the undertaking of EnMS implementation,
  • broadly communicate the energy policy,
  • encourage active participation and input by employees, and
  • set the stage for ongoing energy-related communications.

Information that can effectively deliver this message generally includes the following:

  • What are we doing? (implementing an EnMS)
  • Why are we doing it? (business drivers)
  • How will an EnMS help us? (benefits)
  • Who is leading the effort? (energy team)
  • Who else is involved? (everyone)
  • What energy commitments have we made? (energy policy)
  • Why do your actions matter? (impacts of energy behaviors)
  • What’s next? (expectations)

The energy team usually develops the content for this initial communication, with input from top management.

Once the content has been developed, a decision is needed on how the information will be formatted and delivered to the workforce. Regardless of the method(s) used, it is critical that top management delivers this initial message and continues to proactively communicate about energy management across the organization. Top management sets the strategic direction for your organization and provides the resources for organizational initiatives, so they need to establish energy management as an important organizational priority. Their active participation and visibility is needed to demonstrate management commitment to the EnMS and energy performance improvement. It also sets a positive example for employees.

Common approaches to formatting and presenting the message include slide presentations, videos, newsletters, brochures, all-hands emails, corporate intranet announcements, and paycheck inserts.

If print communications are used, ensure it is clear that the message comes from top management. Live events led by top management such as a kick-off activity, employee luncheon, or all-employees meeting tend to be more effective in delivering the message and garnering employee attention and support than passive approaches.

Awareness of the importance of managing energy is relevant to personnel across the organization, as well as to your on-site contractors, suppliers, consultants, and others. To be effective, all personnel included within the scope and boundaries of the EnMS must be aware of how the EnMS impacts their daily work activities and know their roles and responsibilities.

Ensuring personnel’s ongoing awareness is key to driving energy management into the organization’s daily operations and supporting effective functioning of the EnMS.

EnMS communication and training activities need to ensure that all personnel, including on-site contractors and service providers, are aware of their EnMS responsibilities, including the following:

  • The energy policy: Personnel are expected to be aware of how energy relates to their job activities and how their work demonstrates the commitments of the energy policy, including improved energy performance.
  • How they contribute to the EnMS: Personnel must understand how their activities contribute to achieving the organization’s specific objectives and energy targets.
  • Benefits of improved energy performance: Personnel must be aware of the benefits of improved energy performance. Examples of potential benefits include reduced costs, higher profit margin, more efficient operation, less maintenance, reduced environmental impact, extended equipment life, and improved comfort.
  • Impact of activities and behavior on energy performance: Personnel must be aware of how their activities and behaviors affect energy use, energy consumption, and energy efficiency.
  • Consequences of not following EnMS requirements: Personnel must be aware of the implications of not following the requirements of the EnMS. The energy policy is an umbrella for the development of activities and processes to maximize the efficient use of energy and reduce energy consumption. For example, failure to respond to a significant deviation in the energy performance of a significant energy use (SEU) could result in a significant increase in the site’s overall energy consumption.

The optional Playbook worksheet can help you define and document the specific awareness requirements associated with each individual, position, or department.

Once the awareness requirements have been defined, the optional Playbook worksheet can be used to document the awareness training needs throughout the organization and to develop a plan to address those needs. The training plan includes who, what, when, where, and how; and can serve as the training record. The optional Playbook worksheet may be referenced for additional examples.

Most organizations develop some form of general EnMS awareness training that can be used as an overall introduction to the EnMS for new and existing employees, contractors, suppliers, and others who perform work on site.

A general EnMS awareness training typically ranges from 5 to 30 minutes in length and may involve such training and communication aids as videos, slide presentations, brochures, handouts, or postings. One approach is to make a general Initial EnMS Awareness Presentation and add slides specifically addressing the SEUs, objectives, energy targets, and other needed information for specific audiences. Such presentations are sometimes conducted face-to-face in real time or posted on an intranet for review by employees and contractors.

Organizations often leverage their existing supplier/contractor communication processes to provide EnMS or energy awareness information.

You should establish a process that ensures internal communications related to the EnMS are carried out on an ongoing basis. At a minimum, you should determine:

  • what types of information will be communicated,
  • when the communication will occur,
  • the audience for the communication,
  • how the communication will be conducted, and
  • who will do the communicating.

Topics and items that are required to be communicated internally to relevant personnel include the following:

  • Energy policy
  • The importance of effective energy management
  • Commitment and role of top management
  • Roles and responsibility of staff
  • Objectives and energy targets
  • Operational criteria

A variety of methods can be used to communicate internally, including the following:

  • Postings
  • Internal newsletters
  • Intranet sites
  • E-mails
  • Meetings
  • Training
  • Presentations
  • Suggestion or incentive systems

Different methods can be used to communicate different EnMS topics or items to different audiences. Use your existing internal communication processes where practicable.

Communications have to take place on an ongoing basis. Top management must communicate the importance of energy management across the organization and ensure that relevant roles, responsibilities, and authorities are assigned and communicated. Often, this responsibility is delegated to the energy management team. Generally, it is the energy management team that ensures that internal EnMS communications (including those by top management) occur across all levels and functions of the organization.

Not all employees need the same information. Consider communication strategies and content that is appropriate for the different audiences. Use the optional Playbook worksheet to help plan and implement internal communication processes for the EnMS.

The pathways of effective communication are multidirectional. EnMS communications must include mechanisms that enable employees to communicate upward within the organization (bottom-up), as well as laterally across the organization.

Part of communicating internally is the use of a comment or suggestion system to ensure that both employees and others working under the control of the organization (such as contractors and suppliers working on site) can submit comments or suggest improvements to the EnMS. Effective suggestion systems ensure that there is some form of feedback on the comments and suggestions, even if some ideas are determined to not be feasible.

The optional Playbook worksheet can be used to help develop a comment and suggestion system, which can be either manual or electronic. Alternatively, some organizations leverage the ongoing activities of their continual improvement teams as mechanisms for generating suggestions and comments for EnMS or energy-related improvements. Examples of common approaches to suggestion systems for on-site contractors include suggestion boxes and routine supplier/contractor meetings.

The energy team needs to decide whether any suggested improvements will be retained as documented information. Consider including potentially feasible suggestions as part of the development of opportunities for energy performance improvement (see Task 10 Improvement Opportunities).

Some organizations provide incentives for participation in comment or suggestion systems. Typically, the suggestions that were implemented and led to the greatest cost savings or improvements in energy performance are highlighted, along with the person(s) who submitted the idea. Some examples of actual incentives or rewards include:

  • Feature articles in the organization’s internal newsletter
  • Monetary gift cards
  • Movie tickets
  • Catered lunches served by the supervisors and managers
  • Awards of marketing novelties (t-shirt, mug, ball cap, etc.)
  • Designated parking space for the month

Although required by ISO 50001, some organizations may resist suggestion systems. In large organizations with hundreds or even thousands of employees, suggestion systems can quickly become overwhelming. This can be especially true if there are incentives or gain-sharing programs that support the suggestion process. One way to manage the volume of suggestions while ensuring their appropriate consideration is to is to limit the open suggestion period to a pre-determined schedule. This approach also can be useful in smaller organizations with limited personnel resources for managing the suggestion and commenting processes.

External EnMS communications processes must be established and implemented. At a minimum, the process for external communication needs to address the following:

  • What topics or information will be communicated externally
  • When the communication will occur
  • Who the audience for the communication is
  • How the communication will occur
  • Who will do the communicating

Recognizing the growing public, customer, and other stakeholder interest in sustainability and the desire of many organizations to demonstrate leadership in this area, some organizations decide to communicate proactively about their energy policy, goals, and achievements. Other organizations take a reactive approach, responding to relevant inquiries or requests for information on a case-by-case basis.

For external EnMS communication processes, be sure to review and coordinate as needed with any existing communication policies or procedures. Such policies may stipulate that only specific organizational positions (personnel) are responsible for and have the authority to communicate with specific types of stakeholders or interested parties such as utility providers, community representatives, or government regulators. The optional Playbook worksheet can help with planning external communications. External and internal communication planning can be combined to reduce effort.

External communications typically include the following:

  • Availability of the energy policy to external interested parties
  • Voluntary or mandatory reporting of energy data and related information to external interested parties such as regulators, voluntary programs subscribed to by the organization, or the corporate office
  • Informing suppliers that energy performance is an evaluation factor for purchases affecting SEUs
  • Communicating specifications for purchases of energy supply
  • Communicating specifications for ensuring the energy performance of purchased equipment and services

If your organization decides to be proactive in its external communications about energy and the EnMS, consider communicating the following types of information:

  • Energy policy
  • Objectives and energy targets
  • Energy conservation or energy-efficiency projects
  • Energy performance Improvements
  • Energy cost savings
  • Use of renewable energy
  • Participation in voluntary energy or environmental programs

Examples of mechanisms for external communications include:

  • Websites
  • Press releases
  • Annual reports
  • Sustainability reports
  • E-mail
  • Print or electronic newsletters
  • Electronic meetings/webinars
  • Community meetings
  • Site tours or open houses
  • Sponsorship opportunities
  • Radio/television spots

Your organization can choose whether it will maintain or retain documented information related to EnMS communications, including the comment or suggestion system. The optional Playbook worksheet can be used to retain documented information related to EnMS communications.

Review resources used to create and maintain awareness and confirm that these resources remain appropriate and are sufficient.  Develop and distribute any resources needed to fill any identified gaps in awareness and inform new personnel.

Consider ways to maintain awareness outreach, such as new content for newsletters, web sites, etc.

Review your communications activities that have occurred since 50001 Ready recognition was received.  Do you have a way of determining whether these activities have been effective?  Are there ways to improve your communications?  If the answer to either question is 'yes', then the energy team should meet to discuss and implement improvements.

Confirm that suggestions and comments on communications are documented and considered, as well as decisions on improvements.

Evaluation should be done by reviewing training records and by interviewing random employees.

Internal communication is within the site and within the organization.

External communication is with others, outsiders, the news media, etc.


Task 15 Guidance Version: v18.15.01.02
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The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.
Not required for 50001 Ready recognition

Creating organizational awareness about the energy management system (EnMS), energy performance, and energy-related GHG emission reductions is an important part of getting and sustaining buy-in.  Personnel must be aware of their roles and responsibilities related to the organization’s EnMS as they integrate energy management, energy performance, and energy-related GHG emissions reductions into daily operations.

Employees should be aware that the organization is committed to energy-related GHG emissions performance improvement and that the EnMS includes energy-related GHG emissions.  In addition, any personnel (including contractors) included within the scope and boundaries of the EnMS must be aware of how the EnMS impacts their work activities and know their roles and responsibilities.

If you do not have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to build one that also helps your organization manage energy-related GHG emissions, you should follow the guidance in the “Full Description” tab keeping the following in mind:

  1. Develop and deliver an initial EnMS communication. Make sure the initial communication includes an overview of:
    • The organization’s commitment to energy performance improvement and energy-related GHG emissions reduction.
    • The inclusion of energy-related GHG emissions in the EnMS objectives, including the updated energy policy
  2. Ensure awareness of affected personnel.  Ensure that any affected personnel (including contractors) are aware of how the inclusion of energy-related GHG emissions in the EnMS affects their daily work activities and/or their roles and responsibilities.  Ensure they understand their impact on energy performance and on energy-related GHG emissions as well as the benefits of reducing energy-related GHG emissions.
  3. Communicate internally.  Ensure your internal communication processes and materials include energy-related GHG emissions considerations.  This includes the communication of energy-related GHG emissions within the energy policy, objectives and targets, operational criteria, and the roles and responsibilities of staff.
  4. Deciding to communicate externally. Ensure processes are in place for communicating to external stakeholders. Include energy-related GHG emissions reduction goals in your communications.  Coordinate as needed with any existing energy-related GHG emissions-related communication policies or procedures.

If you have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to adapt it to manage energy-related GHG emissions, you should:

  1. Develop and deliver an initial EnMS communication. The initial communication should be given to all employees within the scope and boundaries and should explain:
    • The organization’s updated commitment to energy performance improvement and energy-related GHG emissions reduction.
    • The inclusion of energy-related GHG emissions in the EnMS objectives, targets, and energy policy
    • Any significant changes to the EnMS, EnBs or its priorities due to the inclusion of energy-related GHG emissions.
  2. Ensure awareness of affected personnel.  Ensure that any affected personnel (including contractors) are aware of how the inclusion of energy-related GHG in the EnMS affects their daily work activities and/or their roles and responsibilities.  Ensure they understand their impact on energy-related GHG emissions as well as the benefits of reducing energy-related GHG emissions.
  3. Communicate internally.  Review your internal communication processes and materials and update them to include GHG emissions considerations.  This can include energy-related GHG emissions focused updates to the energy policy, to objectives and targets, to operational criteria, and to the roles and responsibilities of staff.
  4. Review your external communication processes. Ensure processes are in place for communicating to external stakeholders. Include energy-related GHG emissions reduction goals in your communications.  Coordinate as needed with any existing energy-related GHG emissions-related communication policies or procedures.

Task 15 Decarbonization Guidance Version: v0.9
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The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

Use this task to detail necessary protocols for delivering needed communications to both internal and external parties that emphasize the importance of meeting federal energy requirements for your site.

Ensure that top management is communicating to site personnel the need to meet federal energy requirements and raising awareness of the facility’s progress towards meeting these goals. 50001 Ready criteria for this task should be tailored toward ensuring everyone within your site’s scope and boundaries is aware of your energy policy’s dedication to meeting federal requirements, and also recognizes their role in supporting this goal.

Creating organizational awareness about water management is an important part of getting and sustaining buy-in. Personnel must be aware of their roles and responsibilities related to the organization’s water management to integrate them into daily operations.

Employees should be aware that the organization is committed to saving water and that there is a water management system in place. In addition, any personnel (including contractors) included within the scope and boundaries of water management (Task 3) must be aware of how water management impacts their work activities and know their roles and responsibilities.

FEMP Water Manual section 2.5 (Determine the Communication Strategy) and section 3.2.1 (Consider Water Awareness and Education) provide detailed information on developing a successful communication strategy, as well as ways to raise awareness about water management. FEMP’s Best Management Practice #2, provides detailed guidance for communicating your water management policy both internally and externally. We have summarized the material put together by FEMP below to help you with this task.

Develop a communication strategy for your water management program to manage expectations, build consensus, support project timelines, and enhance coordination among all stakeholders. If your facility or agency has communication specialists, they can be very beneficial in helping your team develop a strategy that:

  • Engages leadership and encourages commitment to your water management goals
  • Communicates your program to internal and external stakeholders
  • Reports progress toward goals
  • Engages facility occupants

It is very important to engage people. Technologies will not work unless people use them correctly, and conserving water is no exception. That is why education and raising awareness about water-smart behaviors are very important in achieving water management success. Use your water awareness and education efforts to communicate the following:

  • What changes are being made and why
  • How behaviors help to conserve water
  • How staff are helping to save water, and if possible, by how much
  • Who to contact to report issues (e.g., leaks) and recommend conservation ideas

Share your success. Always keep a two-way line of communication open with the water users. And in addition to regular communication, recognize success through rewards. You should let not only your building occupants know how much water they are saving, but also share the news with your agency. Become a best practice for other facilities to follow!

Communicating goals and publicizing the success of your facility’s water management is important in your continued success. According to EPA’s WaterSense at Work step 3. (Setting and Communicating Goals), once water management goals and policies have been developed, they must be communicated to the entire organization with the support of senior management or the building owners. Top-level support gives legitimacy to the initiative and informs employees that water and energy reductions are a priority. A feedback mechanism should be created to encourage input, suggestions, and reporting of problems. There are a number of options for sharing both internal and external information and education.

Internal Information and Education Options

The following options are available to help federal agencies conduct internal communication and education programs.

  • Establish a user-friendly hotline or other communication system that internal stakeholders can use to report water leaks or other wastes of water and energy. Repair reported leaks promptly to encourage continued participation.
  • Keep employees informed about your commitment to water efficiency, ongoing improvement programs, and any program successes. Start a water conservation column in your building or agency newsletter featuring how much water has been saved through the water management program.
  • Share information with employees on how water is used at your facility and how much water is used for each application. This communicates how employee actions can reduce water use.
  • Place signs and placards near new equipment, making it easy to understand the new technology and how to use it properly.
  • Start a suggestion and incentive system to recognize and encourage water savings in your facility. Consider distributing efficiency devices. Communicate progress toward achieving water use reduction goals.
  • Conduct regular training workshops for implementing water efficiency best management practices. Include maintenance personnel to keep them up to date on operational changes and maintenance procedures.

External Information and Education Options

The following options are available to help federal agencies conduct external communication and education programs.

  • Work with local utilities to develop comprehensive programs and to share successes with other similar facilities.
  • Invite members of the local news media to tour your facility and see firsthand the efficiency program and achieved successes.
  • Create displays presenting facility water savings for posting in your lobby and other public reception areas.
  • Develop websites, brochures, and other materials for distribution to employees and the public describing your program, goals, and successes.

Finally, if your facility is doing its part to save community resources, let the community know. Informing the public about your facility’s commitment to reducing water use is good news. The news media are often interested in facilities that take a proactive stand on water efficiency.

Use this task to detail necessary steps for delivering needed communications to both internal and external parties that emphasize the importance of energy management to your site.  The example hotels Playbook for task 15 provides helpful planning worksheets for both internal and external communications, as well as other forms to help organize your communications and awareness-building.  Getting and keeping top management engaged in these communications is important.  Use existing forms of communicating to staff as much as possible – email, internal newsletters, televisions monitors, bulletin boards, etc.

For external stakeholders, including the public, you may want to promote your energy policy and any successes in public areas such as lobbies and other common areas.  Consider annual observances such as Earth Day to highlight successes or promote general awareness of energy policies, goals, and tips to your guests.  You may also want to seek out local events for spreading awareness and communicate with peers to share lessons learned.

Like ISO 50001:2018, both ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 require top management to establish, implement, and maintain a policy that must be communicated within the organization. In all three standards, top management also is required to communicate the importance of effective (energy/environmental/quality) management. The communication processes in place in one management system to achieve these items can be used for the same purpose in the other management system(s).

The training and awareness processes used in ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 management systems to ensure needed awareness among personnel are likely well suited for use by an ISO 50001:2018 energy management system. Although the content of the awareness training and communication will vary depending on the specific standard involved, the underlying processes used to achieve the requisite awareness can be common to the environmental, energy, safety and health, and/or quality management systems.

Organizations that conform to ISO 14001:2015 should already have in place the processes needed to meet the internal communication requirements of ISO 50001. Processes used to communicate environmental information for ISO 14001 also can be used to convey the energy policy and EnMS and energy-specific information. The ISO 50001 comment/suggestion process is a communication process that allows contributions to continual improvement, also a requirement of ISO 14001.

Organizations that conform to ISO 9001:2015 have a number of internal communication processes in place that can be leveraged for the ISO 50001 system. These would include, for example, the ISO 9001 processes used to internally communicate the policy, objectives, and roles, as well as responsibilities and authorities.

Organizations conforming to ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 already have external communication processes that address the who, what, when, with whom, and how of the communications. These same external communication processes can be used for purposes of the EnMS.

Step 1.3 of the ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management suggests communicating the energy policy to all staff and employees to encourage them to get involved. ISO 50001 requires that the energy policy is communicated within your organization.

ENERGY STAR users communicate externally to stakeholders. These communications could be a starting point for EnMS external communications.


Task 15 Guidance Version: v18.15.01.02
Creative Commons License
The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

Use this Notes section to save information for communication with other members of your project team, they will be able to see these Notes whey they are logged in to the 50001 Ready Navigator. Notes examples include dates of meeting with relevant personnel for completion of a portion of the task, decisions that have been made about task implementation, or perhaps a link to a file in your organization's shared drive that contains a completed worksheet or template. Please note, do not enter any information in here that you would not want shared with any members of the project team or the site's administrative staff.

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Name Type Description Version
50001 Ready Playbook Task 15 Awareness and Communication PB.15.01.01
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