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Energy Management Overview
The ISO 50001 Energy Management System Standard defines an energy management system (EnMS) as a set of interrelated elements to establish an energy policy and objectives, and process and procedures to achieve those objectives. This is not to be confused with building technologies used to manage energy (e.g., building automation systems, energy management information systems, and virtual audit software).
Simply put, energy management is a culture for continual improvement of energy performance and efficiency that’s integrated within an organization’s everyday business practices. An EnMS positions your organization to achieve and sustain energy and cost savings through informed and systematic decision-making. Following EnMS implementation, many organizations have seen energy intensity reductions of greater than 20%.
Energy is a critical component to your organization’s operations. It’s important to realize that energy can be managed and controlled; it’s not a fixed overhead cost. Energy management helps to reduce your organization’s energy costs through improved energy performance and optimized use of energy sources and energy-related assets. No matter how large or small your organization, implementing some form of energy management can be a key step to save energy, cut costs, and stay competitive—just ask the 23,000+ ISO 50001-certified facilities!
50001 Ready Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 50001 Ready program is a self-guided approach for facilities to establish an energy management system and self-attest to the structure of ISO 50001, a voluntary global standard for energy management systems in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities. The 50001 Ready program offers:
- A self-paced approach for any facility to implement an energy management system without certification
- Guidance to identify and analyze facility-wide energy use and to develop action plans around energy performance improvements
- DOE recognition for U.S. facilities that self-attested to completion of the 50001 Ready Navigator, without the need for external audits
The DOE’s 50001 Ready designation does not replace and is not a substitute for ISO 50001 certification, and does not imply endorsement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
An energy management system positions your organization to achieve and sustain energy and cost savings through informed and systematic decision-making. Structuring the management of energy—like most organizations already do with finance, personnel, inventory, production, and quality—improves certainty in outcomes and reduces the risk of unexpected energy-related financial obligations. Following implementation of an energy management system, business leaders in all types of organizations have seen substantial improvements in facility energy performance.
By becoming 50001 Ready, cutting-edge organizations will be early leaders in gaining the value of structured energy management systems, and your experiences and input will help guide the DOE as it supports the adoption of these systems and unlocks the resultant savings for the U.S. economy.
DOE will make printed certificates, posters and banners available with the DOE and 50001 Ready program marks to all 50001 Ready recognized facilities. Additionally, DOE will maintain a public listing of all 50001 Ready facilities on its web site, develop case studies, blog posts, and other written materials that highlight the successes of participating organizations, and publically recognize facilities at major conferences and other industry events.
Note: While the 50001 Ready Navigator is open to all, DOE recognition for the 50001 Ready program is currently only available to facilities located in the U.S. Please contact us if you would like more information.
The 50001 Ready Navigator online application contains extensive guidance on how to complete all the necessary tasks, with worksheets, templates, and other resources available depending on the task. DOE has established a help desk support function accessible through the Navigator app that will provide assistance by e-mail to address any questions or concerns you may have while working through the implementation tasks. Video tutorials for each task will also available in the Navigator. Once the community of Navigator users expands, the DOE will begin conducting periodic webinars to instruct users on how to overcome various EnMS implementation challenges.
There are no direct, financial costs associated with setting up a 50001 Ready management system. DOE resources are freely available to all. Organizations will need to invest the time of their responsible staff as well as decide whether to invest in energy improvements that sometimes require upfront costs.
The 50001 Ready program offers DOE recognition for the self-attested achievement of implementing an energy management system in line with the requirements of ISO 50001, without requiring any third-party audits or verification. Achieving the 50001 Ready designation involves three key steps:
1. Complete the 25 tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator
Follow the guidance and track your progress through four topic areas (Planning, Energy Review, Continual Improvement, and System Management) in the 50001 Ready Navigator, an online guide provided by DOE. All guidance in the Navigator will be maintained by DOE to ensure alignment with ISO 50001.
2. Self-attest to their completion
Have your energy management team lead and a senior management representative sign a simple self-attestation form to confirm the establishment of an energy management system once all tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator have been completed.
3. Measure and improve energy performance over time
Use DOE’s EnPI or EnPI Lite tools, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, or other qualifying calculators provided by utility programs to model, compare and report energy performance between years.
Note: DOE recognition for becoming 50001 Ready is currently only available to facilities located in the U.S. For more information, please contact us.
The 50001 Ready designation is good for one year from the date that DOE issues recognition for the successful facility. In order to renew the designation after the first year, you will need to submit through Navigator an updated self-attestation form that the EnMS has been maintained and documentation of energy performance improvement. After two renewals, facilities will also be required to re-confirm completion of all 25 tasks (by proactively again marking each task as Completed) in the Navigator.
For first-time recognition of being designated 50001 Ready, DOE simply requires that facilities report facility-level energy consumption for operations included in their 50001 Ready energy management system. For future re-designations, facilities will need to demonstrate positive improvement, measured on an annual basis. It is recommended that energy performance metrics be normalized through regression modeling that controls for key independent variables such as weather, production volume, building size, etc. DOE has developed the EnPI Lite calculator as a companion tool for the 50001 Ready Navigator application to help facilities meet the energy performance reporting requirements. This tool performs regression-based modeling of energy performance through a simple-to-use, online platform. It is essentially a simplified, web-based version of DOE’s EnPI tool, which many Better Plants partners and Superior Energy Performance participants already use.
Use of EnPI Lite, however, is recommended but not required. Current Better Plants and Better Buildings partners in particular should be able to use their existing program reports to fulfill the reporting requirement, while ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager users may be able to run a simple report as well. The suite of other currently approved reporting options is as follows:
- Better Plants partners may submit their most recent Better Plants Annual Report with data reported at the facility level.
- ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager users may use our 50001 Ready Portfolio Manager reporting template, which can be automatically generated from the link in the Navigator tool (see Task 24 for more details). ENERGY STAR Energy Performance Indicators may also be submitted.
- Better Buildings Challenge partners not using Portfolio Manager may submit their most recent Better Buildings Challenge Annual report with data reported at the facility level.
Any interested user may use EnPI Lite as described above or fill out and submit the 50001 Ready Baseline Reporting template, which is a PDF form and is also available in the Navigator tool (see Task 24 for more details).
Any organization interested in developing a strong energy management system to cut costs and improve environmental performance should pursue 50001 Ready. The program and supporting tools were built to accommodate multiple, diverse sectors, including manufacturing, commercial buildings, public institutions, data centers, and laboratories. 50001 Ready can benefit those organizations with strong existing energy programs, as well as those new to energy management.
The 50001 Ready designation is currently only available to facilities located in the U.S. Users with facilities outside of the U.S. are welcome to continue to use the guidance and resources available in the Navigator, but are not eligible to receive DOE recognition. Please contact us for more information.
Related Programs and Certifications
Yes, guidance for 50001 Ready has been designed to match the structure and content of ISO 50001. This means that facilities that achieve 50001 Ready recognition will have an energy management system in place that conforms to ISO 50001 and will be in great position to complete the additional audit and review steps to achieve full certification. These additional steps generally include undergoing a full internal audit cycle, a corrective and preventive action cycle, and a full management review cycle. SEP certification also requires a bottom-up calculation of energy savings from completed improvement projects. See the SEP web site for more information on how to get certified.
Pursuing ISO 50001 or SEP certifications after becoming 50001 Ready is a logical next step in establishing and sustaining an energy management culture in your organization. Many organizations have found that the third-party validation and additional rigor in documenting improvement are beneficial in achieving their energy performance and cost reduction goals. Third-party certifications may also add transparency and credibility to your organization’s energy management and social responsibility leadership claims in communications with customers, investors and other stakeholders.
The ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management follow a similar structure as ISO 50001. Those organizations that use these guidelines will have a head start in completing the tasks contained in the 50001 Ready Navigator. For example, they will already have already completed the important steps of establishing an energy team, instituting an energy policy, analyzing energy data, determining potential improvement areas, implementing actions plans, and securing management commitment. Some additional areas required for 50001 Ready recognition that may not be fully addressed by using the ENERGY STAR guidelines include such things as addressing legal requirements, monitoring and measurement plans, preventive actions, training, procurement, and energy considerations in design. The 50001 Ready Navigator contains built-in ENERGY STAR Energy Management transition tips to help facilities that have utilized the EPA’s guidelines understand which 50001 Ready steps they have already satisfied and which may require a little more work or a different approach.
ENERGY STAR certification notes impressive energy performance compared to similar facilities, but is not by itself an indication of having an energy management system in place. The energy data required to achieve ENERGY STAR certification can be used to satisfy the reporting requirements under 50001 Ready, however. And implementing a 50001 Ready EnMS will contribute to energy performance improvements that may be reflected in improved ENERGY STAR scores over time.
Better Plants, the Better Buildings Challenge and 50001 Ready are complementary programs with mutually reinforcing goals and features. Better Plants and Better Buildings Challenge partners benefit from a corporate-wide, C-Suite level commitment to energy efficiency and a corresponding energy management structure that spans the enterprise. As a result, these companies are in an excellent position to leverage existing corporate leadership and energy management skills to pursue aggressive plant- and building-level energy management strategies, such as 50001 Ready. In turn, by helping to establish robust energy management systems at the plant- and building-level, 50001 Ready can be an engine of energy-savings that drive the company’s progress toward its corporate energy efficiency goals. Additionally, 50001 Ready provides the opportunity for plant- and building-level recognition to complement the largely corporate-level recognition offered through Better Plants and Better Buildings.
Importantly, in many cases, energy performance data reporting requirements for these programs will be fully integrated. Better Plants partners using the regression-based EnPI tool, can use the same metrics included in their Better Plants data reports for 50001 Ready recognition. There is no need to set a new baseline year, establish a new regression model, or track different improvement rates for different programs. The same holds for Better Buildings Challenge partners using normalized energy use intensity metrics generated from EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Better Plants partners will also be able to tap the expertise of their technical account managers for help as they work through the Navigator application.
50001 Ready Navigator and related DOE Tools
No, the 50001 Ready Navigator does not provide the ability to upload or store any proprietary or sensitive information. All worksheets and forms provided in the Navigator's resource database are intended for internal use only, and should not be shared with DOE through the Navigator or otherwise. Information stored in the Navigator is limited to:
- User name and contact information
- Facility type and location
- Affiliation with related programs
- Assignment of users to projects and tasks
- Task status
- Task notes inputted by users
- Self-attestation form
- Energy performance output file
The 50001 Ready Navigator is comprised of 25 tasks, with each task corresponding directly with establishing the energy management system requirements specified in ISO 50001. Each task includes three tabs that describe the high level (“Getting It Done”), general synopsis (“Task Overview”), and technical requirements (“Full Description”) to help you complete the task. Once you are logged in, you can use Navigator to track your progress on the completion of each task, and of the project as a whole. You can set up multiple projects in Navigator, with each project being a facility as defined in Task 1: Scope and Boundaries. You can also assign tasks to members of your energy team, and use the 50001 Ready Navigator to coordinate and streamline your team’s efforts. Find out more about how to use Navigator by exploring the tool (no login required) or reading our Frequently Asked Questions.