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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%.

By ISO 50001 standards, an EnMS is defined as a structured approach to establishing energy policies and objectives, then taking action to achieve those objectives. Looser definitions of energy management may exist and be appropriate to your facility or organization, but as a best practice, DOE and the 50001 Ready program adhere to the definition in the ISO 50001 standard.
Yes, many of the processes and procedures in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are similar to those used in ISO 50001 and, accordingly, 50001 Ready. Tips for those already experienced with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are included in the task guidance in the 50001 Ready Navigator application.

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.

At this time, 50001 Ready recognition is intended for individual facilities only. (Note that a facility may include multiple buildings or structures, in accordance with the scope and boundaries defined in Task 1.) While an overall organization can be certified to ISO 50001, recognition for achieving corporate-level implementation is still being developed for the 50001 Ready program.

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.

This can vary widely depending on the complexity of the facility, the availability of energy data, and the extent to which energy improvement opportunities have already been explored. A typical timeframe for an industrial facility is around a year; across all types of organizations, the entire process is expected to range from 6 to 18 months.

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.

Yes, DOE recognizes that variances in the timing of EnMS implementation and the requesting of 50001 Ready recognition may skew performance outcomes. Therefore, for initial recognition, a facility may receive the 50001 Ready designation by completing all tasks and simply comparing energy performance between two years, regardless of outcomes. In order to maintain that designation, future energy data will need to show positive annual energy performance improvement.

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.

No, 50001 Ready does not require use of any particular building software or hardware, though an energy management information system (EMIS) and related building management tools could certainly be beneficial in systematizing data collection, monitoring, and auditing.

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.

No, 50001 Ready does not require any public reporting of policies or outcomes. DOE will list only company names and the location (city) of 50001 Ready facilities in its online listing of recognized facilities. Performance data reported through the 50001 Ready program will only be disclosed by DOE at a program-wide, aggregate level. Organizations will be given the opportunity to share more information about their 50001 Ready experience through case studies and other materials, but this is not required for recognition.

Related Programs and Certifications

50001 Ready is a designation from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for facilities that have self-attested to the implementation of an energy management system (EnMS) according to the guidance provided in the 50001 Ready Navigator application. 50001 Ready is not a certification and is issued solely at the discretion of the DOE. Formal certifications for energy management such as ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance (SEP) require third-party verification of implementation and energy performance to establish eligibility. Find more information at

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.

Costs and time to achieve ISO 50001 or SEP certification will vary widely depending on organizational complexity. Generally, ISO 50001 certification requirements beyond 50001 Ready would include completion of 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. DOE encourages contacting a third-party auditor or certification body for further information.

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.

If your facility is already ISO 50001 or SEP certified, then you have already exceeded the requirements for implementing a 50001 Ready EnMS. At the enterprise level, you may be interested in working through the 50001 Ready Navigator application to encourage other facilities in your organization or supply chain to pursue the 50001 Ready designation.
The 50001 Ready designation itself will have no effect on your ability to get recertified to ISO 50001 or SEP, though maintenance of your EnMS processes and procedures as outlined in the 50001 Ready Navigator application could certainly uphold a culture of continually improved energy management.
The ISO 50001 standard is anticipated to be updated in 2018, and DOE will revise the procedures and tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator application in order to ensure that the 50001 Ready structure remains consistent with the standard. Modifications will be highlighted in the Navigator when this occurs. Facilities with an active 50001 Ready designation will not be required to attest to completion of the updated tasks until their designation expires.

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

50001 Ready Navigator application is designed for use by industrial, commercial, and institutional organizations looking to implement a structured energy management system (EnMS) at their facilities. Completion of all 25 tasks in 50001 Ready Navigator is a required element if you are seeking DOE recognition of 50001 Ready for your facility. Use of 50001 Ready Navigator application is not required to receive ISO 50001 or SEP certification, though it would likely be helpful.
No, the 50001 Ready Navigator is freely available for public use. You do not need to pursue the 50001 Ready designation to set up an account or access the guidance. All guidelines in the Navigator may be used by any entity as they see fit, independent of the DOE recognition.
50001 Ready Navigator enables more effective team collaboration through the use of a simplified and enhanced user interface, streamlined guidance, and the ability to create, store, and share notes with the team.

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
DOE is currently developing additional resources to provide guidance for using 50001 Ready Navigator. If you have specific requests, suggestions, or questions, please message the 50001 Ready Navigator management team via the Contact Us form.
Your assistance in improving these tools is extremely valuable and much appreciated. Please send your comments to the 50001 Ready Navigator management team via the Contact Us form.
The 50001 Ready Navigator has been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to align with the energy management system best practices outlined in ISO 50001. Use of the Navigator ensures that your organization shares a consistent definition of energy management systems, and facilitates a team-based approach to its implementation. The Navigator is designed to help your organization build towards all parts of ISO 50001, so that you can self-attest to being “50001 Ready” or pursue ISO 50001 or Superior Energy Performance (SEP) certification.

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.

50001 Ready for Utilities and Implementers

The 50001 Ready program is designed to complement and support strategic energy management (SEM) and continuous energy improvement (CEI) programs offered by utilities around the country. By adhering to the structure of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard (EnMS), 50001 Ready provides a common benchmark that can be used in the design and evaluation of SEM and CEI programs, and also offers publicly available tools to measure, track and report energy savings.
Utilities and public benefits administrators (PBAs) can partner with the 50001 Ready program in a variety of ways, tailored to the maturity and needs of their SEM programs. At the simplest level, utilities and PBAs may agree to direct their customers to the DOE program and tools, either as a requirement for their SEM programs or simply as a helpful resource. At the most comprehensive level, utilities and PBAs may choose to fully rebrand and host the tools developed by DOE, and run their own version of a 50001 Ready-based program with custom resources, requirements, and recognition. To discuss what kind of partnership might work best for you, please contact us.
Because 50001 Ready aligns directly with the requirements and best practices of ISO 50001—the global standard for effective energy management—partnering with the 50001 Ready program provides utilities with a clear structure and benchmark for designing and evaluating SEM programs. In addition, SEM programs using the 50001 Ready tools can more clearly articulate the gaps and complements between program requirements and ISO 50001 requirements, and better help their customers track progress to certification.
All 50001 Ready resources (i.e., the 50001 Ready Navigator and EnPI Lite) have been designed with open-source protocols that can be freely accessed by the general public. Utilities, PBAs, and implementers of the 50001 Ready program have the ability to use our source-code and host their own version of the tools on their data servers, using their own logos, color scheme, and supplementary resources. Maintenance of rebranded tools will be the responsibility of the partner organization, though DOE can offer limited support for technical troubleshooting.
No, any interested organization (e.g., disclosure groups, trade associations, funding organizations, energy services companies) may rebrand 50001 Ready tools to implement their own programs, but this must be coordinated with DOE. Please contact us for more information.