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Manufacturers and Utilities to Accelerate Industry Uptake of Superior Energy Performance

December 20, 2013 - 11:40am


At a White House meeting of the Better Buildings Initiative on December 3rd, six manufacturers and three utilities officially joined the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Industrial Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Accelerator Program. Manufacturers joining the Accelerator  include the 3M Company, Cummins Inc., General Dynamics OTS, Nissan, Schneider Electric, and Volvo Group North America. Utilities joining the program include the Bonneville Power Administration, Efficiency Vermont, and Northeast Utilities (including Connecticut Light & Power Company, Yankee Gas, and NSTAR Electric & Gas).

“These companies have stepped up to help establish a new paradigm for energy efficiency in manufacturing,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office at the Department of Energy. “Each has committed a starting point of at least three manufacturing plants to pursue Superior Energy Performance and to help manufacturers understand the measurable benefits that they can achieve, sustain, and expand over time with an effective energy management system. In energy, if you can’t measure it - you can’t manage it.   Achieving the level of Superior Energy Performance will give these companies the greatest ability to manage their energy resources and thereby maximize competitive advantage.”

SEP is a certification program that builds on the ISO 50001 energy management standard to verify energy performance improvements and savings in industrial facilities. To date, 16 U.S. industrial facilities have earned SEP certification—improving their energy performance, reducing production costs, and boosting competitiveness.

The three utility partners in the Better Buildings SEP Ratepayer-funded Accelerator will be charting new territory in exploring incorporating SEP into the resources that they offer their manufacturing customers.  These partners will support the development of an SEP program Toolkit that can be widely utilized by ratepayer-funded programs around the country.

Each of the six manufacturers in the Better Buildings SEP Enterprise-wide Accelerator has at least one facility that has already earned SEP certification. They will advance energy management practices, build ISO 50001 expertise, share positive results with other facilities, and demonstrate the benefits of expanding SEP certification to additional plants. Specific commitments by these manufacturers include the following:

  • 3M Company committed six facilities and may add more U.S. and Canadian plants to the project over time.
  • Cummins is testing SEP at four U.S. facilities and will use the results to decide on future implementation in other U.S. and non-U.S. plants. Cummins is leveraging its strength in environmental management systems (131 sites ISO 14001 registered) to integrate ISO 50001 into the enterprise.
  • General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has three facilities committed to SEP, including the Scranton, PA, plant that is already certified.
  • Nissan committed four facilities and is exploring additional opportunities in Tennessee. Its plan features steps to accelerate Energy Management System (EnMS) implementation, streamline integration in existing and new facilities, and reach Better Plants corporate goals.
  • Schneider Electric is committing eight U.S. facilities to the project and plans to develop corporate best practices for implementing an EnMS and reducing auditing costs.
  • Volvo Group North America has committed three facilities, including the Dublin, VA, and Macungie, PA, plants that are already certified.

By demonstrating the benefits of SEP enterprise-wide, Accelerator partners are helping industry save energy and reducing the staff time required for implementation. Approaches established through both of these Accelerators will assist other manufacturing facilities in creating their own enterprise-wide implementation plans.

Together, the two components of the Accelerator will lead to increased participation in SEP, increased energy savings and competitiveness in facilities, and reduced costs in attaining SEP certification.

Superior Energy Performance is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) administered certification and recognition program that complements and supports the industrial part of DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative by verifying facility-level energy performance improvements and savings of Better Buildings, Better Plants program participants. Members of the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing (U.S. CEEM) worked with DOE, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board to develop SEP as a transparent system for certifying improvements in energy performance and management practices.