DOE Launches Updated Program: Superior Energy Performance 50001™

May 22, 2019

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DOE launched Superior Energy Performance 50001™ (SEP 50001) to reflect the recently updated ISO 50001 global standard for energy management systems (EnMS). SEP 50001 is building and improving upon the program formerly known as Superior Energy Performance, now renamed SEP 50001.  The  updated program is a key part of DOE’s range of energy management programs, which begins by building an energy culture within a business or organization through 50001 Ready and culminates in verified savings with certification to SEP 50001.

Business leaders find SEP 50001 useful for finding, proving, sustaining, and expanding energy savings. SEP 50001 combines the power of ISO 50001 certification—for a robust energy management system—with third-party verification of the resulting performance improvements. After certification, organizations may use the SEP 50001 Scorecard to apply for Silver, Gold, or Platinum ranks, based on the use of EnMS best practices and advanced technologies.

DOE is committed to continually improving user experiences and benefits related to SEP 50001, accelerating the program’s wider adoption and use.

High-value updates in SEP 50001 include:

  • Reduced on-site audits for multiple sites through sampling: Organizations with multiple facilities “save big,” as audits of both the energy management system and resulting energy performance improvements can now be performed at a small share of sample sites. Sampling requirements are consistent with those for enterprise certification to other ISO management systems (i.e. calculated by rounding up from the square root of the total number of sites seeking certification).
    • For example, an organization with 12 facilities (square root is 3.46) will need only 4 sites audited for the sample, and an organization with 80 facilities (square root is 8.94), only need 9 sites.
  • Net-positive performance: The SEP 50001 measurement and verification protocol provides strong assurance of continual savings. In alignment with ISO 50001:2018, SEP 50001 requires that energy performance improvements be above zero, which levels the playing field for organizations with a long history of responsible energy management.
  • Flexibility in choice of certification body:  ISO 50001 and SEP 50001 audits may be conducted by the same or separate certification bodies (CBs)—a boon for organizations already certified to ISO 50001 and for those that may have already retained a CB for ISO-related audits.
  • Highly qualified lead auditors: Lead auditors must hold the “Energy Professionals International (EPI) ISO 50001 Lead Auditor” credential, which indicates they passed a rigorous exam (consistent with ISO 50003 - the auditing standard for ISO 50001). Lead auditors for SEP 50001 must also complete specialized SEP 50001 training.
  • Performance verification option: Organizations seeking recertification may have an SEP Performance Verifier return to confirm year-on-year energy performance improvements. Organizations may also use this strategy to benefit from third-party incentives, awards, and other recognition opportunities (more credits within the SEP 50001 Scorecard).

For organizations already certified, transition guidance is available. Check out the ISO 50001:2018 Transition Guide, which provides a section-by section comparison of the 2011 and 2018 versions of ISO 50001, summarizes each change, and suggests how energy management systems can be updated to conform with the 2018 requirements. In addition, the SEP 50001 (2019) Transition Guide can help organizations transition from earlier SEP program versions (2012 or 2017).

The SEP 50001 website is housed within DOE’s Better Buildings Solution Center. This new site co-locates DOE’s two energy management systems programs: the 50001 Ready program, which helps organizations get on the road to sustained energy savings, and SEP 50001, which elevates energy management systems to world-class status. These programs share many resources, including business case materials, tools, training, news, and more. 50001 Ready and SEP 50001 both complement the Better Buildings and Better Plants Programs. Partners are deploying 50001 Ready and SEP 50001 to drive energy savings at the facility level to help meet the corporate-wide energy-saving targets they set through Better Buildings and Better Plants.  

Visit the new site at https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/iso-50001.