The Business Case for ISO 50001 and SEP

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Facilities pursue Superior Energy Performance® (SEP®) certification to validate robust use of the ISO 50001 standard and the significant, ongoing savings it enables. Detailed accounts by facilities that have certified their ISO 50001 achievements to SEP make a clear business case for rigorous use of an ISO 50001 energy management system (EnMS).

Gain an insider’s view on the associated challenges, strategies, energy savings, and other benefits. Learn about the potential cost savings of implementing ISO 50001 and SEP across multiple sites, using the enterprise-wide approach. Read the cost-benefit analysis, review the single-siteenterprise-wide, and measurement and verification (M&V) case studies, and view engaging videos and presentations.


ISO 50001 energy management systems produce energy savings that directly impact the bottom line and endure over time. One analysis examined ten facilities that significantly improved their energy performance using ISO 50001 and achieved SEP verification of those results. Find all the SEP-verified data in the SEP Cost-Benefit Analysis, which documents deeper, more sustained energy savings with ISO 50001:

  • 12% reduction in energy costs within 15 months of starting implementation, on average
  • Annual savings of $36,000 to $938,000 using no-cost or low-cost operational measures
  • Paybacks of less than 1.5 years in facilities with energy costs above $2 million annually (less than 2.5 years for those with energy costs of $1 million per year)

Beyond impressive energy and cost savings, facilities note that, in combination, an ISO 50001 energy management system (EnMS) and verified energy performance improvements deliver further benefits:

  • Provide data and analysis to inform decision making
  • Take EnMS to a new level—using advanced, rigorous tools to track data and assess impacts
  • Raise the visibility of successful facilities within the company
  • Provide proof of performance—certification increases credibility internally and externally
  • Attract national recognition to your program, helping it grow and succeed.


Facilities, large and small, describe implementing an EnMS, share internal and external costs, present energy and cost savings, and offer lessons learned in the following case studies:

This Detroit Diesel facility improved its energy performance by nearly 33% over 10 years and earned Platinum certification from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Superior Energy Performance® (SEPTM) program. (February 2017)

MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, improved the energy performance of its Gaithersburg, Maryland facility by 8.5% by participating in the U.S. DOE’s SEP program. (July 2016)

2018 Nissan Leaf production at Smyrna Vehicle Assemembly

The Nissan vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, improved its energy performance by 24% over six years by participating in the U.S. DOE’s SEP program. (May 2016)

The Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant (RMEP) in Rocky Mount, North Carolina is saving over $700,000 annually and achieved a 12.6% energy performance improvement after implementing SEP. (July 2015)

The HARBEC, Inc. specialty plastics manufacturing plant in upstate New York is saving $52,000 annually through operational improvements with no capital investment. (May 2015)

The General Dynamics Scranton Army Ammunition plant is saving $956,000 annually after implementing SEP, and achieved payback in just six months. Also read the DOE success story. (February 2014)

CCP Composites US LLC incorporated SEP into its integrated health, safety, quality, and environmental management system to achieve a 14.9% improvement in energy performance over a two-year period. (June 2011)

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. engaged employees at all levels of the organization and leveraged facility-level activities into a corporate energy management program—improving its energy performance by 6.5%. (June 2011)


A growing number of companies find they can leverage resources and cut costs by sharing a common ISO 50001 EnMS across multiple sites. The following case studies relate their strategies for achieving diverse benefits using this approach to SEP certification. Learn more about SEP enterprise-wide approach.

3M used the enterprise-wide approach to certify six sites to ISO 50001 and SEP, saving $3.6 million in energy costs. The approach cut per-site EnMS implementation costs by $23,600 and condensed the SEP certification timeline by six months. 3M plans to certify more sites around the globe. (May 2017)

Cummins concurrently certified three more U.S. sites to ISO 50001 and SEP—and reduced per-site implementation costs by close to $13,000. In the process, the company saved $4.1 million in energy costs and now aims to get 40 sites certified to ISO 50001 by 2020. (May 2017)

Nissan simultaneously certified three sites to ISO 50001 and SEP (including one recertification), saving close to 1,600 billion Btu as a result. With extensive energy metering already in place, the company spent only 0.4 FTE-year in labor to implement the ISO 50001 EnMS at each site. (May 2017)

Schneider Electric used the enterprise-wide approach to certify 19 sites (including 4 recertifications) to ISO 50001 and SEP. Using its Energy and Sustainability Services group to handle core EnMS tasks, the company cut its implementation labor by three-quarters and cut the timeline by half. (May 2017) 


Accurately measuring energy performance allows organizations to predict and plan for energy usage, assess results of energy efficiency activities, and make informed energy-based decisions. These sites share their solutions to M&V challenges to help others.

Cummins’ Rocky Mount Engine Plant (RMEP) faced a modeling challenge where common production throughput and weather variables could not be used to predict the diesel energy consumption. (September 2017)

The HARBEC, Inc. plant in New York uses a mix of energy sources, including a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and onsite wind energy in addition to purchased electricity and natural gas,  which made it impossible to model each individual energy source under the traditional approach. (September 2017)


View videos on the business value of SEP and facilities’ experiences with the program. 


Learn more about the specific experiences of SEP-certified facilities in diverse sectors. These presentations were produced by SEP participants and reviewed by DOE.

Cummins Inc.

  • Cummins, which is implementing SEP across multiple facilities, presented its energy efficiency strategy and how SEP and IS0 50001 fit into its strategy. (September 2015)
  • The Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant shared its experiences in achieving SEP certification—challenges, benefits, and next steps. (September 2015)

Schneider Electric

  • Schneider Electric presented the costs and benefits  of implementing SEP at the enterprise-wide level as part of the company’s energy management strategy. (September 2015)
  • The company described its five-phased process to implement SEP and shared tips and experiences along the way. (May 2014)

Harbec, a small company, has aggressively pursued alternative energy sources including renewable energy and combined heat and power. This case study demonstrated how the SEP M&V Protocol was able to effectively model this diverse energy supply and to demonstrate a meaningful measure of energy performance improvement. (September 2015)

At the September 2015 Green Electronics Council Emerging Green Conference, DOE’s presentation focused on SEP’s opportunity to improve energy efficiency of electronics manufacturing processes and the overall environmental footprint of an electronics product life cycle. Also at the conference, 3M Company highlighted the role of SEP in its corporate energy efficiency goals and the company’s contributions to sustainability in the electronics industry.

MedImmune highlighted its SEP certification successes and described how the energy team at its Gaithersburg, MD facility used the M&V Protocol to adjust for a major expansion of a new building that changed energy consumption on site as they achieved SEP certification. (June 2015)

3M Canada Brockville, Ontario, an SEP Platinum certified plant, shared its SEP implementation process, results of its gap analysis, key work plan activities, and other advice. (May 2014)

Harbec Plastics described its broad range of activities to improve energy efficiency, earning SEP Platinum certification for its Ontario, NY facility. (May 2014)

3M Company achieved SEP certification at its facilities in Cordova, IL, and Brockville, Ontario, Canada by substantially improving their energy performance and sustaining those energy savings over the long term. (October 2012)

Nissan implemented SEP to reduce its energy use by 7.2% over 3 years and achieve a four-month payback at its vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, TN. (October 2012)

Volvo Trucks involved a variety of employees on its energy team to improve its energy performance by more than 25% over 3 years. (October 2012)


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