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downloadable PDF version of these FAQs is available at the bottom of the page.

Energy Management Overview
50001 Ready Program
Related Programs and Certifications
50001 Ready Navigator and related DOE Tools
50001 Ready for Utilities and Implementers

Energy Management Overview

What is an energy management system and what are its benefits?

An energy management system (EnMS) is an integrated management culture that focuses on the continual improvement of energy performance as an everyday business practice. 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). 

ISO 50001 is a voluntary global standard for EnMS, and defines EnMS as a set of interrelated elements to establish an energy policy and objectives, and process and procedures to achieve those objectives. The establishment of an EnMS, especially when in conformance with ISO 50001, 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%.

We manage our energy; do we have an energy management system?

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.

My facility has already implemented ISO 9001 or ISO 14001; is that relevant to ISO 50001?

Yes, many of the processes and procedures in ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) 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.

50001 Ready Program

What is 50001 Ready?

50001 Ready is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designation for facilities and organizations that have implemented an ISO 50001-based energy management system (EnMS) using the guidance in DOE's 50001 Ready Navigator online application. To be 50001 Ready recognized, organizations are responsible for completing the 50001 Ready Navigator tasks, self-attesting to their completion, and measuring and improving energy performance over time. The 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).

What are the benefits of becoming 50001 Ready?

Implementing a structured EnMS will help any organization elevate and integrate energy management into everyday business practices. Conforming to the guidelines set by the 50001 Ready program will ensure that your EnMS is implemented with the best practices set by ISO 50001, and will set the foundation for sustained improvement. DOE recognition can also communicate corporate leadership in energy management and social responsibility to your customers.

What are the requirements to becoming 50001 Ready?

Achieving the 50001 Ready designation involves three key steps: (1) Completing all 25 tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator, (2) Submitting a self-attestation form that all 25 tasks have been completed, and (3) Measuring and improving energy performance over time. Facilities are not required to demonstrate energy performance improvement to receive their first year of recognition, though this is required for subsequent years.

How long will it take to become 50001 Ready?

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.

What will it cost to become 50001 Ready?

There are no costs associated with setting up a 50001 Ready management system. DOE resources are freely available to all; no other financial incentives are available from DOE. 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.

What kind of support will DOE provide to become 50001 Ready?

The 50001 Ready Navigator 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 that will provide assistance by e-mail to address any questions or concerns you may have while working through the implementation tasks. 

Once the community of Navigator users expands, DOE will begin conducting periodic webinars to instruct users on how to overcome various EnMS implementation challenges. Early adopters of the 50001 Ready program and organizations with an existing relationship with DOE through their participation in other efficiency programs may have access to additional dedicated technical support resources, please use the Contact Us function in the Navigator application for any clarification around that.

Does 50001 Ready require an Energy Management Information System?

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.

What are the energy performance reporting requirements for 50001 Ready?

DOE has developed the Energy Performance Indicator Tool Lite (EnPI Lite) as a companion tool for the 50001 Ready Navigator that performs regression-based modeling of energy performance. EnPI Lite has been designed to generate an output file that meets the reporting requirements for 50001 Ready recognition, but energy performance calculations for DOE recognition can be reported in a number of formats including summary output from EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, DOE's EnPI tool, and tools from utility SEM programs. Please use the Contact Us page in the 50001 Ready Navigator if you would like to inquire about a specific reporting method.

Can my facility be 50001 Ready if it has not yet shown energy performance improvement?

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.

How will DOE recognize facilities that are 50001 Ready?

DOE will issue certificates and maintain a public listing online of 50001 Ready facilities. Printed certificates, posters and banners for recognized facilities with DOE and 50001 Ready program marks will be available. 50001 Ready facilities may also have the opportunity to contribute to DOE case studies or present findings with DOE at conferences and other speaking engagements.

Are there any public reporting requirements for 50001 Ready?

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.

I have multiple facilities covered under a single corporate energy management strategy. Can my overall organization be 50001 Ready?

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.

How long does the 50001 Ready designation last, and is there a re-certification process?

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 the 50001 Ready Navigator, re-attestation 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 in the Navigator.

Related Programs and Certifications

What is the difference between a 50001 Ready designation and ISO 50001 or SEP certification?

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 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 www.energy.gov/ISO50001.

Will being 50001 Ready help me achieve ISO 50001 or SEP certification?

Yes, guidance for 50001 Ready has been designed using the ISO 50001 structure, and sets the foundation for additional certification(s) requiring third-party verification. 

What are the steps to move from 50001 Ready to ISO 50001 or SEP certification? 

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. 

If I am 50001 Ready, why would I then pursue ISO 50001 or SEP certification?

The choice to pursue 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. Additional certifications may also communicate your organization's leadership in energy management and social responsibility to your customers.

If I am ISO 50001 or SEP certified, why would I pursue 50001 Ready?

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.

If I am ISO 50001 or SEP certified, will 50001 Ready help me with recertification?

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.

Will the 50001 Ready Navigator be modified to align with updates to the ISO 50001 standard?

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.

Can I be 50001 Ready if I follow EPA's ENERGY STAR Energy Management Guidelines?

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ENERGY STAR Energy Management Guidelines are certainly complementary to achieving the 50001 Ready designation, but completion of the 25 tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator is required for DOE recognition. Tooltips are available in the 50001 Ready Navigator to provide specific guidance between Navigator tasks and sections of the ENERGY STAR Energy Management Guidelines.

How does my ENERGY STAR score relate to 50001 Ready?

ENERGY STAR certification indicates impressive energy performance compared to similar facilities, but is not necessarily an indication of having an energy management system in place. Implementing a 50001 Ready EnMS will contribute to energy performance improvements that may be reflected in improved ENERGY STAR scores over time.

How does 50001 Ready provide value for Better Buildings, Better Plants partners?

Implementing an EnMS and achieving the 50001 Ready designation will help Better Buildings, Better Plants partners achieve their stated energy and sustainability goals by instituting a culture of continuous improvement. 50001 Ready can also provide additional recognition at the facility level (versus corporate), often by using the same facility energy improvement data submitted for Better Buildings, Better Plants.

Will being a Better Buildings, Better Plants partner help me be 50001 Ready?

Yes, participating in Better Buildings, Better Plants indicates the completion of several 50001 Ready Navigator tasks, including the establishment of an energy policy and management commitment. Tooltips will be available in the 50001 Ready Navigator to provide specific guidance between Navigator tasks and Better Buildings, Better Plants requirements. 

50001 Ready Navigator and Related DOE Tools

What is the 50001 Ready Navigator?

The 50001 Ready Navigator is an online guide for establishing an energy management system to plan, identify, prioritize, and implement projects that will improve your facility's energy performance. Completion of the 50001 Ready Navigator prepares facilities to pursue certification to the international best practice for energy management systems, ISO 50001.

Who should use the 50001 Ready Navigator?

The 50001 Ready Navigator 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 the 50001 Ready Navigator is a required element if you are seeking DOE recognition of 50001 Ready for your facility. Use of the 50001 Ready Navigator application is not required to receive ISO 50001 or SEP certification, though it would likely be helpful. 

Do I need to use the 50001 Ready Navigator to pursue a 50001 Ready designation?

Yes, use of the 50001 Ready Navigator is required for the 50001 Ready designation.

Do I need to pursue a 50001 Ready designation to use the 50001 Ready Navigator?

No, the 50001 Ready Navigator is freely and fully 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 DOE recognition.

How is the 50001 Ready Navigator different from DOE's eGuide?

The 50001 Ready Navigator is DOE's most recent iteration of the eGuide, and is designed to enable more effective team collaboration through a simplified and enhanced user interface, streamlined guidance, and the ability to create, store, and share notes among users.

Does the 50001 Ready Navigator require any proprietary information?

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 your 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
Are user training resources available for the 50001 Ready Navigator?

DOE is currently developing additional resources (e.g., videos, user manuals) to provide guidance for using the 50001 Ready Navigator. If you have specific requests, suggestions, or questions, please message the 50001 Ready Navigator management team via the Contact Us form.

How can we provide comments for the 50001 Ready Navigator?

Your assistance in improving the 50001 Ready Navigator and related resources is extremely valuable and much appreciated. Please report any bugs and send any comments to the 50001 Ready Navigator management team via the Contact Us form.

50001 Ready for Utilities and Implementers

How does the 50001 Ready program work with utility SEM programs?
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.  
What does it mean for utilities or public benefits administrators to become a 50001 Ready partner?
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.  
How does becoming a 50001 Ready partner benefit utilities and public benefits administrators?
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. 
What does it mean to “rebrand” 50001 Ready tools?
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. 
Are utilities and public benefits administrators the only organizations that can rebrand 50001 Ready tools?
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.