Bob Bechtold standing behind a podium

Bob Bechtold, Chief Fellow, HARBEC, accepting the U.S. National Award for Energy Management at the ACEEE 2023 Industry Summer Study. Photo Credit: ACEEE.

On July 12, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE), Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), recognized HARBEC, a small manufacturer in Ontario, New York, with the 2023 U.S. National Award for Energy Management. This honor took place at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Industry Summer Study in Detroit, Michigan.

To qualify for this national award, HARBEC maintained an energy management system (EnMS) certified to ISO 50001, the global energy management system standard, and wrote a structured case study to share insights about the process and benefits of setting up the system. The case study was submitted to the global Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Energy Management Leadership Awards Program, which promotes the use of the proven ISO 50001 framework to accelerate the achievement of energy and climate goals. DOE leverages the outcomes of the global awards program to offer a national award to the highest-performing U.S. entry. HARBEC, as this year’s highest-performing U.S. entry, received the national award from DOE.

HARBEC is a manufacturer of precision components, assemblies, and solutions for applications in aerospace, medicine, and other high-end industries. The company has invested in and developed its EnMS for over two decades. HARBEC is also a long-time participant in the DOE Better Plants program; the company established a 2.5% annual energy performance target through the program. When seeking validation of its energy use and carbon emissions, the company pursued certification to DOE’s Superior Energy Performance 50001 (SEP 50001) program, which combines ISO 50001 with third-party verification of energy performance improvement. Within the first eight years of implementing an EnMS, the company saw significant reductions in energy costs. From there, HARBEC upgraded its combined heat and power (CHP) system to generate more thermal energy, enabling the site to remove its remaining gas-fired furnaces, standard air conditioning units, and boiler. HARBEC recertifies every three years to maintain its energy performance and adherence to ISO 50001.

This year, HARBEC celebrated its fourth SEP 50001 certification cycle and earned Platinum recognition—the highest level—for the fourth time. HARBEC improved energy performance by 21%, saved over $126,000 in energy costs, and reduced CO2 emissions by 508 metric tons over six years.

Managing energy is fundamental to managing climate impacts. HARBEC, which started by measuring energy use and carbon emissions, now tracks the carbon embodied in every unique part it produces and presents this information on customer invoices. Use of the EnMS also led to creative innovations for cooling. HARBEC tapped into its fire protection pond for process and space cooling by installing a heat exchanger and geothermal loop piping.

Along with successfully implementing energy management strategies, the company has demonstrated a sustained commitment to raising awareness of best practices and sharing benefits of energy management and ISO 50001, which is the primary purpose of the CEM Energy Management Leadership Awards program. HARBEC has received two global Insight Awards (2023, 2016), which the CEM confers on ISO 50001-certified entrants from around the world that submit qualifying case studies. Case studies entered through the CEM awards program become part of an online library to encourage, inspire, and assist other organizations looking to improve their energy performance.

View the HARBEC case study.

About SEP 50001

DOE’s SEP 50001 Program, managed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), offers certification and elevated levels of recognition to facilities that achieve sustained excellence in energy management.