- Superior Energy Performance® is an energy management certification for manufacturing facilities.
- Based on a study of certified plants, average annual savings per facility was more than $500,000.
- Certification requirements include documentation and validation of energy performance improvements.
Manufacturers want to remain at the forefront and minimize operating costs. Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™) certification can help you tackle both challenges. By becoming certified, you can reduce energy costs and demonstrate leadership in energy management and sustainability.
SEP certification is based on ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems standards and was developed in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). SEP requirements include:
- A corporate culture of continuous improvement in energy efficiency
- A transparent system to validate energy performance improvements and management practices
- Documentation of energy performance improvements and an audit to verify energy performance
Facilities are certified to one of three levels through one of two pathways:
- Energy Performance Pathway—improve energy performance by at least 5 percent (Silver), 10 percent (Gold) or 15 percent (Platinum) over two to three years.
- Mature Energy Pathway—show a 15 percent improvement in energy performance over the last 5 to 10 years and earn at least 35 credits for activities, processes or procedures that go beyond ISO 50001.
SEP saves money and more
A recent analysis of nine SEP facilities by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found:
- Annual savings per facility was more than $500,000, not including any savings from typical business activities, capital project implementation or productivity gains.
- Nearly three-quarters of energy cost savings were the result of operational improvements and the remainder came from capital project savings.
- On average, 10 percent of energy savings could be attributed to SEP; when adding business-as-usual activities, this increased to 14 percent.
- The average payback period to implement an energy management system and be certified was 1.7 years.
Smaller manufacturing plants can also benefit. HARBEC, a plastics manufacturer, improved its energy performance by 17 percent by matching combined heat and power system operation to thermal demand. The result was annual savings of $52,000 and a payback of 2.4 years.
Other benefits of SEP certification include:
- Preventive maintenance is improved by identifying equipment nearing failure, reducing downtime.
- Unnecessary equipment starts and stops are reduced, extending service life.
- Key performance indicators are developed, helping identify operating inefficiencies.
- Employees become more engaged in energy efficiency.
Perhaps the most important benefit is that energy management becomes a way of doing business.
Achieving certification requires a commitment from senior management, as well as:
- Understanding the relationship between the energy management system and SEP requirements
- Preparing for and understanding the auditing process before the audit is scheduled
- Cross-training the energy and management system staff and creating cross-functional teams
- Holding regular team meetings during the implementation phase
- Taking a structured look at data using statistical methods and training staff on these methods
- Leveraging plant-level activities into a corporate-wide program
- Establishing a company-wide integrated documentation system
- Selecting a dedicated staff member to lead the energy team
SEP recently expanded to the commercial market. Hilton Worldwide became the first hospitality company to have hotels certified; three hotels in Washington, DC; Honolulu, HI; and San Francisco, CA.
For more information, see SEP and ISO 5001 Certification Process from the DOE.
Image source: U.S. Department of Energy