What is the link between ISO 50001 and the SEP Measurement and Verification protocol and how does it affect ISO 50001 certification? How can an Energy Manager best pursue ISO 50001 and SEP certification?

Superior Energy Performance (SEP) is a facility-based, energy efficiency program available in the U.S. in which conformance with ISO 50001 is a foundational requirement. In other words, industrial plants that seek to be SEP-certified must first conform with ISO 50001 and pass the ISO 50001 certification audit. The second foundation of SEP is validation of energy performance improvements, which is accomplished using a measurement and verification (M&V) protocol that was developed specifically for SEP. The energy performance improvements can be implemented during conformance with ISO 50001 or after the certification audit. The Superior Energy Performance Measurement and Verification (M&V) protocol offers a best practice methodology to:

  1. verify the results and impact from implementation of ISO 50001;
  2. quantify energy savings from specific energy efficiency measures or projects; and
  3. track how much energy intensity changes over time for the facility. 

The M&V protocol was designed to document normalized energy performance indicators, such as Btu/pound of product, and to validate energy savings so that reported savings can be used to determine carbon impact.

The link between ISO 50001 and the SEP M&V protocol is the Energy Performance Indicator (EnPI) tool that is developed during the process of conforming to ISO 50001 to measure energy performance based on baseline energy consumption. The EnPI is a linear regression that models the facility’s energy use. In the context of SEP, measurement & verification of performance improvements is performed using the SEP performance indicator (SEnPI), which is the ratio of reporting period energy consumption to baseline energy consumption. The SEnPI is given by the equation:

SEnPI = Energy*current/Energy*base

The performance improvement = (1-SEnPI) * 100 and a SEnPI of less than 1 indicates energy savings. The EnPI must satisfy the M&V protocol, which calculates the plant’s change in energy use. Note: the SEP M&V protocol is different from the Energy Valuation Organization’s (EVO) International Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP). EVO has stated its intent to develop a newer, IPMVP for industrial plants that may be able to be used in conjunction with the ISO 50001 baseline.

To pursue ISO 50001 and SEP certification in the U.S. there is an online process that allows plants to register and begin selecting external resources to guide them through the certification process. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released a web-based toolkit, the DOE eGuide for ISO 50001, to help organizations implement an energy management system consistent with ISO 50001. This seven-step self-paced module guides organizations throughout the implementation process—from making an initial decision to utilize an energy management system to successfully implementing it. The eGuide includes forms, checklists, templates, and examples for developing and implementing an ISO 50001-based EnMS. Organizations new to energy management can use the DOE eGuide Lite to learn about the basics of better energy management.

In Europe, firms can begin ISO 50001 certification through certification bodies such as Certification Europe or BSI Group. Because SEP is for U.S. and Canadian plants, European plants cannot sign up for SEP. However, the U.S. DOE is working with other countries in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) on an initiative called Global SEP (GSEP) that seeks to develop energy management systems within CEM member countries. Though similar in name, GSEP is not a global extension of the U.S. based SEP program, but an initiative to enable the sharing of best practices of national programs and policies that encourage the adoption of energy management systems and ISO 50001. By expanding the body of knowledge pertaining to the costs and benefits of ISO 50001-based EnMSs and energy performance improvement targets, this work evidences the cost/benefits and value of EnMS implementation. This effort provides insights other countries may wish to use when developing or modifying their own EnMS program. Additionally, other countries can use the methodology developed as a common EnMS analysis framework to allow for comparative evaluation of EnMS programs. The methodology, analysis, and results of this study are being used to inform the creation of a framework for a planned GSEP Energy Performance Database that will be used to collect and analyze EnMS program and energy performance data from around the world. The CEM includes many EU states (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.) and representatives of the European Commission.

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