Initiative fosters superior energy performance in U.S. industry

Tags: energy management

The Superior Energy Performance plant certification program, currently being tested through a pilot project in Texas, will provide U.S. manufacturing facilities with a road map for achieving greater energy efficiency while maintaining competitiveness. Initiated in 2007, this standardized approach to identifying, developing, measuring and reporting on energy efficiency improvements will contribute toward reducing the energy intensity of U.S. manufacturing plants by 25 percent in 10 years.

Laying the Groundwork for National Industrial Energy Efficiency
Superior Energy Performance is a voluntary, industry-designed certification program that will provide companies with a coordinated package of energy management and system assessment standards with which to better manage their energy use and improve their energy performance. The program also offers companies a method for measuring and validating energy-efficiency improvements in their facilities. Current plans are for the first plants to be certified in 2010 and the national voluntary program to be launched in 2011.

To find out how the Superior Energy Performance program works in a real plant environment, five manufacturing companies are testing the program within their facilities in Texas. To learn about the companies’ experiences and lessons they learned in the pilot project, read the related Energy Matters article.

The U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing – a cooperative committee of energy management and technical experts from industry, federal agencies, universities and national laboratories – is leading the development of the Superior Energy Performance initiative. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is providing guidance on standards development and the certification process.

A Comprehensive Efficiency Package
The original idea for a plant energy-efficiency certification program came from energy managers at several industrial plants in Texas. They wanted to achieve energy savings, identify a more effective way to manage energy performance, and foster a culture of energy efficiency at their plants, similar to the success they had experienced in their safety programs. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was seeing sizeable energy savings materialize through its Save Energy Now program. The Superior Energy Performance program was born from this recognition that a more comprehensive and disciplined approach was needed to maximize industrial energy performance.

Benefits of a Plant Certification Program
How can the Superior Energy Performance plant certification program benefit your company? By using the program’s systematic approach, you can more effectively manage your overall energy use, implement best practices for lowering demand and improve efficiency. The program provides:

  • A framework to reduce energy use by following ANSI Management System for Energy (MSE) 2000-2008 and eventually International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001 energy management, and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) system assessment standards
  • Measurement and verification (M&V) tools and resources that help to validate energy savings
  • A flexible program that recognizes that plants will have varying levels of energy program maturity as well as need for outside verification of savings
  • A method for communicating to stakeholders about energy management progress
  • National recognition of a company’s leadership in energy management
  • Increased opportunities for utility and state financial incentives for energy efficiency as a result of using recognized industrial system assessment and M&V practices.

A plant certification program can also benefit utility and energy service companies by encouraging a plant-wide systems approach to energy efficiency and helping to justify industrial efficiency program investments.

Building Blocks for Energy-Efficient Companies
Improving industrial energy efficiency by using energy management best practices and system assessments can strengthen our nation’s economy, reduce emissions and ensure greater energy independence. The elements of the Superior Energy Performance program are designed to help you more effectively manage energy use, identify and implement energy efficiency opportunities, and measure resulting energy savings.

The Plant Certification Framework

This diagram shows the structure and components of the proposed Superior Energy Performance program framework. The top box is labelled 'Standards & Protocols,' and contains three boxes side-by-side: the box on the left is labeled 'Energy Management Standard,' which includes logos for the American National Standards Institute and International Organization for Standardization (ISO); the box in the middle is labeled 'System Assessment Standards (optional),' which includes logos for ISO and American Society of Mechanical Engineers; and the last box on the right is labeled 'Measurement & Verification Protocol.' Below this box are two boxes. The one on the left is labeled 'Certifying Organizations for Professionals (TBD)', and lists three components: Energy Management Practitioners; System Assessment Practitioners; and Certified Program Validators. The box to the right of this is labeled 'Superior Energy Performance Administrator (TBD)' and lists one component labeled 'ANSI-accredited Certifying Bodies (TBD).'

Energy Management Standard: By integrating an energy management system into your corporate plan, you can improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity. What’s more, corporate level energy management can provide you with a competitive advantage in the global marketplace, enhance your corporate identity and improve environmental performance.

The energy management standard offered by Superior Energy Performance provides a framework for plants to manage energy, including all aspects of procurement and use, and integrate energy efficiency into existing industrial management systems. Companies must conform to the ANSI/MSE 2000-2008 standard, which will transition to ISO 50001 once the international standard is launched. ISO 50001 will establish an international framework for sites or entire companies to manage energy, and will be compatible with the widely used ISO 9001 quality and ISO 14001 environmental management standards. Read the Ask An Energy Expert column in this issue for details about ISO 50001.

System Assessment Standards: Evaluations of industrial energy systems can help you uncover important opportunities to reduce energy use and improve reliability of energy systems. Evaluating your plant’s energy efficiency opportunities is part of your energy management system.

The system assessment standards developed in conjunction with the Superior Energy Performance program provide guidance in conducting energy-efficiency assessments for four types of energy systems: compressed air, process heating, pumps and steam. The standards, which are being developed through ASME, will establish the requirements for conducting assessments at industrial plants, analyzing data and reporting results. The program does not require that a plant use these standards when identifying energy-saving opportunities. However, having assessment standards in place allows plant personnel to specify that energy system assessments be conducted using the applicable standard.

Measurement and Verification Protocol: In line with the adage, “You can’t what you don’t measure,” a M&V process helps you to develop a baseline for energy use and quantify energy-saving projects.

The M&V best practice methodology under development by Superior Energy Performance helps to verify the results and impact of energy-efficiency projects, measure the energy efficiency of a facility and track how energy intensity changes over time for the overall plant or because of a specific measure or project.

Certified Practitioners: Certified Practitioners are industry professionals who will be trained to help companies properly apply the energy management and system assessment standards, and assist applicants in assessing efficiency opportunities in energy systems and conforming to the requirements of the ISO 50001 energy management system. Candidates will undergo a rigorous qualification exam and will be required to take periodic refresher courses.

End-User Awareness Training: Training modules will be offered to partners to create awareness of the overall program requirements, ISO 50001, system assessment standards and the M&V protocol.

Qualifying for Superior Energy Performance
To encourage participation across the entire U.S. industrial sector, Superior Energy Performance offers three levels of involvement, depending on the degree of data validation desired by a plant. You can choose to become a Participant, Partner or Certified Partner.

Superior Energy Performance Tiers and Requirements

This diagram shows three boxes increasing in height from left to right. The first box on the left is labeled 'Participant' and shows one star after this heading. Beneath this heading is the following text: Criteria, which includes two bullets. The first bullet reads 'Conformance with energy management standards.' The second bullet reads 'Measure and audit energy performance improvement.' Beneath this is another heading that reads 'Performance Levels,' which includes a bullet that reads 'Energy intensity improvement required.' Beneath this is a third heading that reads 'Method of Verifying Results,' with one bullet that reads 'Self-declaration.' The box to the right of this one is taller and is labeled 'Partner' and shows two stars after this heading. Beneath this heading is the following text: Criteria, which includes two bullets. The first bullet reads 'Conformance with energy management standards.' The second bullet reads 'Measure and audit energy performance improvement.' Beneath this is another heading that reads 'Performance Levels,' which includes a bullet that reads 'Energy intensity improvement required, minimum requirements set by program.' Another bullet reads 'Two pathways available: Energy Intensity or Mature Energy.' Beneath this is another heading that reads 'Method of Verifying Results,' which includes a bullet that reads 'Third-part verification via remote review.' The last box on the right is taller than the previous and labeled 'Certified Partner,' with three stars following this label. The first heading in this box is labeled 'Criteria' and lists two bullets.  The first bullet reads 'Conformance with energy management standards.' The second bullet reads 'Measure and audit energy performance improvement.' Beneath this is another heading that reads 'Performance Levels,' which includes a bullet that reads 'Energy intensity improvement required, minimum requirements set by program.' Another bullet reads 'Two pathways available: Energy Intensity or Mature Energy.' Beneath this is another heading that reads 'Method of Verifying Results,' which includes a bullet that reads 'ANSI-accredited certification with onsite visit.'

To qualify for the program, plants must conform to the ANSI/MSE 2000-2008 (until development of ISO 50001) energy management standard and meet the program’s energy intensity targets.

To encourage plants to greatly reduce their energy intensity, the program offers silver, gold and platinum designations based on higher performance levels at the Partner and Certified Partner levels.

Plants will need to re-certify every three years, based on their energy intensity performance and management system conformance.

What’s Next?
The U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing continues to guide the development of the Superior Energy Performance program. Here is a list of upcoming activities:

  • Testing M&V protocol in pilot plants
  • Selecting program administrator to manage operations
  • Identifying qualified certifying organizations
  • Identifying ANSI-accredited certification bodies to provide oversight and certification for each type of Certified Practitioner
  • Training Certified Practitioners in energy management and system assessment standards.

It is expected that the first plants will be certified in 2010 and the national voluntary program will be launched in 2011.
Learn more about Superior Energy Performance, and watch for program updates on the DOE Industrial Technologies Program Web site.


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This article was written by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program and appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of the DOE’s Energy Matters newsletter. For more information, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/.