Advanced Energy Uses 50001 Ready to Help Manufacturing Plant Achieve ISO 50001 Certification

By Jonathan Susser | September 15, 2019

Summary and Results

In the middle of an ISO 50001 certification consultation of a manufacturing plant, the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office launched the 50001 Ready™ program and Navigator™ online tool. Advanced Energy recognized the benefits of this approach and incorporated it into its support of the site.

With the assessments and assistance provided by Advanced Energy and the guidance of 50001 Ready, the plant met its energy management goals and achieved ISO 50001 certification in early 2019.

As it worked toward certification, the site implemented a number of energy-saving projects, including:

  • Converting about 85 percent of fluorescent lighting in its factory to LED fixtures
  • Replacing four 50-ton HVAC units with high-efficiency units with economizers
  • Converting approximately 60 forklifts from running on propane to electricity

Advanced Energy was very helpful in the process of helping us achieve the ISO 50001 certification. The 50001 Ready Navigator tool was very helpful, tracking our milestones as we got each one completed. It kept us on schedule and helped us estimate deadlines with this project. The templates Advanced Energy provided helped us set up our document structure. The engineering team was always quick to answer any questions that might arise.

Facilities Department Lead

Background and Facility Profile

This manufacturing company has sites throughout the U.S. One of its plants, a 650,000-square-foot facility in the Southeast, has six main process areas that use electricity, natural gas, propane and diesel fuel, though electricity and natural gas are by far the largest energy sources. The site’s most energy-intensive processes are its two paint lines, which account for approximately 49 percent of total site energy use.

Figure 1. Site Energy Consumption Pie Chart

Getting Started

In December 2016, the plant was referred to Advanced Energy by the DOE for guidance with obtaining ISO 50001 certification. A conference call in January 2017 revealed that the site was interested in ISO 50001 certification as a step toward Superior Energy Performance 50001™ (SEP 50001™) certification, which, if achieved, would garner additional LEED points. Currently, the factory is the only one in its industry worldwide to have received LEED Gold certification.

The facility is proactive with energy efficiency, had already performed energy-improvement projects and was familiar with ISO management systems, as it was certified for ISO 14001 (for the environment) and ISO 9001 (for product quality). This prior experience was highly beneficial as the plant worked toward ISO 50001 certification. To begin the process, Advanced Energy proposed conducting a two-day plant visit and a walkthrough with facility personnel to perform an energy assessment and ISO 50001 gap analysis.

First Site Visit

Prior to the visit, Advanced Energy and facility personnel worked to develop a high-level understanding of the plant’s energy-intensive processes and management structure using questionnaires, invoices for energy sources, and site and equipment layouts. This information was essential to developing a baseline with which to approach the ISO 50001 process.

Once on-site, Advanced Energy provided an overview of the ISO 50001 standard, including its benefits and certification steps, and reviewed the plant’s energy systems and other resources and documentation. The materials came together in a detailed roadmap for achieving ISO 50001 certification that included an assessment of current plant operations, a gap analysis and next steps.

Gap Analysis

A gap analysis, as its name implies, helps identify the gaps between where a plant is and where it needs to be, in this case, for ISO 50001 certification. To this end, Advanced Energy reviewed the plant’s major operations and processes, energy sources, significant energy users (SEUs), ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 documentation, and the status of these systems in relation to ISO 50001 requirements.

Each major step of ISO 50001 certification was evaluated against the existing conditions and documentation at the plant. Among other findings, the analysis revealed a need to update existing documentation, write new documents and further establish an energy management system.

The results of the gap analysis were detailed in a spreadsheet provided by Advanced Energy to be used as a guide. The spreadsheet included specific information on each ISO 50001 requirement, where the plant stood with respect to that requirement, and what actions the plant needed to take. In all, the site had a concrete foundation for where it was positioned regarding ISO 50001.

Energy Management Documentation and Consulting

Following the site visit and gap analysis, the facility reached back out to Advanced Energy for help developing its ISO 50001 manual and supporting documentation. Using the existing documentation from the ISO 14001 system, Advanced Energy developed a turnkey energy management system manual to serve as a baseline for meeting energy management and ISO 50001 goals.

The manual included sections related to general management and specific ISO 50001 requirements, and it required updating existing documents and creating new sub-level documentation. The site provided input and oversight to ensure that all procedures were applicable and met its needs.

Second Site Visit and Introduction of 50001 Ready

A second site visit took place in September 2017 and included an ISO 50001 readiness check, ISO 50001 internal auditor training, general ISO 50001 employee training and the introduction of 50001 Ready, which had been released in August 2017. 50001 Ready is a self-guided approach for facilities to establish an energy management system and self-attest to the structure of the ISO 50001 standard.

Facilities participating in 50001 Ready use the free 50001 Ready Navigator online tool that provides step-by-step guidance on implementing and maintaining an energy management system in conformance with the principles of ISO 50001. It allows facilities to self-direct their implementation progress through worksheets, templates and team management resources.

Once organizations complete the tasks in 50001 Ready, they can report facility-level energy consumption for operations included in their 50001 Ready energy management system, and the DOE will recognize them as 50001 Ready.

Advanced Energy reviewed the 25 tasks outlined in the 50001 Ready Navigator with the plant and evaluated its preparedness for each. The site then took over the administration of its own 50001 Ready project file and used it to help monitor progress. In early 2019, the plant achieved ISO 50001 certification.

Next Steps

Advanced Energy is proud to have played a part in the plant’s ISO 50001 certification, a huge accomplishment. 50001 Ready proved to be an excellent tool to help the plant organize and track its ISO 50001 efforts, and Advanced Energy has a pending opportunity with the plant to train ISO 50001 internal auditors this fall. The site continues to look for opportunities to reduce its energy intensity, improve its energy efficiency and support sustainability initiatives.

It is currently working toward SEP 50001 certification, which is the highest level of strategic energy management and requires that facilities with an ISO 50001 energy management system demonstrate energy savings through a third-party certification and verification process. Facilities that exceed certification requirements can achieve additional DOE recognition.

Advanced Energy hopes to stay engaged with this plant in its continued pursuit of energy excellence. For more information on 50001 Ready and energy management services, click here.