Practicing Energy Management with 50001 Ready

By Jonathan Susser | April 8, 2021

Over the past several years, we have become recognized subject matter experts in strategic energy management (SEM) and the ISO 50001 energy management standard. One approach we’ve taken to our work is to guide commercial and industrial facilities through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 50001 Ready™ program.

Using ISO 50001 as a foundation, 50001 Ready is a recognition program that provides a low-cost way for organizations to build a culture of continuous improvement in energy performance. It was created so that facilities could reap the benefits of ISO 50001 without the full third-party certification. For sites that are thinking of getting certified, 50001 Ready is a great launching point.

We have used an array of methods to help organizations learn about and progress through 50001 Ready, from higher-level, shorter trainings for those who might be curious to longer-term cohorts that engage with facilities over several months to get them where they need to be.

Virtual In-Plant Trainings

Through the DOE’s Better Plants program, we have hosted virtual in-plant trainings on 50001 Ready. These started out as in-plant trainings but transitioned to a virtual setting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, our engineers had already developed remote training and consulting services for 50001 Ready, so we were well equipped when the shift occurred.

These training sessions provide the basics of 50001 Ready while progressing through the 25 tasks of the 50001 Ready Navigator tool, cross-referencing each task with its connection to the ISO 50001 standard. In March 2021, we wrapped up an eight-week series (one training per week) with Oak Ridge National Laboratory that included 48 individuals from 25 organizations. We’ve conducted similar trainings with Tennessee Valley Authority and others.

These educational training workshops can be a stepping-stone for participation in more in-depth 50001 Ready instruction, as discussed below.

50001 Ready Cohorts

For organizations that are more serious about completing 50001 Ready and potentially getting certified for ISO 50001, a 50001 Ready cohort is an ideal option. We are one of four national ISO 50001 experts selected by the DOE to lead these cohort initiatives. Each cohort consists of a group of five to nine single- or multisite organizations and includes support over six to twelve months. Participants receive monthly cohort training webinars, monthly virtual one-on-one coaching sessions, on-demand guidance and opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.

We are currently partnering with the DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on a cohort for the fabric manufacturing and marketing company Glen Raven, and we have several more in development.

North Carolina-Specific Cohorts

In 2020, we launched an additional North Carolina 50001 Ready cohort. Similar to our work with Glen Raven, this longer-term effort led 20 North Carolina facilities from 18 organizations through 50001 Ready. A 2021 North Carolina cohort is currently underway with support from Duke Energy. The expectation is that all participants will receive 50001 Ready recognition, with some possibly proceeding to ISO 50001 certification.

Conclusion

Pursuing SEM and using the 50001 Ready program can help you save energy, reduce costs and carbon emissions, and increase productivity, competitiveness and sustainability. No matter where you are in your energy-saving journey, we are happy to help. Let us know if you’re interested in learning more by contacting Kitt Butler at kbutler@advancedenergy.org.