United States of America

United States Superior Energy Performance Program

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Program Summary:

Superior Energy Performance (SEP) is a voluntary certification program that provides industrial facilities with a roadmap for achieving continual improvement in energy efficiency while maintaining competitiveness. The program is based around the standard for Energy Management Systems (EnMS) developed by the International Standardization Organization, ISO 50001, which provides a transparent, globally accepted system for verifying energy performance improvements and management practices.

Several levels of awards are delivered to companies depending on the energy performance achieved. In order to achieve one of three certification levels: Silver, Gold, or Platinum, all facilities need to conform to the ISO 50001 energy management standard and the forthcoming American MSE 50021 standard, as well as improve energy performance by a certain percentage. A number of pilots (12 as of October 2012) have been conducted since 2010 in preparation for the national launch of the SEP, scheduled for the spring of 2013.

Program information

Program Type:
Energy Management
Target Group - Size:
Any Size
Target Group - Industry Focus:
Cross Sectoral
GHG emission source covered:
All Energy Sources

To encourage industrial facilities to achieve continual improvement in energy efficiency and provide a transparent, globally accepted system for verifying energy performance improvements and management practices (ISO 50001).

Program Funding Source:

US Department of Energy

U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (U.S. CEEM) (*1)

Total Program Funding:

Not available

Implementation details

Operating Mechanism:

A central element of Superior Energy Performance is that companies must comply with the ISO 50001 energy management system standard and demonstrate an energy performance improvement [1]. Within this, there are two requirement streams that companies can choose:

SEP Partner: self-declaration of ISO 50001 adoption.

SEP Certified Partner: audit by a SEP Verification Body, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)  - American Society for Quality  (ASQ) National Accreditation Board (ANAB) (“ANSI-ANAB”). Companies must demonstrate compliance with the ISO 50001 and forthcoming MSE 50021 standard and obtain certification by external verifiers and demonstrate energy performance improvements (see “M&V requirement on industry” below for more information).

Superior Energy Performance considers a facility’s performance on a continual basis but does not compare a facility to other facilities within their company or throughout its industry.

SEP status lasts three years, after which companies must seek recertification.

For Certified Partners, companies’ performance can be recognised according to two “energy pathways”:

1) a pathway for companies new to energy management: they must demonstrate savings of at least 5% over a three-year period; and

2) a mature pathway for companies with longer experience in energy management. These companies must demonstrate at least 15% savings over the last ten years and receive a minimum score according to the “Best Practice Scorecard” [1].

Depending on the SEP Certified Partner’s improvement in energy performance during the certification period, it may achieve one of three certification levels: Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Companies in either the Energy Performance Pathway or the Mature Energy Pathway are eligible to achieve these levels of certification. The pathways are further illustrated in the Program Flowchart, below.

Energy Management System:
EnMS standard
ISO 50001
Supervising Entity:
U.S. Department of Energy
Implementing Entity Type:
Public Institution or Agency
M&V requirements on industry:

Adoption of Energy Management System standard ISO 50001 is required.  Within this, there are different verification requirement streams that companies can choose:

Partner: self-declaration of ISO 50001 adoption (no verification)

Certified Partner: SEP Lead Auditors and SEP Performance Verifiers serve as third-party auditors to verify that an applicant meets the Superior Energy Performance requirements.

SEP Lead Auditors will assess a manufacturing plant’s management system conformance to ISO 50001 and additional SEP requirements documented in ANSI/MSE 50021.

SEP Performance Verifiers will assess a manufacturing plant’s conformance to the (1) measurement and verification protocols and (2) energy performance improvement levels defined by the SEP program [1].

Evaluation of Program:
Not available.

Program flow chart

Program Flow Chart


Impacts and Results

Savings (program total):
Not yet available
Savings (share of overall demand):
Not yet available
Non-energy benefits (co-benefits):

Not yet available (work is currently underway to quantify co-benefits)

Other useful information


(*1) The U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (U.S. CEEM) is a partnership with members from private and public sectors. The U.S. CEEM guides the development of Superior Energy Performancecm.  Members include representatives from:

U.S. industrial companies: 3M Company, Alcoa, the Coca-Cola Company, Cummins, Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical, Ford Motor Company, General Dynamics, HARBEC, Holcim U.S., HP, Huntsman Chemical, J.R. Simplot Company, LyondellBasell, Nissan North America, Owens Corning, PPG Industries, SSAB, Toyota, Volvo Trucks North America and Weyerhaeuser.

Alliance to Save Energy

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), Save Energy Now program

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR Industry Program

U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership Texas Industries of the Future (Texas IOF)

(*2) American National Standards Institute National Accreditation Board

(*3) See http://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_deployment/ecenter.html

(*4) See https://ecenter.ee.doe.gov/EM/tools/Pages/HomeTools.aspx

(*5) See https://ecenter.ee.doe.gov/EM/SPM/Pages/Home.aspx

(*6) Texas pilots and case studies http://www.superiorenergyperformance.net/texas_pilot.html