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Energy Management Overview

The ISO 50001 Energy Management System Standard defines an energy management system (EnMS) as a set of interrelated elements to establish an energy policy and objectives, and process and procedures to achieve those objectives. This is not to be confused with building technologies used to manage energy (e.g., building automation systems, energy management information systems, and virtual audit software).

Simply put, energy management is a culture for continual improvement of energy performance and efficiency that’s integrated within an organization’s everyday business practices. An EnMS positions your organization to achieve and sustain energy and cost savings through informed and systematic decision-making. Following EnMS implementation, many organizations have seen energy intensity reductions of greater than 20%.

By ISO 50001 standards, an EnMS is defined as a structured approach to establishing energy policies and objectives, then taking action to achieve those objectives. Looser definitions of energy management may exist and be appropriate to your facility or organization, but as a best practice, DOE and the 50001 Ready program adhere to the definition in the ISO 50001 standard.
Yes, many of the processes and procedures in ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are similar to those used in ISO 50001 and, accordingly, 50001 Ready. Tips for those already experienced with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 are included in the task guidance in the 50001 Ready Navigator application.

Energy is a critical component to your organization’s operations. It is important to realize that energy can be managed and controlled; it is not a fixed overhead cost. Energy management helps to reduce your organization’s energy costs through improved energy performance and optimized use of energy sources and energy-related assets. No matter how large or small your organization, implementing some form of energy management can be a key step to save energy, cut costs, and stay competitive - Just ask the 23,000+ ISO 50001 certified facilities!

50001 Ready Program

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 50001 Ready program is a self-guided approach for facilities to establish an energy management system and self-attest to the structure of ISO 50001, a voluntary global standard for energy management systems in industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities. The 50001 Ready program offers:

  • A self-paced approach for any facility to implement an energy management system without certification.
  • Guidance to identify and analyze facility-wide energy use and to develop action plans around energy performance improvements.
  • DOE recognition for U.S. facilities that self-attested to completion of the 50001 Ready Navigator, without the need for external audits.

The DOE’s 50001 Ready designation does not replace and is not a substitute for ISO 50001 certification, and does not imply endorsement by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The 50001 Ready Navigator has been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to align with the energy management system best practices outlined in ISO 50001. Use of the Navigator ensures that your organization shares a consistent definition of energy management systems, and facilitates a team-based approach to its implementation. The Navigator is designed to help your organization build towards all parts of ISO 50001, so that you can self-attest to being “50001 Ready” or pursue ISO 50001 or Superior Energy Performance (SEP) 50001 certification.

An energy management system positions your organization to achieve and sustain energy and cost savings through informed and systematic decision-making. Structuring the management of energy, like most organizations already do with finance, personnel, inventory, production, and quality improves certainty in outcomes and reduces the risk of unexpected energy-related financial obligations. Following implementation of an energy management system, business leaders in all types of organizations have seen substantial improvements in facility energy performance.

By becoming 50001 Ready, cutting-edge organizations will be early leaders in gaining the value of structured energy management systems, and your experiences and input will help guide the DOE as it supports the adoption of these systems and unlocks the resultant savings for the U.S. economy.

The 50001 Ready Navigator has multi-site functionality, but recognition is issued at the facility level. (Note that a facility may include multiple buildings or structures, as defined in the Scope and Boundaries task). The 50001 Ready multi-site functionality allows tracking of multiple sites at the corporate/enterprise level and for completion of tasks at the corporate/enterprise level with the ability to “push” the completed task to each site for final approval.

To create a multi-site project, go to My Project Overview, select “New Project”, and then “New Multi-Site Project. If you have existing projects and want to incorporate them into a multi-site project, contact the 50001 Ready Help Desk.

DOE will make printed certificates, posters and banners available with the DOE and 50001 Ready program marks to all 50001 Ready recognized facilities. Additionally, DOE will maintain a public listing of all 50001 Ready facilities on its web site, develop case studies, blog posts, and other written materials that highlight the successes of participating organizations, and publicly recognize facilities at major conferences and other industry events.

Note: While the 50001 Ready Navigator is open to all, DOE recognition for the 50001 Ready program is currently only available to facilities located in the U.S. Please contact the 50001 Ready Help Desk if you would like more information.

This can vary widely depending on the complexity of the facility, current energy management activities, resources provided by top management, the availability of energy data, and the extent to which energy improvement opportunities have already been explored.

A typical timeframe for a site is approximately 6 to 12 months. Sites with existing energy or other management systems may be able to complete the implementation within a shorter time-frame.

The 50001 Ready Navigator contains extensive guidance on how to complete all the necessary tasks, with worksheets, templates, and other resources available depending on the activity. Key resources are consolidated into the 50001 Ready Playbook, a downloadable workbook companion to the 50001 Ready Navigator.

Additionally, DOE has established a help desk support function accessible through the Navigator providing e-mail assistance for any questions or concerns you may have while working through the implementation tasks. The help desk is staffed by ISO 50001 Ready subject matter experts from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Video tutorials for each activity grouping are also available in the Navigator on their respective task pages.

There are no direct, financial costs associated with setting up a 50001 Ready management system. DOE resources are freely available to all. Organizations will need to invest the time of their responsible staff as well as decide whether to invest in energy improvements that sometimes require upfront costs.

The 50001 Ready program offers DOE recognition for the self-attested achievement of implementing an energy management system in line with the requirements of ISO 50001, without requiring any third-party audits or verification.

Achieving the 50001 Ready designation involves three key steps:

1. Complete the 25 tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator
Follow the guidance and track your progress through four topic areas (Planning, Energy Review, Continual Improvement, and System Management) in the 50001 Ready Navigator, an online guide provided by DOE. All guidance in the Navigator will be maintained by DOE to ensure alignment with ISO 50001.

2. Self-attest to their completion
Have your energy management team lead and a senior management representative sign a simple self-attestation form to confirm the establishment of an energy management system once all tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator have been completed.

3. Measure and improve energy performance over time
Use DOE’s EnPI or EnPI Lite tools, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, or other qualifying calculators provided by utility programs to model, compare and report energy performance between years.

Note: DOE recognition for becoming 50001 Ready is currently only available to facilities located in the U.S. For more information, please contact the 50001 Ready Help Desk.

Yes, DOE recognizes that variances in the timing of EnMS implementation and the requesting of 50001 Ready recognition may skew performance outcomes. Therefore, for initial recognition, a facility may receive the 50001 Ready designation by providing a baseline year of energy consumption.

For subsequent years, providing year-on-year energy performance improvement is required. A facility may have a negative improvement for one year and still maintain DOE recognition. See the Recognition Page for more details.

The 50001 Ready designation is valid for one year starting from the date that DOE issues recognition. Following that initial DOE designation, a facility may choose to renew a total of two times in the two consecutive years immediately following the date of initial designation by submitting through the Navigator an updated self-attestation form confirming that the EnMS has been maintained along with documentation of energy performance improvement.

After having received initial designation, then renewed designation twice, the facility must re-confirm completion of all 25 tasks by actively marking each task as completed in the Navigator and submitting through the Navigator an updated self-attestation form confirming that the EnMS has been maintained along with documentation of energy performance improvement.

No, 50001 Ready does not require use of any particular building software or hardware, though an energy management information system (EMIS) and related building management tools could certainly be beneficial in systematizing data collection, monitoring, and auditing.

No, 50001 Ready does not require any public reporting of policies or outcomes. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will list only company names and the location (city, state) of 50001 Ready facilities in its online listing of recognized facilities. Performance data reported through the 50001 Ready program will only be disclosed by DOE at a program-wide, aggregate level. Organizations will be given the opportunity to share more information about their 50001 Ready experience through case studies and other materials, but this is not required for recognition.

Once an organization requests 50001 Ready recognition, the organization will receive a response within 2 business days. That response will include a request to schedule a confirmation “green light” phone call. Recognition will be approved following LBNL/DOE review of the submitted energy performance report and completion of the confirmation phone call.


The help desk is staffed by ISO 50001 subject matter experts and CP EnMS certified professionals from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The help desk staff can assist with any questions you might have during the implementation of a 50001 Ready energy management system, as well assist with any IT problems associated with the 50001 Ready Navigator or EnPI Lite tool.

Related Programs and Certifications

50001 Ready is a designation from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for facilities that have self-attested to the implementation of an energy management system (EnMS) according to the guidance provided in the 50001 Ready Navigator application. 50001 Ready is not a certification and is issued solely at the discretion of the DOE.

Formal certifications for energy management such as ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance (SEP) require third-party verification of implementation and energy performance to establish eligibility. Find more information at

Yes, guidance for 50001 Ready has been designed to match the structure and content of ISO 50001. This means that facilities that achieve 50001 Ready recognition will have an energy management system in place that conforms to ISO 50001 and will be in great position to complete the additional third-party audit to achieve full certification.

Superior Energy Performance (SEP) 50001 certification has additional requirements for third-party certification of energy performance improvement which include both a top-down and bottom-up calculation of energy improvement during the SEP 50001 achievement period. The bottom up calculation, which is not required by 50001 Ready, sums completed energy improvement projects to verify the top down results. The SEP 50001 energy performance improvement top down results use linear regression modeling to estimate energy performance improvement, and are similar to those from the EnPI Lite tool, which can be used for 50001 Ready. See the SEP 50001 web site for more information on how to get certified.

Costs and time to achieve ISO 50001 or SEP 50001 certification will vary widely depending on organizational complexity. For ISO 50001 certification, US Department of Energy (DOE) encourages contacting a third-party auditor or certification body for further information. The initial steps to prepare for adopting ISO 50001 are detailed below:

  1. Purchase ISO 50001.
  2. Take preparatory steps toward establishing an energy management system (EnMS):
    • Develop an energy policy that includes commitment to the EnMS from top management
    • Identify a management representative to lead implementation of the EnMS
    • Establish a team of representatives from major functional areas of the organization
    • Decide on the boundaries of the EnMS
  3. Once prepared, get started with implementing an EnMS:
    • Undertake an energy review to identify significant energy uses, their energy consumption, and opportunities for improvement
    • Establish an energy baseline
    • Identify energy performance indicators for tracking energy performance improvement against the baseline
  4. For additional guidance, DOE and other organizations offer technical resources to assist with implementation with energy management:
  5. Get started with ISO 50001 by getting recognized through the 50001 Ready program for self-attested implementation of energy management business practices.
  6. Consider Superior Energy Performance (SEP) 50001 certification early on in the process of implementing an EnMS. SEP 50001 provides guidance, tools, and protocols to drive deeper, more sustained savings from ISO 50001. Learn more about the business case for SEP 50001.

Organizations have found that building on their success with 50001 Ready by achieving ISO 50001 or SEP 50001 certifications after becoming 50001 Ready is a logical next step in establishing and sustaining an energy management culture in your organization.

Many organizations have found that the third-party validation and additional rigor in documenting improvement are beneficial in achieving their energy performance and cost reduction goals. Third-party certifications may also add transparency and credibility to your organization’s energy management and social responsibility leadership claims in communications with customers, investors and other stakeholders.

If your facility is already ISO 50001 or SEP 50001 certified, then you have already exceeded the requirements for implementing a 50001 Ready EnMS. At the enterprise level, you may be interested in working through the 50001 Ready Navigator application to encourage other facilities in your organization or supply chain to pursue the 50001 Ready designation.

Although the 50001 Ready designation itself will have no effect on your ability to get recertified to ISO 50001 or SEP 50001, maintenance of your EnMS processes and procedures as outlined in the 50001 Ready Navigator application could certainly help uphold a culture of continually improved energy management, with completion of the Ready recognition process providing a useful organizational status check in preparation for ISO re-certification.

The ISO 50001 standard was updated in 2018 and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has revised the procedures and tasks in the 50001 Ready Navigator application in order to ensure that the 50001 Ready structure aligns more closely with the standard’s recent revisions.

Facilities with an active 50001 Ready designation will not be required to attest to completion of the updated tasks until their designation expires. The Navigator has been updated to reflect changes made to the ISO 50001:2018 energy management standard.

The ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management follow a similar structure as ISO 50001. Those organizations that use these guidelines will have a head start in completing the tasks contained in the 50001 Ready Navigator. For example, they will already have completed the important steps of establishing an energy team; instituting an energy policy, analyzing energy data, determining potential improvement areas, implementing actions plans, and securing management commitment.

Some additional areas required for 50001 Ready recognition that may not be fully addressed by using the ENERGY STAR guidelines include such things as addressing legal requirements, monitoring and measurement plans, preventive actions, training, procurement, and energy considerations in design. The 50001 Ready Navigator contains built-in ENERGY STAR Energy Management transition tips to help facilities that have utilized the EPA’s guidelines understand which 50001 Ready steps they have already satisfied and which may require a little more work or a different approach.

ENERGY STAR certification notes impressive energy performance compared to similar facilities, but is not by itself an indication of having an energy management system in place. The energy data required to achieve ENERGY STAR certification can be used to satisfy the reporting requirements under 50001 Ready. Implementing a 50001 Ready EnMS will contribute to energy performance improvements that may be reflected in improved ENERGY STAR scores over time.

Better Plants, the Better Buildings Challenge and 50001 Ready are complementary programs with mutually reinforcing goals and features. Better Plants and Better Buildings Challenge partners benefit from a corporate-wide, C-Suite level commitment to energy efficiency and a corresponding energy management structure that spans the enterprise. As a result, these companies are in an excellent position to leverage existing corporate leadership and energy management skills to pursue aggressive plant- and building-level energy management strategies, such as 50001 Ready.

In turn, by helping to establish robust energy management systems at the plant- and building-level, 50001 Ready can be an engine of energy savings that drive the company’s progress toward its corporate energy efficiency goals. Additionally, 50001 Ready provides the opportunity for the plant and building level recognition to complement the largely corporate level recognition offered through Better Plants and Better Buildings.

Importantly, in many cases, energy performance data reporting requirements for these programs will be fully integrated. Better Plants partners using the regression-based EnPI tool, can use the same metrics included in their Better Plants data reports for 50001 Ready recognition. There is no need to set a new baseline year, establish a new regression model, or track different improvement rates for different programs. The same holds for Better Buildings Challenge partners using normalized energy use intensity metrics generated from EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Better Plants partners will also be able to tap the expertise of their technical account managers for help as they work through the Navigator tasks.

50001 Ready Navigator and related DOE Tools

50001 Ready Navigator application is designed for use by any industrial, commercial, and institutional organizations looking to implement a structured energy management system (EnMS) at their facilities.
No, the 50001 Ready Navigator is freely available for public use. You do not need to pursue the 50001 Ready designation to set up an account or access the guidance. All guidelines in the Navigator may be used by any entity as they see fit, independent of the DOE recognition.
50001 Ready Navigator enables more effective team collaboration through the use of a simplified and enhanced user interface, streamlined guidance, and the ability to create, store, and share notes with the team.

No, the 50001 Ready Navigator does not provide the ability to upload or store any proprietary or sensitive information. All worksheets and forms provided in the Navigator's resource database are intended for internal use only, and should not be shared with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the Navigator or otherwise. 

The Navigator data is used to track Ready program updates and progress. A limited number of systems administrators have access to the following data in Navigator.

  • User name and contact information
  • Facility type and location
  • Affiliation with related programs
  • Assignment of users to projects and tasks
  • Task status
  • Task notes inputted by users
  • Self-attestation form
  • Energy performance output file

Step-by-step guidance is provided within each of the Navigator tasks. The 50001 Ready Navigator worksheets are optional resources for teams to use as they work through the Navigator tasks. These companion resources can be used as needed and on an individual task basis or they can be used collectively by functioning as a comprehensive 50001 Ready repository that we refer to as the Playbook. This 50001 Ready Navigator Playbook enables users to organize, save, and track completed documents on a local drive or network. Users can open, edit, and save forms related to Navigator tasks and track completed actions by checking boxes and recording their progress in the Playbook worksheets. Some activities embedded in the Playbook address several combined tasks and have been distilled to more simplified versions compared to the guidance embedded in the Navigator.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently developing additional resources to provide guidance for using 50001 Ready Navigator. If you have specific requests, suggestions, or questions, please message the 50001 Ready Navigator management team via the 50001 Ready Help Desk.

Your assistance in improving these tools is extremely valuable and much appreciated. Please send your comments to the 50001 Ready Navigator management team through the 50001 Ready Help Desk.

The 50001 Ready Navigator has been developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to align with the energy management system best practices outlined in ISO 50001. Use of the Navigator ensures that your organization shares a consistent definition of energy management systems, and facilitates a team-based approach to its implementation. The Navigator is designed to help your organization build towards all parts of ISO 50001, so that you can self-attest to being “50001 Ready” or pursue ISO 50001 or Superior Energy Performance (SEP) 50001 certification.

The 50001 Ready Navigator is comprised of 25 tasks, with each task corresponding directly with establishing the energy management system requirements specified in ISO 50001. Each task includes three tabs that describe the high level 'Getting It Done', general synopsis 'Task Overview', and technical requirements 'Full Description', to help you complete the task.

Once you are logged in, you can use the Navigator to track your progress on the completion of each task, and of the project as a whole. You can set up multiple projects in Navigator, with each project being a facility as defined in the Navigator’s Scope and Boundaries task. You can also assign tasks to members of your energy team, and use the 50001 Ready Navigator to coordinate and streamline your team’s efforts. Find out more about how to use Navigator by exploring the tool (no login required) or reading through the other Frequently Asked Questions.

Have the creator of that project go to the "assignments" tab of each task and select that person as the "approver". That person will need to be on the project team.

50001 Ready for Utilities and Implementers

The 50001 Ready program is designed to complement and support strategic energy management (SEM) and continuous energy improvement (CEI) programs offered by utilities around the country. By adhering to the structure of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard (EnMS), 50001 Ready provides a common benchmark that can be used in the design and evaluation of SEM and CEI programs, and also offers publicly available tools to measure, track and report energy savings.

Utilities and public benefits administrators (PBAs) can partner with the 50001 Ready program in a variety of ways, tailored to the maturity and needs of their SEM programs. At the simplest level, utilities and PBAs may agree to direct their customers to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program and tools, either as a requirement for their SEM programs or simply as a helpful resource. At the most comprehensive level, utilities and PBAs as part of their SEM program, may leverage incentive programs to provide technical assistance at no cost to their customers to gain 50001 Ready Recognition or may choose to participate as a 50001 Ready Partner.

Once a partner agreement is signed, 50001 Ready Partners will be granted access to the Partner Platform feature. The Partner Platform affords co-branding opportunities on the Partner’s website and within the Navigator, provides customizable content and resources for each of the 25 tasks, and a personalized Partner Dashboard to aggregate activity and manage tasks. To discuss what kind of partnership might work best for you, please contact us at the 50001 Ready Help Desk.

50001 Ready aligns directly with the requirements and best practices of ISO 50001, the global standard for effective energy management. Partnering with the 50001 Ready program provides utilities with a clear structure and benchmark for designing and evaluating SEM programs. In addition, SEM programs using the 50001 Ready tools can more clearly articulate the gaps and compliments between program requirements and ISO 50001 requirements, and better help their customers track progress to certification.

Other public-purpose organizations offering technical assistance or incentive programs at no cost to energy end-users may be eligible. Please contact us for more information.