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Task 18: We consider energy performance improvement opportunities and operational controls when designing new, modified, or renovated sites, equipment, systems, and processes.

Detailed Guidance: Energy Considerations in Design

  1. Identify the sites, equipment, systems, and processes that can have significant impact on energy performance.
  2. Incorporate consideration of energy opportunities and operational controls in design projects.
  3. Include results of energy performance considerations in specification, design, and procurement activities, where applicable.
  4. Retain records of the results of design activities related to energy performance.

Task 18 Guidance Version: v18.18.01.02
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In ISO 50001, the design requirements are not associated with the design of products or services to be sold or offered as a service; they are applicable to the development of new, modified, and renovated sites, equipment, systems, and processes that can have a major impact on energy performance within the scope of the energy management system (EnMS). These requirements incorporate consideration of energy performance improvement opportunities and operational controls into design activities. This can provide the basis for more innovative and energy-efficient designs.

This guidance is relevant to Section 8.2 of the ISO 50001:2018 standard.


Task 18 Guidance Version: v18.18.01.02
Creative Commons License
The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

Any sites, equipment, systems, or processes that are within the scope of the EnMS that can or will significantly impact energy performance fall under the design requirements of ISO 50001. This means that energy performance improvement opportunities and operational controls must be considered when you design, renovate, or modify any sites, equipment, systems, and processes that can significantly impact your energy efficiency, energy use, and energy consumption.

Depending on project specifics, items that can significantly affect energy performance include sites, equipment, systems, or processes associated with:

  • Management and operation of significant energy uses
  • Achievement of energy objectives, targets, and action plans
  • Energy performance indicators (EnPIs)

When designing new sites, equipment, systems, and processes, or renovating or modifying existing ones, think about how they can or will affect your organization’s energy performance. Identify:

  • Potential energy performance improvements that can be considered for the design
  • Any operational controls that may be needed, including controls necessary to achieve energy performance improvement and minimize or appropriately manage the impacts of the design on your organization’s energy performance

Examples of design for energy performance improvement include the following:

  • Design lighting to automatically adjust according to the amount of daylight present. (equipment)
  • Design air conditioning systems to use a water-cooled central chiller instead of an air-cooled split system for cooling. (system)
  • Design the molding process such that hydraulic pumps only pump the volume needed instead of operating at full speed and pumping full volume. (processes)

Some questions to ask when designing new, modified, or renovated sites, equipment, systems, and processes include:

  • What characteristics of this item impact energy consumption (past, current, or future)?
  • Where and how can energy consumption be reduced?

When evaluating the opportunities for improving energy performance, consider the following:

  • How will the existing sites, equipment, systems, and processes be modified?
  • What specific items can be changed to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption over time?
  • What is the right energy source for this application?
  • What are the technological options?
  • What operational controls are needed to achieve and sustain design intended energy performance?

For energy-efficient designs to achieve their full potential, the design process should be coupled with proper operational controls. Since equipment controls can be bypassed or disabled, an operational control strategy should be combined with efficient design to ensure anticipated energy savings are achieved.

The optional Playbook worksheet can be useful in identifying and evaluating energy performance improvement opportunities and operational controls in design activities.

When designing or upgrading sites, equipment, systems, or processes that can significantly impact energy performance, it is important that close attention be paid to how new energy-efficient technology is specified, applied, and used to avoid misapplications. Installation of “energy-efficient” equipment does not ensure improved efficiency if the retrofit is not properly specified. And, no energy efficient technology will capture savings when installed or programmed incorrectly.

As an example, consider energy efficient air conditioner induction motors. Premium efficiency motors are manufactured using high quality materials to reduce losses, and they consistently demonstrate efficiency improvements of 2 to 5 percent over standard motors. A downside of improved efficiency is that in most cases energy-efficient motors operate at higher speeds than standard motors. This presents a problem in centrifugal device applications such as pumps and fans because higher speed corresponds to higher energy consumption. When replacing standard motors with energy-efficient motors in centrifugal applications, ensure that the replacement motor has the same rated speed as the original, or increased energy consumption will result.

Another example related to improper installation of energy-efficient technology concerns air-side economizers. Air-side economizers are a common approach to energy savings in new or retrofit sites. The economizer is a set of outside air dampers that is controlled to bring in outside air when its temperature is below that of the return air. While this technology is a proven method to reduce cooling costs in buildings, a recent survey by the California Energy Commission found that almost 70 percent of the installed airside economizers were not functioning correctly and, consequently, not saving energy. Misapplications discovered included dampers not connected to actuators so they would not open, and improperly programmed controls that fail to open the dampers when the outside conditions are cool enough. These installation errors should be identified and corrected during construction.

Once the questions above have been answered, take action to improve energy performance. The results of the energy performance considerations must be incorporated, where applicable, into the specification, design, and procurement activities related to the project. This should ensure that the decisions on energy efficiency related to the design are carried out. Incorporating results into procurement specifications and activities keeps the purchasing department involved, ensures their awareness of procurement requirements to support energy performance improvements, and provides the justification for any additional costs.

When designing or upgrading sites, equipment, systems, or processes that can significantly impact energy performance, pay close attention to how new energy-efficient technology is specified, applied, and used in order to avoid misapplications. Installation of “energy-efficient” equipment does not ensure improved efficiency if the retrofit is not properly specified. Moreover, no energy-efficient technology will capture savings when installed or programmed incorrectly.

Retain documented information on the results of design activities to show energy considerations were properly addressed. This can take a variety of forms, such as completed checklists, meeting minutes, design drawings, purchasing specifications, and project records.

Recommendations for Energy Considerations in Design

  • Energy Consideration in Design is not intended to apply to products and services, but rather sites, equipment, and systems.
  • Sites, equipment, and systems to be improved through design should be associated with SEUs, EnPIs, and energy objectives and targets.
  • Proper implementation of design projects for energy performance improvement should include proper operational control.

Consider energy performance and operational controls when designing any new facility, major renovation, major equipment replacement, or systems change.  Document that you have incorporated these considerations.

If there is a new capital project to add major equipment, major renovation, or a new building, then the design team for this new project must take energy into account as part of their design process.  Impact on GHG emissions should be an important consideration as well.

It is good to engage design personnel with the energy team.


Task 18 Guidance Version: v18.18.01.02
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The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.
Not required for 50001 Ready recognition

When adding control of energy-related GHG emissions to the EnMS, your organization should consider energy performance improvement and energy-related GHG emission reduction opportunities, and operational controls that affect energy-related GHG emissions when you design, renovate, or modify any sites, equipment, systems, and processes that can significantly impact the objectives of your EnMS.

If you do not have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to build one that also helps your organization manage energy-related GHG emissions, in addition to the guidance for the energy management system you should:

  1. Identify energy uses that have a significant impact on energy performance.  Identify energy uses, such as processes or equipment, that can have a significant impact on energy-related GHG emissions.  Consider energy-related GHG emissions performance improvement opportunities and operational controls when you design, renovate, or modify any of these sites, equipment, systems, or processes.
  2. Incorporate consideration of energy opportunities and operational control in design projects.  Include design considerations for reducing energy-related GHG emissions.  This can include:
    1. Potential energy-related GHG emission reductions that can be considered for the design (such as choosing equipment that uses lower energy-related GHG emitting fuels)
    2. Any operational controls that may be needed, including controls necessary to achieve energy-related GHG emission reductions and minimize or appropriately manage the impacts of the design on your organization’s energy-related GHG emissions
  3. Include energy performance considerations in specification, design, and procurement.  Ensure the results of energy-related GHG emissions considerations are incorporated into the specification, design, and procurement activities related to the project.  Communicate the additional considerations to the appropriate personnel.  This can include procurement, design, engineering, and maintenance personnel.  Ensure that action is taken to improve energy-related GHG emissions performance.
  4. Record results of design activities.  Retain documented information on the results of design activities to show energy-related GHG emissions considerations were properly addressed.

If you have an existing 50001 Ready-based EnMS and want to adapt it to manage energy-related GHG emissions, you should:

  1. Identify energy uses that have a significant impact on energy performance.  If one exists, review your current list of the energy uses that can have a significant impact on energy performance.   Add to that list any processes or equipment that can have a significant impact on energy-related GHG emissions.  Consider energy-related GHG emissions performance improvement opportunities and operational controls when you design, renovate, or modify any of these sites, equipment, systems, or processes.
  2. Review the consideration of energy opportunities and operational control in design projects.  Include additional design considerations for reducing energy-related GHG emissions.  This can include:
    1. Potential energy-related GHG emission reductions that can be considered for the design (such as choosing equipment that uses lower energy-related GHG emitting fuels)
    2. Any operational controls that may be needed, including controls necessary to achieve energy-related GHG emission reductions and minimize or appropriately manage the impacts of the design on your organization’s energy-related GHG emissions
  3. Include energy performance considerations in specification, design, and procurement.  Ensure the results of energy-related GHG emissions considerations are incorporated into the specification, design, and procurement activities related to the project.  Communicate the additional considerations to the appropriate personnel.  This can include procurement, design, engineering, and maintenance personnel.  Ensure that action is taken to improve energy-related GHG emissions performance.
  4. Record results of design activities.  Retain documented information on the results of design activities to show energy-related GHG emissions considerations were properly addressed.

Task 18 Decarbonization Guidance Version: v0.9
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The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

50001 Ready requires the consideration of energy efficient in the design of new buildings, as detailed in 42 U.S. Code § 6834(a)(3)(A). Documentation developed and gathered for commissioning needs for designing new buildings under 42 U.S. Code § 8253(f)(1)(A) can be used towards this task’s requirements for documents, mindful that records of commissioning progress should as well be included.

Visit FEMP’s Best Practices for Energy Efficient Procurement for specific contract language promoting energy efficiency in design.

For completion of this task, energy performance considerations of federal requirements should be embedded into a facility’s design considerations for new, modified, and renovated facilities, equipment, systems, controls, and processes.

Any work carried out to ensure that large capital energy investments incorporate energy performance and life-cycle costing in design criteria as required under

42 U.S. Code § 8253(g) can be used towards developing the design criteria required for this task.

Under 50001 Ready, energy considerations are to be made during the design of new equipment/processes, which would include re and retrocommissioning. Compliance with

42 U.S. Code § 8253(f)(3)(B) may support this.

Compliance with 42 U.S. Code § 8254(b)(1) may support the life cycle assessment requirements of 50001 Ready, and thus should be incorporated into the design components of your EnMS.

42 U.S. Code § 6834(a)(3)(D)(i)(III) can be used to add specificity to the 50001 Ready requirement to include energy consideration in design.

When implementing a water management system, your organization should consider water efficiency improvement and water use reduction opportunities, as well as operational controls that affect water use, when you design, renovate, or modify any sites, equipment, systems, and processes that can significantly impact your water management objectives. Ensure water supply, wastewater, stormwater issues, and water efficiency best management practices are taken into account at the earliest stages of planning and design for renovation and new construction.

When implementing water management at your facility, it is important to have proper design and select the best equipment to achieve intended outcomes. FEMP Water Manual section 4.4. (Design Solutions and Procure Equipment) recommends using Professional Engineers and contractors to design and implement the solutions identified in the comprehensive evaluation (Task 8: Energy Data Collection and Analysis).

Tools and Resources:

Whenever you plan to extensively modify or refurbish any systems or equipment associated with a significant energy use, the energy performance of the systems or equipment must be considered.  The same applies to the replacement with or addition of new systems or equipment.  Operational controls must be considered during the design process also.

The worksheet that is a part of the Playbook for task 18 is helpful in organizing and documenting design considerations.

For organizations with an ISO 9001:2015 quality management system and/or ISO 14001:2015 environmental management system, it is very important to note that the design requirements of ISO 50001:2018 do not apply to the design of products and services. However, the ISO 9001 processes for infrastructure; environment for the operation of processes; planning and control of changes; and, control of externally provided processes, products, and services could be leveraged (with some modifications) to help meet the design requirements of ISO 50001 as related to new, modified and renovated sites, equipment, systems, and processes. The ISO 14001:2015 processes for controlling planned changes might be a starting point for meeting the design requirements of ISO 50001.

Steps 4.2 and 6.1 of the ENERGY STAR® Guidelines for Energy Management mentions design in the context of determining roles. An EnMS extends its methodology within design requirements for sites, equipment, systems, and processes. Records of results of energy performance considerations within the designs are also required.


Task 18 Guidance Version: v18.18.01.02
Creative Commons License
The creative commons license is applicable only to the technical content found in the "Getting it Done", "Task Overview", "Full Description", and "Decarbonization" tabs. The creative commons license does not extend to the 50001 Ready Navigator software or other resources.

Use this Notes section to save information for communication with other members of your project team, they will be able to see these Notes whey they are logged in to the 50001 Ready Navigator. Notes examples include dates of meeting with relevant personnel for completion of a portion of the task, decisions that have been made about task implementation, or perhaps a link to a file in your organization's shared drive that contains a completed worksheet or template. Please note, do not enter any information in here that you would not want shared with any members of the project team or the site's administrative staff.

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Name Type Description Version
50001 Ready Playbook Task 18 Energy Considerations in Design PB.18.01.01
EXAMPLE--Playbook Task 18 Energy Considerations in Design Federal Agency Playbook Example File
Wastewater Example Playbook Task 18 - Filled Out Wastewater Treatment Playbook Example File