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Superior Energy Performance – SEP

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, explains Superior Energy Performance® (also known as SEP®) as follows:

Certifying Increased Energy Productivity under ISO 50001

Facilities certified to Superior Energy Performance® (SEP®) are leaders in energy management and productivity improvement. The facilities in SEP have met the ISO 50001 Standard and have improved their energy performance by up to 30% over three years.

To become certified, facilities must implement an energy management system that meets the ISO 50001 standard and demonstrate improved energy performance. An independent third party audits each facility to verify achievements and qualify it at the Silver, Gold, or Platinum level, based on energy performance improvement. This certification emphasizes measurable savings through a transparent process.

TWO VERSIONS OF THE SEP PROGRAM ARE AVAILABLE: Updated SEP program requirements and documents are now available. Organizations may use SEP 2012 or SEP 2017 for initial certification or recertification. View the SEP Program Documents and Resources List for SEP 2012 and SEP 2017 (with version/revision dates).

SEP-certified facilities note that investing the extra effort in SEP—beyond ISO 50001—is clearly worth it. Cost-benefit assessments find that SEP helps facilities in a wide range of industries and large energy users. Results to date: 

  • Annual savings of $36,000 to $938,000 using no-cost or low-cost operational measures
  • 12% reduction in energy costs within 15 months of SEP implementation (on average)
  • 6% to 30.6% improvement in energy performance over three years
  • Paybacks of less than 1.5 years (in facilities with energy costs > $2 million annually).

An energy management system (EnMS) helps a facility establish the policies and procedures to systematically track, analyze, and improve energy efficiency. Learn more about energy management using ISO 50001.

The SEP program was designed to drive systematic energy performance improvement across the U.S. manufacturing and commercial buildings sectors—significantly reducing energy use and carbon emissions. It was developed with active participation by industry members of the U.S. Council for Energy-Efficient Manufacturing (U.S. CEEM) and is currently administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Audits are performed only by SEP Verification Bodies accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). DOE provides recognition to facilities certified to SEP.

DOE is the administrator of the SEP certification program. For questions, contact

This information was provided by The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.



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