WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding that will provide up to $5 million in seed money to hire an organization to serve as program administrator to develop and operate DOE’s new Superior Energy Performance certification program. DOE said the program, which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), provides industrial facilities and commercial buildings with a framework for achieving continual improvement in energy efficiency while maintaining market competitiveness. Early-stage pilot projects are currently underway to develop key elements of the program before it is launched nationwide and made available to the general marketplace in October 2011.

According to DOE, the industrial and commercial sectors account for roughly half of all energy use in the United States and thus present significant opportunities to improve the efficiency of their operations. The Superior Energy Performance program is designed to encourage a shift in how energy is managed at the facility level by providing companies and staff with a roadmap toward ongoing energy management improvement, and aims to help save money, save energy, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. industry and commercial operations.

One organization will be selected to serve as the administrator and technical assistance provider for the program over a five year period to begin in 2011. The ultimate goal of the Superior Energy Performance Program Administrator (SEP-PA) will be to position the program to provide a transparent, globally accepted system for validating energy performance improvement and management practices. Consistent with this goal, the program is already serving as the basis for the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) initiative, a multi-country effort to create and harmonize nationally accredited energy performance certification programs. Together, these programs are expected to produce significant global energy and carbon savings.

In order to maximize the reach and value of the program, Superior Energy Performance certification is also designed to require conformance to the forthcoming International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 50001 international energy management standard as a foundational tool.

The SEP-PA will be required to develop a business model that will enable the program to become self-sustaining through the collection of certification fees by 2014 so it can operate moving forward without the need for financial assistance from the federal government. The SEP-PA will also be responsible for management and administration of the program, including coordination of the certification process and record and database management, and promotion of the program through website development, marketing resources, and surveys.

The SEP-PA will coordinate its work with DOE and a Peer Review Committee consisting of the U.S. Council for Energy Efficient Manufacturing, the U.S. Commercial Building Consortium, and other industry stakeholders for guidance and input on the long-term direction of the program. Eligible applicants for program administrator include U.S. domestic entities or consortia composed of: (1) institutions of higher education; (2) nonprofit (except 501(c)(4) non-profits) and for-profit private entities; and (3) state and local governments.

For more information on the Superior Energy Performance certification program, visit www.superiorenergyperformance.net/index.html.

Publication date:01/03/2011