After working with the GaMEP on implementing ISO 50001, Berkeley Lab:
- Became certified to ISO 50001 with zero nonconformities or concerns.
- Created an Energy Water Management System Manual, a comprehensive reference available to the public & a daily resource for the Lab.
- Developed rigorous and maintainable processes and a greater certainty in the persistence of the energy and water savings.
- Obtained broader and stronger management support for the Lab’s energy and water efforts.
- Realized a portfolio of 12.3M kWh/year in annualized maintained electricity and natural gas savings.
- Achieved a 19.9M gallons annualized water savings, contributing to a total annualized cost savings of $845.6K.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab, is a United States National Laboratory that conducts scientific research on behalf of the Department of Energy, and is managed by the University of California. The Lab focuses on unclassified basic and applied research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. The energy efficient technologies developed here, which include cool roofs and low-e windows, have generated billions of dollars in savings, revenue, and created thousands of jobs.
In 2017 the Sustainable Berkeley Lab team, led by Chief Sustainability Officer John Elliott, elected to pursue ISO 50001 to support efforts to reduce the Lab’s climate, energy, and water footprint. Through a gap analysis conducted by Holly Grell-Lawe and Bill Meffert, Project Managers with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, they identified the extent to which the Lab’s energy management activities were already aligned with the ISO 50001 standard. This gap analysis helped determine what improvements were needed to achieve certification, and existing data helped to identify big energy users, like the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) user facility. Even though the ISO 50001 Standard specifies “what” is to be done, it is up to the implementing organization to determine “how” it will be done.
Elliott and Sustainability Project Manager Karen Salvini, hired the experts at Georgia Tech’s GaMEP to help coach and train the Lab towards ISO 50001 certification over a period of 24 months. “This would have been far more challenging for us to do on our own,” Elliott said. “The 24-month project plan proposed by the GaMEP allowed us sufficient time to align our current activities with the standard, and provided a workable process for achieving certification.”
The team initiated a “Plan-Do-Check-Act” framework for managing and improving their energy and water performance. This fully customized, phase-based strategy allowed the Lab to do a step-by-step implementation for their Energy and Water Management System (EWMS) against the standard. The Lab was able to plan their approach and effectively capture what energy processes they already had in place (Phase 1), implement new activities to address the significant energy use and overall energy and water consumption (Phase 2), check how their systems were operating and being maintained, and set up metrics to analyze energy and water consumption and take corrective action for continual improvement (Phase 3).
The team met monthly via Zoom for coaching sessions and had several onsite workshops. Since Berkley Lab is a complex laboratory with a wide range of research divisions, it was important to build a program that was pervasive throughout the organization. The team gained strong support from top management, clearly communicated key benefits and achievements, and worked to integrate 50001 concepts into the Lab’s business processes to continue even if personnel changes occurred.
At the conclusion of the program, GaMEP brought in two ISO 50001 experts, who did not have a connection with the project, to do a readiness review (mock certification audit). This helped to identify any remaining deficiencies so the Lab could address them and be well-positioned for a successful certification audit. From the certification audit report: “System documentation, beginning with the high level manual, is what I would consider to be among best in class, combining detail with ease of use so that it is an effective road map into the system,” Steve Dunning, Auditor with DEKRA. By obtaining the ISO 50001 certification, Berkeley Lab can ensure that their energy and water management activities are strategic, effective, and persistent, while supporting their mission and people.