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Department of Energy Recognizes Des Moines Water Works for Achieving SEP 50001 at the Platinum Level

DMWW facilityThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognizes Des Moines Water Works for its certification to the Superior Energy Performance 50001 (SEP 50001) program and additional Platinum-level achievement. An independently operated public utility, DMWW provides drinking water to approximately 600,000 people in Greater Des Moines. Beginning with baseline data from 2016 and calculating through 2023, Des Moines Water Works reduced its total CO2 emissions by almost 39,500 metric tons, improved energy performance by 19.4% and saved the utility more than $2 million on electricity, natural gas, liquified petroleum, gasoline, and diesel fuel.

DMWW established an in-house energy management team to manage energy using the ISO 50001 energy management system standard as the framework. An effective energy management system requires data. The DMWW energy team collected data from as far back as 2015, using a variety of sources (e.g., utility bills, weather conditions, and financial reports). The team entered these data into an energy balance spreadsheet, categorizing inputs into systems and the equipment within those systems. For each piece of equipment, the team calculated its annual energy consumption and determined the energy balance (i.e., calculated energy consumption divided by actual energy purchased). This information allowed DMWW to identify significant energy users, i.e., systems or equipment that has major energy consumption and opportunity for improvement. The team continues to collect and analyze data from multiple sources to inform decision-making and prioritize projects.

DMWW facilityThe benefits extend beyond energy savings. Projects that upgrade critical equipment often increase its performance and reliability. In addition, DMWW has engaged employees, instilling a sense of responsibility and pride in the utility’s sustainability culture. Finally, the public is aware of the robust energy management system, which builds on DMWW’s reputation as a good steward—of energy, the environment, and ratepayer dollars.

The utility received its first SEP 50001 certification in 2017 for the Fleur Drive facility, then added the other two facilities in the 2020 recertification—while rising to the SEP 50001 Gold designation. In 2020, Des Moines Water Works became the first water utility in the nation to have all of its water treatment plants—three, in this case—certified to ISO 50001 and SEP 50001. DMWW recertified to ISO 50001 in 2023, the utility achieved SEP 50001 Platinum, the highest level of recognition.

The utility also joined the DOE Better Plants program, setting a goal of reducing energy intensity by 25% over 10 years, and then elevated their commitment by joining the Better Plants Challenge and agreeing to share their solutions. Use of ISO 50001 and SEP 50001 has helped DMWW follow a systematic approach to continue to improve energy performance, helping the utility meet its Better Plants goals.

DOE’s SEP 50001 program, managed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office (IEDO), offers certification and elevated levels of recognition to facilities that achieve sustained excellence in energy management.

Learn more about how the Des Moines Water Works’ energy management implementation and resulting benefits.