Des Moines Water Works becomes first water utility to receive Superior Energy Performance® certification; credits Motors@Work

Last week Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) announced that it has attained Superior Energy Performance® (SEP®) certification — making it the first water utility of more than 180,000 water utilities worldwide to achieve this designation.

“By implementing a rigorous energy management system certified to ISO 50001 and Superior Energy Performance, Des Moines’ Fleur Water Treatment Plant increased its energy performance 2.7% in a single year and is now well-equipped to continuously build on those savings in the years ahead,” said Rob Ivester, director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office in the U.S. Department of Energy.

DMWW credits Motors@Work for helping it achieve SEP® certification. Motor-driven systems consume 75% of DMWW’s total energy use on an MMBtu basis. Doug Oscarson, DMWW’s energy manager, said, “Motors@Work was, and continues to be, integral to DMWW’s energy management success.

Motors@Work provided DMWW with total-life-cycle cost analyses on their motor-driven systems, helping it to achieve several SEP® criteria. For example, Motors@Work’s motor evaluations helped DMWW meet SEP® requirements regarding equipment repair and replace policies and life-cycle costing. Meanwhile, Motors@Work’s condition monitoring alerts helped DMWW fulfil SEP® maintenance-related criteria by identifying and issuing work orders for maintenance practices that improve both equipment reliability and energy performance.

The U.S. Department of Energy awards Superior Energy Performance® designation to organizations demonstrating excellent energy management processes and sustained energy savings over a three-year period. To attain SEP® certification, organizations must receive and renew ISO 50001 certification of their energy management processes and demonstrate year-after-year energy savings in the three years between the initial ISO certification and its renewal. Achieving SEP® certification places DMWW in the company of Volvo, 3M, Coca-Cola, Nissan, Schneider Electric, Hilton, Marriott, Bridgestone, and X other multinational corporations.

DMWW expects obtaining SEP® designation improves both its financial and environmental sustainability. “Water [treatment & delivery] is an energy-intensive operation,” noted Bill Stowe, Des Moines Water Works’ CEO, “It is simply no longer an option to address water/wastewater energy efficiency; it is a mandate.”

Oscarson continued, “This certification is a clear indication to the public, our customers, and employees that Des Moines Water Works is serious about good stewardship of our natural resources, improving energy performance, and reducing carbon emissions.”

Learn more about Motors@Work’s role reducing DMWW’s energy spend and improving its reliability in this case study. To find out more about how SEP® certification and Motors@Work can help your organization save energy, email Nicole at

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