Certifications put TTU energy experts in elite group

When Tennessee industries need help reducing energy costs and boosting energy efficiency, they need look no further than the experts at Tennessee Tech University.

TTU’s Center for Manufacturing Research boasts three staff members who are among the nation’s first certified practitioners in energy management systems, meeting a demand for firms seeking assistance in meeting a new quality standard known as ISO 50001.

Ken Currie, professor and director of the Center for Manufacturing Research, and mechanical engineering associate professor Glenn Cunningham have passed core and industrial sector exams to become two of only about 30 certified practitioners of energy management systems in the U.S.  With this certification, they can help industrial facilities establish and maintain an energy management system that meets the requirements of ISO 50001.

In addition to passing the core exam, Michelle Davis, the center’s outreach coordinator, achieved certification as a lead auditor for the ISO 50001 standard.

Created by the International Organization for Standardization, the 50001 series establishes an international framework for plants or companies to manage all aspects of their energy needs, including procurement and use, to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve environmental performance.

“These certifications place Tennessee Tech at the forefront of the new ISO 50001 Energy Management standard, issued only about a year ago,” Currie said.

Manufacturers and industries aim for the ISO 50001 standard as a means of measuring and verifying their energy performance processes.

Davis’ certification enables her to conduct internal audits for manufacturers vying for ISO 50001 certification. Some industries also work toward meeting a Superior Energy Performance standard, and they must measure and document their actions continuously.

“Companies have to systematically review their processes, otherwise they will revert to old energy-intensive ways,” said Davis.

TTU’s Center for Manufacturing Research works with companies across Tennessee, including Alcoa, Johnson Controls, Schneider and Nissan, to assess various energy, economy and environment matters for businesses.

“We offer the full package, with specialists in steam plants, pumping systems, wastewater and waste treatment, process heating and other areas,” Currie said.

On average, each visit from TTU’s experts to complete an energy system assessment will save a business about $40,000 per year. Most recover the expense of the assessment within a couple of months, according to Currie.

For more information about energy assessments or assistance with ISO 50001, contact Davis at (931) 372-6386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it "> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .