ESOS – are you on the case?

Author: 21/10/2014

The Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) reached its latest milestone recently with the publication of the first professional bodies approved to provide Lead Assessors. Organisations can now move forward and take the next steps towards compliance.

ESOS requires UK organisations to undertake energy efficiency assessments and identify potential energy savings. The deadline for determining whether it applies was 31 December 2014 with compliance by 31 December, 2015.

Will you be affected by ESOS?

In essence, ESOS applies to UK organisations that have:

  • 250 or more employees.
  • Less than 250 employees but an annual turnover of more than 50m Euros and an annual balance sheet of more than 43m Euros.

How you can comply with ESOS

  • At least 90% of total energy consumption has to be audited - across buildings, transport and industrial processes.
  • A Lead Assessor must be appointed to oversee the energy audits and the overall ESOS assessment. Lead Assessors must be members of an approved professional body.
  • The audits should review energy data, data management and how energy is used.
  • They should identify any energy-saving opportunities, their estimated costs and the benefits of implementing them.
  • They should also include site visits and be based on 12 months’ verifiable data.
  • They should be reviewed and signed off by both the Lead Assessor and at board-level.
  • ​Finally, compliance needs to be notified to the Environment Agency.

However, an organisation can take a mix of approaches and opt for its energy consumption to be covered by ISO 50001, Display Energy Certificates (DECs)/Green Deal Assessments (GDAs) or ESOS energy audits.

  • If an organisation is covered by ISO 50001 it doesn’t need to carry out an ESOS assessment.
  • Although DECs are an option, they are based on a building’s operating data only so energy use in transport and any industrial processes will still have to be audited separately.
  • ​Alternatively, GDAs can be used. However, like DECs, they only apply to buildings.

What help might you need?

Many organisations will need external help. They will be looking for a range of cost-effective support services - possibly on a ‘pick and mix’ basis - for example:

  • Pre-assessment gap analysis.
  • Providing a Lead Assessor.
  • Developing a strategy, including the cost benefits, pay-back periods and feasibility of any energy-saving opportunities.
  • Preparing and maintaining an evidence pack to substantiate the audits, their findings and the recommendations.
  • ​Building a business case for investment in energy efficiency opportunities, including their funding and practicality.

What are the costs and benefits of ESOS?

Inevitably, ESOS compliance involves additional costs. Although there’s no legal requirement to implement any energy-saving recommendations, organisations are encouraged to do so – on the basis that any costs will be outweighed by the long-term financial benefits derived from reduced energy bills and increased efficiency.

Finally on ESOS…

If you haven’t already, find out whether your organisation is subject to ESOS - the deadline is fast-approaching! Then, decide if you need any help. If you do, start getting it as quickly as possible. The compliance deadline might seem a long way off but it’s not really.

Practical advice and tips from DECC on how to get the most out of ESOS compliant energy audits.