Your last chance to be ready for ESOS

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Time is running out for those businesses who need to comply the with the ESOS regulations.  It’s time to get compliant or face a fine.

December 2015 may seem like a long way away, but if your organisation is one of the many UK companies that must carry out an ESOS energy audit, then time is quickly running out.  If yours is one of the businesses that meets the ESOS requirements then there is a lot of work to do if you’re to meet the 5th December deadline.  So, if you haven’t even made a start then it’s time to get under the skin of ESOS and get your audit compiled.

What is ESOS and who does it apply to?

The Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) is a piece of EU legislation that has been enacted in to UK law. It is a mandatory programme of energy audits for ‘large enterprises’ which cover their energy use and efficiency. If your business is one of the 9,000 in the UK that employs over 250 people or has a turnover in excess of €50 million then you have to carry out an ESOS audit or be able to demonstrate compliance by another route e.g. ISO50001. The audit must cover your significant energy usage across your business operations, including building energy use, transport energy use and industrial processes. Your audits must then be checked to ensure they meet the requirements of the regulations by a lead assessor.

What do you need to do?

If you are one of the companies that needs to comply with the requirements of the ESOS regulations, there are a few key steps that you need to take.

Step 1 – Consider what energy management system you already have in place

If your business meets some or all of the elements of ISO50001 then you have already met most if not all of the ESOS requirements. If your existing energy management system covers all of the assets and activities and is certified under ISO50001 then you already meet the ESOS requirements and you can notify the Environment Agency of this.

Step 2 – Involve a Lead Assessor

Your ESOS assessment has to be signed off by an authorised energy management professional. ESOS lead assessors are members of professional bodies that have been approved by the Environment Agency. 

A lead assessor can complete all or some of your audit but it may be more cost-effective to carry out as much of the audit as you can without relying on external support.  If you wish to carry out the bulk of an ESOS assessment in-house, we advise that you engage with a suitable lead assessor at the start of the process to ensure you receive eventual sign off in good time to meet the compliance date.

Step 3 – Measure your energy consumption

Your ESOS assessment starts with the measurement of the total energy consumption of your organisation. For the purposes of ESOS, energy consumption includes all forms of energy products used by your organisation including combustion of fossil fuels, electricity, heat and renewable energy, including anything you generate yourself.

You should include the energy that is used by your organisation’s assets or consumed in the process of carrying out your own activities. You can measure your consumption in either energy units (i.e. kWh) or in monetary terms. 

Step 4 – Identify your areas of ‘significant’ energy consumption

Once you have determined your total energy consumption, you must then identify your ‘areas of significant consumption’. This means identifying which areas, activities and assets of your organisation you are going to audit. Note that the areas you select are required to account for 90% of your total energy consumption.

Step 5 – Carry out your audits

There are a number of different formats and types of audit that you can carry out. If you already have an ISO50001 certified energy management system, then you can simply inform the Environment Agency of this and have the audits signed off by a Director. If you don’t have this, then you will need to carry out ESOS energy audits.  The basic requirements are to

  • Use twelve months of data and use data that is no more than 24 months old

  • Data must not have been used in any other ESOS compliance period

  • The audit must produce recommendations for cost-effective energy efficiency measures (or conclude that no cost-effective measures can be implemented)

  • Where possible, the audit should produce and include energy consumption profiles

  • The audit must be overseen, conducted or reviewed by a lead assessor

You should be carrying out an audit that reviews the performance of your own assets and premises but you don’t have to audit third parties.

Step 6 – Signing off your ESOS assessment

Regardless of the compliance route you have taken, once you have conducted your ESOS assessment in full, including the review and approval by a qualified lead assessor, you will need to have it signed off by a board-level director.

Step 7 - Reporting compliance to the Environment Agency

Once you have completed all of the steps of your ESOS assessment, you must report your compliance to the Environment Agency.  The EA will want to know;

  • Company information including company name, address, company number, contact details, and the details of the director(s) that signed off the assessment

  • Information on any aggregation or disaggregation that took place

  • Details of your lead assessor

  • Details of your ESOS assessment including the route taken to compliance, confirmation that the combination of compliance routes taken cover all areas of significant energy consumption and notification where estimates of energy use have been used instead of verifiable data

The EA may also ask for specific information.

Step 8 - Maintaining an ESOS Evidence Pack

The final responsibility is to maintain an evidence pack that is available for Environment Agency audit and review at any time.  The evidence pack shows that your company has fully complied with ESOS.

When do you submit your assessment?

The deadline for assessment is 5th December 2015 and for qualifying businesses there is a lot of work to do.  Lead assessors are limited and their time is quickly being booked by companies who are looking to meet the ESOS deadline. With the summer holidays currently in full-swing and colleagues away, by the time we reach September, it may already be too late. 

At EEF, we have created an easy to follow, detailed guide to producing your ESOS audit. It contains all of the information you will need to develop and maintain your own ESOS audit, how to submit it and where to find lead assessors. 

Author

National sustainability Lead and Area Lead - North

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