A free new guide has been published today by EEF to help ease Britain’s manufacturers into ESOS – the Government’s flagship Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.
If the Anglo-sphere was populated predominately by environmental managers, consultants, and ISO14001 nerds it would be a good bet that in the OED’s new word list for 2015 would include the word ESOS. So ubiquitous has that acronym been in the adrenaline-charged world of environmental compliance over last year that that letters have become a word in their own right, they are the first thing I think of in the morning, the last thing I think of at night and what my incredibly pedestrian dreams now consist of. In the words of the recent trend in pseudo-inspirational adverts; I am a cost cutter. I am a carbon reducer. I am an ESOS.
Back in real of the world I am however aware that this is not most people’s experience. Even to those who the scheme will apply, ESOS is just another four letter acronym to emerge from DECC that will simply float around in the ether for a while before dissipating in a policy simplification exercise in a few years’ time. Indeed, the results of a recent survey by npower showed that almost half (49%) of UK manufacturers hadn’t heard of ESOS and over two thirds (69%) feel uninformed about what they must do to comply this year. To do its part in helping manufacturers become better acquainted with ESOS and its requirements, EEF is today publishing an easy to use guide on the scheme that aims to, in about an hour hopefully, provide the reader with the information required to start planning their approach to ESOS.
For the, as of yet, uninitiated ESOS is the UK’s approach to implementing the requirement of EU Energy Efficiency Directive for all ‘large enterprises’ to conduct an energy efficiency assessment of their operations by 5th December of 2015 and once every four years after this date. In practical terms this means that all undertakings in the UK with over 250 employees or an annual turnover of over €50m and an annual balance sheet of over €43m will need to have conducted comprehensive energy efficiency assessments of their assets and activities by the end of the year.
The energy audits themselves will need to cover at least 90% of an organisations total energy consumption (including transport related fuel), must establish energy consumption profiles for various areas of business and, most importantly, make recommendations for cost-effective energy efficiency measures. The overall assessment must be overseen and approved by a qualified energy professional ‘lead assessor’ and following this obtain board-level signoff in order to encourage an understanding of the importance of energy efficiency from senior management within organisations.
This may sound like an epic task for many organisations, or simply more red tape, but it is important to note that ESOS has genuinely been designed in a flexible a manner. As you will see from our guidance, the vast majority of the work can be done in house and you may even have already conducted energy efficiency audits that could count towards compliance;
EEF’s energy efficiency report, produced with npower last year, showed that 61% of manufacturers had already conducted energy efficiency audits and a further 25% were considering implementing them.
Whilst the words ‘Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme’ have caused equal amounts of mirth and consternation at the thought of DECC bestowing the wonderful gift of energy efficiency upon industry, there is of course some benefit to be had from participating in the scheme. Whilst we are seeing some modest reductions in energy prices at the minute, the general trend, certainly for electricity, is in an upward direction. A survey conducted by EEF last year showed that projected electricity price increases through to 2020 could start to impact on the competitiveness of half a manufacturers, at the same time half indicated that energy efficiency would need to become a greater priority. For many, ESOS may not be particularly welcome but it could ultimately prove an important tool for business.