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Mandatory energy audits ‘not about red tape’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mandatory energy audits will help the food and drink manufacturing sector save millions, said Martin Adams
Mandatory energy audits will help the food and drink manufacturing sector save millions, said Martin Adams

Related tags: Efficient energy use, Energy conservation

New compulsory energy audits – which must be conducted by large-scale food and drink manufacturers by December 2015 – are not needless red tape but a key business tool that could save firms hundreds of thousands of pounds, says the government’s Energy Efficiency Deployment Office.

Delegates to the Food Manufacture Group’s free, one-hour webinar​ on the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) heard how large businesses – those with more than 250 employees or turnover of €50M – could turn the UK-wide legislation to their advantage.

Martin Adams, the government’s ESOS team leader, explained how the rules will benefit business. “It’s about not trying to tie your hands with a lot of red tape but trying to provide a tool which is  outcomes focused, which lets you take into account what you have already done​ [to make energy savings] and gives you the flexibility to make the scheme fit for your own business.”

‘Flexibility for businesses’

The government has specifically designed the scheme to allow firms the maximium flexibility in its implementation, said Adams. “We’ve provided some good practice guidance but with the flexibility for businesses to adapt the range of audits and methodology they use to suit their business.”

For example, businesses are allowed to use their own personnel to carry out audits – provided they are qualified or overseen by somebody who is qualified.

Also, businesses are not required to realise the energy savings identified by the audits. And adopting the international energy standard ISO 50,001 is one route to compliance.

Also, the government would not gold plate the implementation of the regulations beyond the minimum required by the EU directive.

‘It will become red tape …’

While ESOS mandated energy audits, ultimately it was an investment choice for business, said Adams. “It will become a burden; it will become red tape if businesses just file their audit findings in the drawer and don’t act on them.”

But if all firms across the UK economy cut their energy bills by just 0.7%, after conducting ESOS audits, the total savings to the UK economy would be worth about £1.6bn, he said.

And that could be achieved on average if businesses saved 0.7% of their energy consumption

“Businesses will get out what they put in. They will only realise savings if they put the time and resources into achieving them.”

Stephen Reeson, the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF’s) head of climate change and energy policy, advised business managers to know their corporate structure. While they may work for a small food and drink manufacturing business, they may be required to conduct audits if their firm is part of a large corporate group.

Reeson said the first phase of the FDF’s climate change agreement – which ran from 1999 to 2010 – had already helped to improved energy efficiency by 20.7%. During that period throughputs increased by 3% but overall energy useage, in absolute terms, went down by just over 18%.

“That saved over 1.4M tonnes of carbon dioxide and it knocked more than £300M off the sector’s energy bill,”​ said Reeson.

Meanwhile, watch Adams sum up his main ESOS messages here​.

Also taking part in the webinar – sponsored by energy consultant JRP Solutions – was the firm's md Jes Rutter and Richard Clothier, md of Wyke Farms.

If you missed the free, online seminar, register here​. You can listen at any time, any number of times.

 

ESOS: what you need to know

  • UK-wide mandatory energy and auditing scheme, introduced in response to 1012 energy directive
  • All large organisations must measure energy consumption and audit 90% of that by December 2015
  • Applies to firms with more than 250 employees or turnover of €50M euro and an annual balance sheet over €43M December 21 2014
  • Audits must be conducted by or overseen by a suitably qualified lead assessor
  • Audits must include at least 12 months data
  • Businesses can use their own personnel to carry out audits – provided they are qualified or overseen by somebody who is qualified
  • One route to compliance is the international energy standard ISO 50,001
  • ESOS applies to small to medium-sized businesses, if they are part of large corporate group
  • Government guidance available here

https://www.gov.uk/energy-savings-opportunity-scheme-esos

Related topics: Dairy-based ingredients, Dairy

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