Mandatory energy audits to save hundreds of thousands

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Energy audits could save food and drink manufacturing businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to webinar speakers
Energy audits could save food and drink manufacturing businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds, according to webinar speakers

Related tags: Energy savings, Energy conservation

Conducting energy audits will save large-scale food and drink manufacturers hundreds of thousands of pounds and help smaller ones make savings too, according to the Food Manufacture Group’s webinar last month.

The free, one-hour webinar​ – sponsored by energy consultant JRP Solutions – armed manufacturers with the information they need to comply with the EU’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) rules. The law require firms with more than 250 employees or a turnover of more than €50M to conduct mandatory energy audits by December 2015. While firms must conduct audits, implementing the savings they identify is not, as yet, compulsory.

Too many manufacturers failed to understand the savings on offer, said Jes Rutter, md of energy consultant JRP Solutions, which sponsored the webinar. “I am sure there is still work to be done to convince many of the benefits from ESOS. An average site-wide survey alone should identify 20-30% energy savings. What is that as a percentage of your energy spend? Probably serious money.”

‘Probably serious money’

Revealing the scale of savings, Rutter pointed to the results of audit conducted McVities. “A comprehensive audit from McVities identified over 40% real potential energy savings, worth over £800,000 a year using our Energy Initiator software,” ​he said.

Some businesses should consider upgrading from the minimum legal requirement of ESOS to meeting the international standard for energy management ISO 50,001, which would deliver continuous improvement in energy savings over a number of years.

Martin Adams, ESOS team leader, from the government’s Energy Efficiency Deployment Office, said even modest savings identified by the new rules could save more than £1bn. “We estimate a benefit of about £1.6bn to the UK economy as a whole that will be felt by you, through lower bills. That could be achieved if businesses saved just 0.7% of their energy consumption.”

Driving the search for savings

Stephen Reeson, the Food and Drink Federation’s head of climate change, said the need to cuts costs – aside from the requirement to comply with ESOS – was a key reason driving the search for savings. The sector’s energy bill for electricity alone was about £750M, which will rise significantly after accounting for new tariffs and the impact of environmental measures such as carbon price support.

Richard Clothier, md of the UK’s largest independent cheese producer Wyke Farms, said his business had saved more than £100,000 a year by becoming one of the first to become totally self-sufficient in green energy.

But he cautioned against rules which dictated investment strategies. “Energy savings should be driven by a desire to lower cost and a lot of these things come under good manufacturing practice,” said Clothier. “I wouldn’t want to see the pace of change and upgrading enforced.”

In addition to making savings, saving energy and converting to green sources had helped the manufacturer differentiate Wyke Farms’ products in a highly competitive dairy market.

Missed the webinar? You can listen at any time by registering here​.

Related topics: Dairy, Dairy-based ingredients

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