Audits help target energy savings

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Switch on to factory cost savings through investment in energy efficiency
Switch on to factory cost savings through investment in energy efficiency

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 Food Manufacture’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 requires 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.

Failed to understand savings

Too many manufacturers failed to understand the savings on offer, said Jes Rutter, md of energy consultant JRP Solutions. “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.”

Revealing the scale of savings, Rutter pointed to the results of an audit conducted by McVities. “A comprehensive audit at 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 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.”

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.

Saved more than £100,000

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.”

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

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