Energy savings scheme: ‘best way forward’

By Jes Rutter

- Last updated on GMT

It pays to plan your ESOS compliance strategy carefully, said Jes Rutter
It pays to plan your ESOS compliance strategy carefully, said Jes Rutter

Related tags: Energy conservation, Efficient energy use

There’s no quick fix to achieve compliance with the government’s Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS). It has been greeted in some quarters with some understandable scepticism, while others see it as a catalyst for change.

As one operations director stated recently, with refreshing honesty: “We recognise we haven’t been as focused upon energy as we might have been although for good reason. However, ESOS is giving our business the motivation to finally do something.”

Whatever your view, ESOS is here to stay. So how do you make it work for your business?

To confuse matters, participant businesses are being bombarded with emails and calls offering fixed price or low-cost ESOS audits which, on the face of it, might seem attractive particularly for those seeking the cheapest route to compliance. But how are these costs calculated with little or no knowledge of the participant’s business, processes, energy profile or organisational structure?

‘The right compliance strategy’

The reality is they cannot – every business is unique and varies in terms of size, products, location, number of sites, processes and organisational structure. Factor in pre-existing energy audits that may or may not meet the required standard, product mix and volumes, in-house energy expertise and corporate strategies and you begin to understand the complexities of arriving at the right compliance strategy.

For example, one multiple site food business recently sought advice from three different energy consultancies and was left with the distinct impression it needed to complete energy audits at 90% of the group’s sites at a cost of more than £100,000. Having gained an understanding of the business and the various sites and processes, we concluded that only a representative sample of sites will need to be audited at a substantially lower cost than originally proposed.

Multiple site food business

Another multiple site food business has suitably qualified people who will act as its lead assessors. But they will not have the time available to complete the actual energy audits and will appoint a third-party energy specialist with appropriate industry knowledge to complete this on its behalf.

In this way the business remains in control of its compliance strategy and will minimise costs while gaining the greatest value from the process.

Having engaged with hundreds of businesses, of all shapes and sizes, it is clear to me that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to ESOS compliance. Each business has to be considered independently if an appropriate and cost effective strategy is to be developed.

Above all, seek a solution that will deliver the greatest value to your business. And, if you are a major energy using business, give serious consideration to achieving ISO50001 accreditation. This standard will provide your business with the structure and processes that will deliver a consistent focus upon energy and realise material and sustainable energy cost reductions.

Finally and most important, select a lead assessor with the skills, knowledge and experience most relevant to your business and work with them to agree an appropriate audit methodology and schedule.

 

*Jes Rutter is md of energy efficiency specialist JRP Solutions​. Rutter took part in our ESOS webinar in September. Listen to the webinar here​.

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