Immediate Steps to ESOS ComplianceMeabh Carey
The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme ESOS is now in full effect, with only seven months remaining to the compliance date of the 5th December 2015. The scheme requires all large UK companies to complete mandatory energy audits and assessments across their organisation once every four years or face fines of up to 50,000 pounds. Recent reports have revealed that three quarters of impacted participants have yet to start their ESOS Assessment, with the compliance deadline fast approaching these companies need to take immediate steps to attain compliance and achieve benefits from ESOS. If completed thoroughly, an ESOS assessment has the potential to identify real energy savings opportunities. However, the tight timescale for assessment, cost of compliance and the limited availability of quality lead assessors are proving a difficult challenge for impacted companies.
According to the scheme guidelines an ESOS assessment must be conducted or reviewed by a qualified lead assessor, which can either be an in-house expert or an external consultant. With most organisations likely to outsource to external ESOS consultants there is a finite number of qualified lead assessors available. Currently there are 488 approved Lead Assessors in the UK and a further 300 more awaiting accreditation. With an estimated 9400 UK organisations impacted, this amounts to 11 organisations per auditor. Also included in this figure are the internal lead assessors who have become accredited to audit their own organisation, reducing this number further. This alone will cause a challenge for impacted companies but there is also the burden of the potential variance in quality of the lead assessors. There is a concern that the accreditation standard has been set too low to ensure the sufficient availability of assessors for phase 1. For example a number of lead assessors gaining ESOS accreditation will be from other initiatives such as the Green Deal or Display Energy Certificates (DEC’s). Given that the ESOS submission needs to be signed off by a board-level director, a participant requires an experienced lead assessor that can offer the skill set required for their industry and organisation.
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With the tight deadline and shortage of qualified energy auditors companies need to take immediate steps to ensure they are able to comply and produce a complete ESOS assessment. Participants can begin first with the initial ESOS assessment – measure of energy use for a continuous twelve month period. Companies can carry out much of the work themselves as the Environment Agency states; lead assessors “as a minimum need to sign off the work undertaken by others so there is nothing to stop participants starting to comply with ESOS in the absence of an approved lead assessor.” This will mainly involve data collection and calculation, ESOS software can help participants with this task by providing a platform to collect, collate and analyse their energy and transport data. A software platform can also allow organisations to drill down into their ESOS data, identifying trends and pinpointing significant sources of energy consumption.
Once the participant has measured and identified areas of significant energy consumption they must ensure at least 90% of total energy consumption is covered by an ESOS energy audit or an alternative route. Most if not all of the auditing work could be carried out in-house, the participant themselves will have the knowledge of their own management system and the energy using equipment. Participants should complete a preliminary consultation with an experienced lead assessor before starting the audit and then employ the lead assessor for the final steps of recommending energy efficiency recommendations and signing off on the assessment. This will reduce the time required for a lead assessor; lessening participants overall ESOS assessment costs.
The sooner participants act on ESOS the more likely they are to complete a comprehensive ESOS assessment and attain compliance. For maximum benefit from ESOS, organisations need to create an ESOS dedicated team within their organisation, in conjunction with using an ESOS Software system and an employing an experienced industry specific lead assessor. Accuvio Sustainability Software has created an easy to use ESOS compliance software solution which is specifically designed to assist participants and their lead assessors in complying with the UK ESOS Scheme. The software solution provides all the necessary tools needed to achieve compliance. In addition Accuvio are partners with a number of expert lead assessor consultancies and can recommend the most suitable assessor for your organisation. To learn more about Accuvio’s ESOS Software solution and services or to schedule a demo, please contact us on +44 (0) 203 4682877.