Michael Dent explains what's required of facilities managers for compliance with the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).
05 March 2018 | Michael Dent
What is ESOS?
ESOS, the mandatory UK energy assessment scheme, applies to large, mainly private sector organisations with more than 250 employees or a turnover of more than 50 million and a balance sheet in excess of 43 million.
ESOS Phase Two covers a four-year period from 6 December 2015 to 5 December 2019. It is likely that any business that participated in the first phase of ESOS will need to participate again, assuming that they still meet the qualification criteria, however, they cannot use the same data. Eligible organisations must record and collect 100 per cent of their business-wide energy data for a 12-month continuous period, which must be used to identify areas of significant energy use to be assessed for energy-saving opportunities.
How can FMs ensure compliance?
The most popular route to ESOS compliance is implementing surveys across a representative sample of business activities and buildings. But other methods include commissioning Display Energy Certificates (DECs) with accompanying advisory reports for the energy-efficiency assessment of buildings or Green Deal assessments. ESOS lead assessors may also consider qualifying audit work as part of other schemes, such as activity under the Carbon Trust Standard and logistics and green fleet reviews.
Organisations can achieve compliance by gaining accreditation under the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard if it covers an organisation's entire energy use data, across all activities. In instances where it doesn't cover 100 per cent of energy use, it can contribute to ESOS compliance.
What are the risks of non-compliance?
Large financial and reputational risks await those who fail to comply with ESOS, which is rigorously enforced. The Environment Agency has investigated 2,400 organisations in England and issued hundreds of enforcement notices.
Why is it vital to start now?
The final compliance deadline for submission of ESOS assessments is 5 December 2019, but businesses should start data collection as soon as possible because it takes time to collate this complex data from the original sources, such as meter readings, delivery notes, mileage logs or
supplier invoices. By acting promptly, businesses can rectify inevitable data gaps or inaccuracies and verify everything. This will avoid delays in the final ESOS assessment and guarantee timely submission to the regulator.
During ESOS Phase One, last-minute bottlenecks were caused by the limited availability of accredited lead assessors, so it is wise to secure expert assistance quickly. For those selecting the ISO 50001 route, timing is critical as it can take 12-18 months to introduce a high-performing, energy-management system and achieve certification.
The sooner businesses complete the process, the sooner they could see their energy bills fall by as much as a fifth.
The compliance process
1. Appoint an accredited ESOS lead assessor, who must be used to verify the overall compliance process.
2. Measure and record total UK energy use. This must include all buildings, industrial processes and transport activities, and cover a continuous 12-month period, including the qualification date of 31 December 2018.
3. Identify areas of significant energy use that account for at least 90 per cent of total energy consumption and carry out assessment activities/audits for the compliance phase of 2015-2019, identifying cost-effective, energy-saving opportunities.
4. Collate and review evidence and complete evidence pack, which must be stored. Submit ESOS notification of compliance to the Environment Agency by 5 December 2019.
Michael Dent is managing director at business energy procurement and energy management consultant Inprova Energy