ESOS compliance is mandatory; implementing the recommendations of an ESOS audit is not. As such, companies may be tempted to focus on obtaining compliance only as a matter of legal obligation before resuming their usual operations, viewing the whole ESOS business as a sprint to the finish line.
But there is no finish line when it comes to energy management, and the companies that stand to truly benefit from ESOS are those prepared to go the distance by fully adopting – and embracing –their audit recommendations.
Energy consumption can only be managed if it’s monitored effectively, and ESOS will act as a springboard for companies to really get to grips with their energy usage. An audit will compile your total energy consumption calculations, isolate and identify at least 90% of your energy consuming devices, create and analyse various consumption profiles and identify deep and far-reaching opportunities for improved efficiency.
Companies must think of these findings as a valuable dossier that will help them achieve market competitiveness, business longevity and, of course, those all important bottom line savings. The Carbon Trust reports that large businesses have the ability to save 15% on energy bills through increased efficiency and it is ‘not uncommon’ to see this figure rise to 25%.
Meanwhile, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says organisations that take up ESOS energy efficiency recommendations and invest £15,000 per year in energy efficiency measures could benefit from bill savings of approximately £56,400 per year through reduced energy consumption and energy waste.
However, a prevailing mindset that sees energy efficiency as a business ‘add on’ – rather than an operational integration – means many managers are reluctant to approach ESOS with the zeal needed to truly realise its maximum potential. Monitoring usage, taking readings, performing efficiency checks and validating energy information is time-consuming, and therefore creating forward plans for energy efficiency is often put on the backburner. Indeed, a 2013 survey by the National Energy Foundation in partnership with the British Institute of Facilities Management found that metering and monitoring tools to help improve the use of energy are still not widely used. But with ESOS compliance obligatory, managers will have no choice but to undertake this work – some for the first time. It’s up to them to ensure it’s capitalised upon.
According to the Carbon Trust, around three out of every five cost-effective, technically viable energy efficiency recommendations go unimplemented, yet upgrading lighting, heating and industrial processes can transform a business. Look beyond the low-hanging fruit – insight that will be provided by an ESOS audit – and opt for measures with slightly longer payback periods, and there’s even more to gain.
And there are benefits beyond the bottom line, too, if ESOS is embraced rather than endured. As well as increased market competitiveness and operational longevity, investing in suitable energy technology can increase the number of man hours available. This additional time can be invested back into the business in other areas, helping it flourish further.
Acting on ESOS recommendations is voluntary, but the process will become a burden if benefits aren’t realised. Having paid for audits, companies would be remiss not to use them to their full potential. Act now to make the most of compliance.