With Phase 1 of ESOS underway, many business owners are still scratching their heads over the new legislation. Here’s our guide to the five most common myths about ESOS – and the facts.
Not so fast! With ESOS, the name says it all – Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme. It’s not a tax on carbon emissions like the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme or a way to ‘name and shame’ businesses through public displays of energy efficiency like Display Energy Certificates. If done properly, an ESOS audit can be a fantastic opportunity to get shot of any sources of wasted energy which you may never have considered before, making all-important savings for your business.
The scheme is currently already in Phase 1, so there isn’t as much time to spare as you might think!
All audit paperwork must be submitted by 5th December 2015. It might seem far away now, but it’ll come up quickly and it’s a good idea to start getting stuck in. You’ll need to put aside time to get to grips with the legislation, appoint a qualified assessor and – of course – actually carry out the in-depth energy survey for your business. Given that this will take more than a smile, it’s best not to leave everything to the last minute.
Are you sure? According to research by the Carbon Trust, large businesses can save around 15 percent from energy bills under ESOS, with an average rate of return of 48 percent and payback within three years. That’s actually on the low side of what’s possible; in many cases savings can be even higher, with possible reductions of a whopping 25 percent.
This is even before considering the ‘cost of inertia’ – the money lost by letting huge energy bills flood in when you could fix everything quickly with recommended energy-saving upgrades. If you jump to it, you’ll see in-year benefit, which can go a long way to cancelling out the cost of the audit in the first place.
An ESOS audit isn’t about simply putting in place yet another behavioural change programme or an energy-efficient lighting system.
It could be that this is the first chance you will have had to compare buildings across your entire estate. Having a baseline for league tabling can give you a real means of comparison across similar buildings – and this is where the real savings can be found. And, unlike previous legislation, ESOS covers transport as well as buildings, giving you a clearer image of your total energy use across all operations.
ESOS is not just about the quick wins; it’s about building up a long-term approach to better energy management.
It’s tempting to try and save money in the initial stages by keeping everything in-house, but be warned: If you do decide to appoint an in-house auditor, it could take them between three months and a year to get up to speed with ESOS compliance. That’s a big undertaking, especially when they’ve already got a lot on their plate, and the legislation can be tricky to understand.
An external assessor can offer experience, independence and impartiality and (best of all) they’ll be able to get on with the task straight away, leaving you to get on with your work uninterrupted.
As the deadline looms closer, it’s even more important to get with the programme on ESOS. And, of course, the sooner you act, the sooner you’ll start making real, cost-effective changes to the way your business uses energy.