Making the new ESOS energy assessment requirement work for your business

To celebrate the fact that I’ve successfully completed the training to become a Lead Assessor for ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme), I thought I’d mention it on LinkedIn. I did this just in case anyone happened to be looking for a qualified person to help them understand ESOS and the things a business needs to do to comply with this new legislation.

Unwittingly, I kick started a social media frenzy. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration (in that it generated a 20-message agitated discussion between three people). But as social media is still a novelty to me, that’s a frenzy in my book. Perhaps I should get out more or, maybe, from a social media perspective, stay in more...

ESOS requires that organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every four years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures.

The initial reaction to my LinkedIn announcement came from someone who suggested that companies are going to be ripped off by paying for something that would be straightforward for them to carry out themselves.

I believe that the comment made was not wrong; however I do not think that it is completely accurate either.

The ESOS legislation is the UK government’s interpretation of Article 8 of the 2012 EU Energy Efficiency Directive. There are three main drivers for the legislation: climate change mitigation, energy security and business improvement.

If we use less energy, we lower our carbon emissions and also make ourselves less reliant on the importation of fuel (particularly from geopolitically ‘volatile’ regions). In addition, we are also reducing the running costs of businesses.

ESOS requires all businesses, above a certain size, to undertake an energy assessment every four years and to register the results with the Environment Agency. A key aspect of the assessment is that it has to be signed off by an accredited ‘Lead Assessor’.

So, back to the concerns posted on social media that companies can do this work themselves. This is absolutely true – the thing is, they don’t. The vast majority of businesses complain about energy costs but do not regard energy efficiency as a strategic priority.  ESOS will shunt energy efficiency further up that priority list and the interesting thing is that there is nothing to prevent any business from doing it themselves. The Lead Assessor can be appointed from within and no outsourcing is required so long as the assessment is carried out competently and to the compliance criteria.

There will be, of course, a proportion of businesses which will fall within the ESOS criteria but which will not have the internal capability to conduct such an assessment. Such organisations will need to find a Lead Assessor to oversee the compliance process. There has been a lot written about how much compliance will cost and, in the midst of an ocean of misinformation, some quite scary figures have been quoted.

In order to counter this, it should be said that the cost of compliance can, and should, be controlled by the business requiring an audit to be carried out. There will of course be a cost implication, but a lot of the preliminary work can be carried out internally. The chosen Lead Assessor should talk businesses through the process before the assessment gets underway. The more the business itself can cover internally, the lower the cost.

Finally, this is a new compliance requirement and, as such, can be regarded as an unwelcome additional cost. To this I would say that it is what it is and it has arrived. The final ESOS report will have some recommendations backed up by a financial business case. You can ignore them and just take the cost on the chin, or you can decide to examine them closely – because implementation may well cover any incurred costs as an absolute minimum.

There is no getting around ESOS, so it makes sense – both from an environmental and a business point of view – to simply make the most of it.

To find out more about ESOS assessments, contact: commercial@tadea.com or call: 0845 602 9569.