ESOS awareness on the rise, but energy managers remain sceptical

EXCLUSIVE: The majority of UK businesses are now aware of the impending Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), but the minority of affected businesses believe it will actually help them develop plans to become more energy-efficient.

That’s one of the key findings of the third annual exclusive edie report – Energy Management: Procurement, Planning and Purchasing Priorities 2015/16 – which surveyed 381 people responsible for energy management within their organisation.

The report, which will be presented at Sustainability Live later this month, found that 82% of respondents (which includes companies that fall outside of the ESOS) had heard of the Government’s mandatory energy assessment scheme – much higher than previous surveys have inferred. 

Board engagement

But there was a lukewarm response when asked about how the scheme will inform future energy efficiency activity. Just 30% of ESOS-affected businesses believe it will help them identify savings or format plans; 12% said it would complement existing plans and 9% said it would not inform plans at all.

And, despite the fact that a company’s energy assessment has to have director approval, just 6% of respondents believe ESOS will engage senior management in energy efficiency.

ESOS requires all ‘large enterprises’ with more than 250 employees or a turnover of more than €50m to produce detailed reports on their energy use and efficiency every four years. Lead assessors will carry out an energy audit, paid for by the business, but there is no obligation to implement any of the efficiency measures identified. 

By 5 December 2015, qualifying organisations must carry out their ESOS assessment and notify the Environment Agency. Read our full explanation of the ESOS scheme here

Cost savings

Of the edie survey respondents that had heard of ESOS, 53% said they would be increasing in-house measurement and reporting and 18% are planning to undertake ISO 50001 (which effectively supersedes ESOS) this year. But only 39% of companies have started work on engaging the required lead assessor, meaning there is a lot more work to be done ahead of the ESOS compliance deadline.

Earlier this year, the Environment Agency’s ESOS project manager Jo Scully told edie that the eventual financial benefits for businesses implementing energy efficiency improvements will massively outweigh the costs of administrating the scheme.

ESOS will undoubtedly save businesses money, if those businesses are willing to act on the energy efficiency improvements that are identified,” said Scully. “The scheme pushes the awareness of energy management up the agenda, certainly for organisations that perhaps aren’t engaged through other schemes along the energy efficiency lines. For those already engaged in energy management, ESOS gives businesses the ability to use work they’ve already done so that they do not have to duplicate.”

Energy Management Report

The exclusive edie Energy Management report also discovered that employee engagement, behaviour change and technology upgrades are the key areas businesses are focusing on this year to become more energy efficient, but funding remains the biggest barrier to initiating energy-saving programmes. 

Energy Management: Procurement, Planning and Purchasing Priorities 2015/16 will be officially presented at edie’s Sustainability Live 2015 event later this month. A session on Day One of the show (21 April) will see edie editor Luke Nicholls explore the exclusive report’s findings in greater detail, with a closer look at the key challenges, business imperatives and opportunities for energy manages for the coming year. 


Luke Nicholls

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