The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a guide aimed at assisting organisations in implementing energy savings identified as part of the work they have undertaken to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

It is understood that over 6,000 organisations have completed the ESOS registration process, an exercise that will have created headaches for facilities and energy managers over the last 18 months. The original registration deadline in December 2015 was extended to the end of January 2016 due to the number of companies known to be scrabbling to complete audits and to produce compliance packs to meet the new regime’s requirements.

Now, those organisations have met the initial reporting and registration challenge and it is unclear how many will simply sit back until the next ESOS ’s deadline in a few years as opposed to actually thinking seriously about implementing some of the energy saving opportunities identified during the audit process. The DECC guide, which was prepared jointly with the Carbon Trust, summarises what businesses could do to implement such recommendations. Guidance is provided on preparing business cases for energy savings and on assessing project financial viability. 

It is understood that Government analysis has indicated that if only 5 percent of the energy opportunities identified through ESOS audit process were to be implemented, the businesses could collectively achieve annual savings of over £250m. This would of course be one of the key ambitions behind the implementation of ESOS, alongside assisting in meeting the UK’s climate change targets.

It is anticipated that the guide will be of particular help to businesses with less in-house knowledge on how to implement energy savings and how to make the business case for such matters more attractive. It highlights the fact that in many cases energy efficiency does not necessarily mean investing vast sums and simple measures, such as installing or optimising lighting or heating control systems or engaging with staff to change behaviour, can lead to relatively significant cost savings. Aside from assisting in building a business case, the guidance also seeks to help in relation to project implementation, monitoring and verification.

On the other side of the fence from those organisations that may proactively seek to implement energy efficiency opportunities, are those organisations that did not meet the ESOS submission deadline. Whilst the Environment Agency indicated that it may regulate with some sympathy in the initial stages of the new regime, we are now reaching the time period when that approach may cease and enforcement action may be likely over the coming months.