Market supply and demand issues and the rising cost of ESOS audits means it pays to act now.
With the December 2014 qualification date only just passed, it’s no doubt tempting for many companies to rest on their laurels ahead of this year’s December deadline for notifying their ESOS compliance – it’s many months away, after all.
But those that fail to take swift and decisive action in the face of ESOS compliance will certainly lose out, overtaken by proactive companies that will reap the benefits of the legislation.
For a start, the costs involved in compliance are liable to rise as we near the 5 December 2015 cut-off. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) estimates that there are some 10,000 organisations required to comply with ESOS – considerably higher than the original approximation of around 7,000 participants – and yet there are only around 500 approved ESOS Lead Assessors in the UK. In the face of increasingly high demand for auditing services these consultants will be spread thin come the mid-to-latter part of 2015.
No half measures
Some companies may consider keeping the ESOS compliance process in-house, thereby avoiding being caught out by this shortfall in assessors and potentially saving money. But it will take an in-house staff member a not-insignificant period of time to get up to speed with ESOS (at least several months and up to a year), all the while being distracted from their mainstay job function and under added pressure to deliver a package of impactful energy-saving measures.
Tick-box compliance versus achievable value
That is, after all, what ESOS is all about: having a tangible impact on energy consumption and cost. For ESOS to be truly beneficial companies need to abandon the idea of merely conducting a ‘tick-box exercise’ and focus on getting the best value out of the process. Companies can achieve this by engaging a qualified energy consultant who can really dig down deep to uncover maximum energy savings.
Value can be found beyond straightforward energy-saving measures. Efficient lighting, behavioural change programmes and controls, for example, are all low-hanging fruit, and many companies may fall foul of assuming these are the only options available to them. But a thoroughly-conducted ESOS audit is a genuine opportunity to uncover deeper layers of savings. Indeed, The DECC expects that, on average, the ESOS audit process will pay for itself 13.5 times over during the first four assessment periods. It also expects identified energy savings in buildings and manufacturing processes to average 14%, plus additional savings in transport.
But this is achievable only if it’s embraced enthusiastically, rather than seen as something to check off the list.
By taking steps now, companies will be able to secure an audit that will deliver high value, long-term savings, and mitigate the risk of missing the deadline altogether (and subsequently incurring costly fines). And of course, the sooner participants act, the sooner they can identify and remove wasteful processes, thereby streamlining operations and saving money on otherwise inflated energy bills.