The government hopes that it’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) will deliver considerable cost savings for hundreds of UK businesses. But with many companies and institutions, such as private schools and universities, treating the scheme as a tick-list, are they missing the point?
ESOS is a new government scheme that involves energy audits which are designed to highlight energy efficiency failings in the building portfolios of businesses with more than 250 employees or an annual turnover exceeding 50 million Euros. It also affects businesses with a balance sheet of more than 43 million Euros.
The main spine of the scheme are Energy Audits that large firms will have to undertake once every four years. While a costly exercise initially, with Audits expected to cost upwards of £17,000, it is hoped that the results would lead to improvements that could save businesses many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“The trick is to think of the Audits as part of your wider building management strategy,” explains Paul Giness of The Beattie Partnership, a leading Chartered Surveyor. “It’s in the interests of businesses to bring down their overhead costs and energy use is a big, big part of that. If you’re already considering improvements or renovations, these Energy Audits could help you to prioritise work or flag issues that need sorting.”
Some organisations have been resistant to the idea, thinking of the scheme as another set of hoops to jump through – a costly chore rather than an opportunity.
With businesses constantly reviewing their building portfolios, it might be reasonable to assume that businesses are looking at these costs anyway. Indeed, businesses that have a ISO 50001 certified energy management system will be compliant with the scheme. Businesses that have already achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for energy efficiency may also find the process a little easier.
“In reality, far from being an extra burden, the Audits are the kind of review that many big businesses, schools and universities should already be considering as a matter of course,” says Paul. “Some of the smaller schools and universities should also be aware that there are circumstances where they have to comply with these Regulations too and should speak to a professional to make sure”.
Some estimates put potential energy savings resulting from the scheme at over £2 billion over the next few years, not to mention the reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. If your business has a high energy bill every month, the scheme could save far more than it costs.
Affected businesses need to assess their qualification status by 31st December 2014 to establish if they qualify as a large undertaking.
If you’d like advice about the ESOS scheme, please contact The Beattie Partnership on 0161 228 2224 or via their London office on 0207 183 8321