ESOS is back. Of course, it never actually went away, but with the formal Qualification Date for Compliance Period 2 approaching at the end of this year it really is time to be developing your thinking. Better still, if your organisation currently remains well within the qualification criteria as a Large Enterprise, then there’s no reason to wait, you can potentially start your compliance work now (Large Enterprises are Undertakings with more than 250 employees in the UK, OR annual turnover of €50 million AND a balance sheet exceeding €43m in the UK1).
What are my next steps?
We would recommend reflecting on the period 1 compliance work you did, thinking in terms of the process, the focus and the outcomes. Did you or your consultant organise the approach in a well-structured and timely way? Did you manage to find the right focus and identify good, valuable projects? Did you manage to achieve energy savings by implementing projects, or was it more of a matter of ticking the compliance box with no further action after the auditing? There are many examples of both practices out there. Did you implement all the recommendations? If not, why? What were the problems or barriers? What would you do differently to improve the value this time?
It’s a good idea to engage within your own organisation soon; you may want to discuss ESOS with the Board Directors who will be signing off your compliance work ahead of your Notification to the Environment Agency. You may need to speak with your Financial Director to help plan budgets for the implementation of energy audit recommendations.
Getting the best from ESOS Compliance Period 2
Remember that ESOS compliance activities could help with other challenges, think about how ESOS can help you with your wider sustainability strategy: do you need to improve your building Energy Performance Certificate ratings in line with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), or could your facilities be improved to reduce energy consumption at the same time as improving the comfort and wellbeing of your employees, and improving their productivity? The world has moved on since the first ESOS Compliance period with organisations now aiming to procure better performing buildings and planning electric vehicle charging points to encourage their employees to adopt electric vehicles. Are you planning to invest in advice ahead of changing your vehicle fleet and re-thinking transport strategies? This work could qualify as part of your ESOS Auditing.
What areas of your energy consumption do you want to focus on this time? Would you like to change your focus and look at different challenges? What are your desired outcomes from Compliance Period 2?
Avoid the rush
Our advice is to start your planning now or engage someone who can help you with your planning your strategy. Start with the end in mind.
If you are going to engage some external help this time from a consultant or Lead Assessor, ensure you find the right skills to suit your organisation. You will need a Lead Assessor who has the knowledge, skills and experience to provide the insight that your organisation needs to maximise the value from the process. It became apparent during the remaining months of Compliance Period One that it was not always straightforward to obtain the most appropriate help from the market place, as those with specific skills were busy.
Faithful+Gould can provide a range of strategic and technical services to support you with ESOS and wider sustainability strategies. Our aim is to bring to your organisation real value from ESOS, not mere compliance, and to help you link this opportunity maximising other benefits across your organisation in a joined-up way. We have expertise in buildings, process, and transport energy, but also post occupancy evaluation and wellbeing studies. We link our approaches to wider outcomes, to help your organisation get the best out of the opportunity, reduce costs improve sustainability and go further along the road of operational excellence.
Paul Taylor is a qualified and experienced ESOS Lead Assessor. He has also acted as an ESOS Auditor for the Environment Agency, the Scheme Administrator.
1 Annual Turnover of £38,937,777 AND balance sheet total in excess of £33,486,489