By Bruce Kennedy, Senior Energy Consultant at EcoAct
I think we can all agree that life after the latest round of ESOS compliance is a little less stressful. There might have been points when you thought it might never end! However, it is important to ensure now it has, that we don’t let all that hard work and expense be forgotten. ESOS can and should be more than a checkbox exercise.
Here we take a look at how and why you should now be turning this compliance exercise into valuable business opportunities.
Implement the efficiency measures identified.
The energy efficiency measures you have identified as part of your ESOS compliance can hold huge opportunities for energy and cost reductions. This is pretty obvious, but we know from experience that implementing recommendations can be easier said than done.
A strategy to overcome this is to run internal working groups to understand which of the identified measures are practical and understand the investment and potential returns of each measure. This will aid decision making and help understand where to point your efforts.
This is an approach we take with of our clients. One example is a financial services company with a large portfolio of properties across the UK. Looking solely at their office sites (almost 200 properties), they were able to identify sixty-one recommendations which were agreed among internal stakeholders to be “practical”. Forty-six percent of these recommendations were at no cost and achievable through their in-house teams. The rest have been categorised according to the level of investment required.
This working group identified £700,000 + of potential savings. Through this process key stakeholders were able to see how substantial returns from ESOS compliance could be achieved, which drove forward the process of getting measures implemented. Through taking these steps one of our clients managed to cover the costs they incurred in delivering ESOS by implementing just one of the identified opportunities.
Engage the right the people
It is really important for the above process to ensure that you have the right stakeholders in the room. Recommendations need to be deemed practical by those people that understand the challenges and considerations involved and whose backing will be needed to get actions to happen. For example, you will need managers who can authorise budgets and have the technical knowledge to review the recommendations, facilities managers with knowledge of the sites and a central manager who can oversee the whole working group.
We have actually found other issues besides energy being dealt with in these forums. ESOS then becomes a good excuse to get the right people in the same room to discuss operational matters and get things done.
A powerful motivator being the possibility of cost savings. We should not forget that with rising energy costs and Climate Change Levy (CCL), the savings from energy efficiency become more and more substantial and commercially material.
The importance of good governance structures and stakeholder engagement is important for ESOS but is also increasingly important and expected in wider climate and sustainability disclosures.
Identify opportunities for wider roll-out
If you have audited a sample of sites for ESOS, look for recurrent themes among the recommendations that can potentially be applied across your wider portfolio to achieve larger wins in energy efficiency. Potentially, by scaling up opportunities across the portfolio, you can reduce average capital costs. This can also be a great business-wide engagement tool.
Get ready for more compliance
The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) regulations are now in force in the UK. They apply to all Quoted companies and unquoted companies with two out of the three following criteria: 250+ employees, turnover over of £36 million and a balance sheet of over £18 million. SECR asks for energy information. The requirement is for narrative commentary on energy efficiency measures conducted throughout the reporting year.
Following ESOS, you have plenty to help you to comply with this but bear in mind that this is an annual requirement compared with the four-yearly ESOS cycle, so the need to disclose on your energy data and energy efficiency measures are now more frequent. It is a good idea to utilise the data capture processes of ESOS and find opportunities to make improvements if needed so that you can meet the increasing disclosure demands upon you.
Get ready for a no-carbon future
In 2019, the UK government set a target for Net Zero emissions by 2050. With the growing pressure to reduce emissions from both internal and external stakeholders, including C-Suite management, Energy Managers are being increasingly called upon to answer questions and provide data on company energy usage. We anticipate this pressure will continue to grow.
Using the data and harnessing the recommendations from ESOS can help to demonstrate proactivity on energy efficiency and feed into your voluntary sustainability disclosures, whilst making a contribution to tackling climate change.
In truth, there is still plenty to do post-ESOS. However, it is time to get ESOS to start giving back and demonstrating its worth.
EcoAct is a privately held international sustainability consultancy and project developer, headquartered in Paris, with 120 employees in offices across France, the United Kingdom, Spain, the United States and Kenya. The company has unmatched depth and breadth in delivering holistic solutions to enable businesses to reduce their carbon emissions while driving commercial performance. EcoAct has undertaken carbon reduction and sustainability projects for some of the world’s leading brands while also developing and partnering with carbon offset, biodiversity and economic development programmes across Africa, Asia, China and South America. EcoAct is a CDP gold partner, a founding member of ICROA, a strategic partner in the implementation of the Gold Standard for the Global Goals and reports to the UN Global Compact.
For more information, visit www.eco-act.com
This is a promoted article.