ESOS is like Marmite (other yeast based products are also available!)

Whether you love it or hate it, ESOS compliance is mandatory, so why not make the most of it?

Posted on 06 May 2015.

ESOS is now a reality for all non SME UK business. Some love it, some hate it, but unlike Marmite, ESOS compliance is mandatory so, do you hold your nose, take a bite and chew as fast as you can to end the experience as quickly as possible or will you savour the moment?

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Marmite but I am of ESOS. Why? Because after years of banging my head against a wall trying to convince businesses both large and small to stop wasting energy and money and invest some time and effort into managing it better, finally they now have to do at least something.

Of course there are always reasons why energy isn’t given the attention I believe it deserves. Conflicting priorities, limited resources, not enough time in the day, lack of finance and not knowing where to start are amongst the most common reasons for inaction.

However, what that ‘something’ is remains a choice, at least for Phase One of ESOS.

‘Something’ could be a tick in the box exercise which will mean completing a compliant audit at the lowest possible cost resulting in a list of opportunities that remain just that, at least that is until ESOS Phase Two. And for the next four years those businesses will continue to waste energy at an ever increasing cost or what I would refer to as being the cost of inaction.

Alternatively, ‘something’ could mean revolutionising your whole approach to energy with the ESOS audit acting as the catalyst for real change.

Imagine walking out of your office at the end of the day and no longer leaving Blackpool illuminations behind you. Imagine a factory without the white noise of air leaks, the glare of lights illuminating empty spaces or the hum of motors driving conveyors gliding effortlessly along without a single product upon them.

For me it’s the difference between being able to give an informed and intelligent response to the Financial Director when he asks ‘Why are we spending so much on energy?’ Or better still ‘Why have our energy bills decreased?’ To exemplify the point, I recently encountered one food business that implemented an improvement opportunity but didn’t specify that a sub meter should be fitted prior to installation thus enabling the impact of the project to be accurately calculated and evaluated. Needless to say when the next request for capital approval was made it was a more difficult process than it might otherwise have been.

In my view, every business and every site should have its own Energy Plan that reflects both the needs of the business and what may be realistically achieved within the constraints of that particular site.

Each Energy Plan should contain a set of realistic and achievable targets over say a three year period underpinned by a suite of relevant policies and key improvement measures and practical projects that will deliver those targets.

Of course some of the most cost effective improvements are not the tangible technical projects so beloved by the engineers among us but are in fact those that impact upon behavioural change.

Why? Because affecting behavioural change and engendering a more energy conscious culture particularly when supported by senior management, requires little capital investment and is far more sustainable.

A recent example of the effect of energy awareness training at one of our customers’ sites resulted in an additional 7.5% reduction in energy consumption over a two year period.

Whilst an ESOS audit will provide some ideas, opportunities and projects and is just part of the solution not the solution itself, it can provide the catalyst for sustainable and cost effective change.