ESOS Myth Busters! (with focus on ISO 50001)

This is the third in a series of articles referring to common misconceptions, even amongst some energy professionals, about what is required under the Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). Jes Rutter, Managing Director of energy efficiency specialists JRP Solutions, has scrutinised the regulations and checked out the facts to eradicate these myths, with particular reference in this article to the main alternative compliance route, ISO 50001:

Posted on 03 December 2014.

Myth 1:  As long as a company has ISO 50001 on a site then it will comply with ESOS.

The facts: If the site with the ISO 500001 certificate doesn’t cover at least 90% of the entire organisations energy consumption (by 5th December 2015), then further work will be required to comply with ESOS. For example for a participant with four equally sized sites that has ISO 50001 on two of these sites only therefore covers 50% of the energy use (assuming the ISO 50001 scope covers all form of energy – see Myth 2) and therefore a further 40% of the participants energy use needs to be subject to identification of energy efficiency improvement projects.

Myth 2:  Transport is a requirement of ISO 50001.

The facts: Whilst transportation is included in the scope of ESOS, and though it may be best practice, there is not a requirement to cover transportation as part of the defined scope of ISO 50001. The scope and coverage of ISO 50001 can be determined by the customer. The geography of a site can be another way in which the ISO 50001 scope could be defined, so for example you could be certified to specific defined areas of a site. In these cases, with relation to ESOS, further work would be required to cover the remainder unless those areas excluded can be shown to be part of de minimis (i.e. less than 10% of energy use).

Myth 3:  ESOS will always be a cost burden to organisations.

The facts: Complying with ESOS is in essence about two things, namely,

  • Identify energy efficiency improvement projects
  • Reporting of energy consumption

Even when an organisation has already made significant savings and has identified further energy saving projects, there can still be scope for further savings. Because buildings, transport and processes are all included, ESOS could be the catalyst to identifying further improvement projects in new areas of the organisation. When an organisation has assessed in depth all opportunities available, it will be able to prioritise which energy improvement projects to implement first to achieve the greatest impact.  Rather than a cost burden, ESOS will positively add value to an organisation when opportunities are turned into energy saving projects which are then delivered.

Much has been made of the burden of having to report data for ESOS in a different way to that used for other schemes such as CRC or EU ETS.  Whilst some manipulation of data may be required the reporting period can be chosen by the participant and therefore existing data can be used. At the end of the day if your organisation finds it laborious and burdensome to manipulate the energy data in order to comply with ESOS, then you don’t have good data sets or a good enough reporting tool, so maybe there is an opportunity here too.

Myth 4:  You can get certified to ISO 50001 in 3 months.

The facts: To get ISO 50001 will take considerably more than 3 months.  It is likely that up to 3 months will be required just to provide on-going evidence on all aspects of ISO 50001 once the system has been finalised! Energy professionals would quote a period of 6-9 months to put in place an effective ISO 50001 system that will be able to deliver significant long terms benefits to your organisation excluding the evidence period.

Myth 5:  Simply getting certified to ISO 50001 will lead to substantial energy savings for my site.

The facts: If you wish to generate substantial energy savings you need a robust ISO 50001 system that is also adequately resourced both in terms of internal and where necessary external support (e.g. energy training, strategy, projects database etc) and a capital fund to begin to implement behavioural and technical projects.