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A saving opportunity

Hywel Davies explains how the upcoming Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) can help companies meet future efficiency targets while realising substantial financial benefits.

It is vital that consultants or engineers working in the cooling and heating sector advise clients to install energy-efficient systems in order to slash end user costs as well as improve building performance.

Not only are energy bills rising, there is uncertainty about future energy supply and many energy targets such as the EU 20-20-20 targets to meet. These are a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 level; increasing energy generation from renewable sources by 20 per cent and a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency.

CIBSE is passionate about building performance, which can hugely benefit companies from cost savings when energy saving systems or processes are implemented.

CIBSE Carbon Champions of the Year in 2013, British Land, and, M&S, in 2014 are examples of companies using building performance and sustainability as part of their ethos.

Organisations don’t have to own expensive buildings or undertake costly refurbishments to benefit. Soon all large organisations will need to comply with ESOS, which aims to promote energy savings and benefits across UK businesses.

In June, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published guidance for ESOS. This is the UK’s way to implement Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which requires member states to introduce mandatory energy audits for large enterprises.

ESOS is expected to result in cost benefits of £1.6bn to the 9,400 participating businesses, achieved by implementing practical energy saving actions, which are also exemplified by winners of the CIBSE Building Performance Awards.

From 5 December 2015, organisations in the UK with more than 250 employees, a turnover in excess of €50m (£39.5m) or an annual balance sheet total of €43m, will have to comply.

This means 90 per cent of the company’s energy use for buildings, transport and operations will be assessed.

The ESOS Regulations require that the lead ESOS energy assessors be sourced from approved existing schemes run by professional bodies, such as the CIBSE Low Carbon Consultants register, which is seeking approval. ESOS applies to all non public SMEs, and covers energy used in buildings, transport and industrial processes.

CIBSE requires its registered assessors to embrace an extensive knowledge of relevant legislation and guidance.

It also requires participants to comply with conduct and impartiality standards and includes mandatory continuing professional development requirements to ensure that their competence, skills and knowledge are current, as required for ESOS.

CIBSE has been consulted in the development of the ESOS standards, competence requirements for assessors and accreditation arrangements and is committed to developing the scheme to meet the ESOS requirements and deliver cost effective energy assessments.

Energy assessors

As DECC has recognised the need for qualified and expert energy assessors such as CIBSE’s for this important scheme, it decided not to set up yet another costly register of assessors.

Because of this, DECC has been able to ensure that the average cost to a business for an ESOS assessment will be around £17,500.

The anticipated average savings from acting on the recommendations made are approximately 10 times that figure.

This scheme should help large enterprises realise the real benefits of taking action to improve their energy efficiency in both saving money and creating buildings that perform better for their occupants and operators.

All participants must produce results for an ESOS-compliant assessment by 5 December 2015 and will continue the scheme in four year phases.

Existing energy management assessments such as ISO50001, as well as Display Energy Certificates (DECs) with Advisory Reports and Green Deal Assessments can be used to provide data, as well as recommendations on cost-effective improvements.

Unless you have a certified ISO50001 energy management system that covers your whole organisation, or the group of organisations with whom you are participating, you will also need a lead auditor to review your overall compliance with ESOS.

Lead assessors are not expected to be experts in all aspects of energy use. They are allowed to bring in specialists to cover specific aspects of an assessment, where needed. They will also be able to use existing data. So where an organisation already has data on the energy its buildings use, it may use this data for its ESOS assessment. The timetable, regulations and associated guidance is now available via www.cibse.org/esos.

The Environment Agency will administer ESOS alongside its role managing the Carbon Reduction Commitment. ESOS is an opportunity for building services engineers to deliver better energy performance in commercial buildings.

Hywel Davies is technical director at the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers

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