Given the nature of the UK’s manufacturing industry – high energy usage and plenty of heavy machinery – it is not surprising that legislation, whether it’s covers carbon emissions or health and safety, is ever-present.
Whilst legislation is there to help industry operate to the best of its potential, it can often be confusing and long-winded. With the government’s latest initiative – the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) – already well underway, Ian Kempson, Group Quality Manager at ERIKS UK, outlines its real impact on manufacturers, and why those who are yet to embrace it really need to get on board.
What is ESOS?
It’s a compulsory UK government initiative for larger businesses (non-SMEs), requiring them to undertake regular audits of their energy consumption and potential energy saving opportunities. It feeds into the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (Article 8 (4-6).
Who does it affect?
ESOS is mandatory for any organisations which, as of the 31st January 2014, either employ more than 250 members of staff, or those with less than 250 employees but turnover more than €50m (circa £38.9m).
Perché è importante?
The scheme is mandatory for all qualifying companies. Once the minimum level of compliance is met then there are no further obligations to improve energy-consuming processes.
However, as the whole premise of ESOS is to reduce energy consumption on a grand scale, going above and beyond the minimum measures required by ESOS is a fantastic opportunity for companies to evaluate their current operations and see where further improvements can be made.
Given that cutting energy consumption will directly reduce the amount spent on utility bills, ESOS presents a massive opportunity for companies, especially manufacturers who tend to be very ‘process heavy’ compared to a traditional office-based organisation, to make sizeable savings – both financially and environmentally.
How do I comply?
You can comply in two ways:
1) If your company is already certified to ISO 50001 and its coverage relates to 100 per cent of your energy usage, then your ESOS requirements will have already been met. Simply just notify the Environment Agency to confirm you are ESOS compliant.
2) If your company qualifies for ESOS but isn’t covered by ISO 50001, then you will have to undertake and an ESOS assessment. This will involve calculating the total energy consumption off all activity, including properties, processes and transportation.
Once significant areas of energy consumption have been identified, you need to appoint a lead assessor. The assessor – who can be either an existing employee who is a member of an approved body; or an external contractor – will audit your current energy usage, by breaking down the different energy usages and analysing any potential variations which may decrease efficiency, and make suggestions as to how they can be altered.
How do I ensure compliance going forward?
The deadline for companies to conduct their ESOS assessment is the 5th December 2015, and the Environment Agency must be notified once it has taken place.
From then on, audits will need to be undertaken every four years following the original assessment. Audits will then ensure that ESOS is being met, and will also identify further energy saving opportunities. However, these must be achievable and take into account the amount of energy that could be saved versus the implementation cost.
Again, at the moment there is no obligation to undertake any opportunities which are above and beyond ESOS compliance, but the financial and environmental benefits of the scheme are hard to ignore.
In short, ESOS is here to stay. It should be embraced, not just because it would illegal to ignore it, but because it represents a real catalyst for change amongst the UK’s manufacturing and engineering base. Millions of pounds of utility bill savings are on offer due to the process-heavy nature of this economic sector, as well as the potential to take great strides in reducing your plants overall carbon footprint. If you haven’t already, arrange an ESOS assessment and commit to making real change now.