The Ethos of ESOS

Original Press Release Date: July 2014

The Ethos of ESOS


I am willing to bet that ESOS (Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme) is one of our lesser-known pieces of energy legislation. ESOS has been developed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in response to Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.

Basically it mandates larger organisations, those that employ over 250 staff or have an annual turnover in excess of £42m, to undertake energy audits looking at all aspects of energy use across their buildings, transport and industrial activities. ESOS is aimed at identifying where energy – and money – can be saved. Between 5th December 2015, the date by which the first of these energy audits should take place and 2030, ESOS is predicted to save between £0.8bn and £3bn, so we are talking quite big numbers.

I am guessing most readers here will not be directly implicated. However, indirectly, it might be useful to have some understanding, at least of the ethos of ESOS as I have no doubt that many of you have clients who will need to comply or are at least looking to make energy efficiency improvements.

Although SMEs and public sector bodies are not required to participate in ESOS they could still benefit from voluntarily meeting the requirements. ESOS provides a framework to help identify energy efficiency opportunities that can benefit any business or organisation, which has got to be a good thing.

The HVAC industry is largely aware of similar legislation, originating from the European Commission’s EPBD (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive), which, among other measures, requires the operators of any building having air conditioning with a cooling output rated at 12kW and above to have their air conditioning installations regularly inspected by an accredited energy assessor, the UK interprets this as being by the required date and then every five years. Again the general idea is to identify opportunities to improve operating efficiency, saving energy and money.

Another similarity and perhaps a missed opportunity is that, with ESOS and the Air Conditioning Inspections legislation, there is no legal requirement to implement any identified energy efficiency recommendations.

However, the financial benefits that arise from avoiding energy waste can only be achieved if the cost effective recommendations are implemented. 

ESOS has synergies with a number of existing policies including the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, Climate Change Agreements, the EU Emissions Trading System and mandatory greenhouse gas reporting. The Government proposes that, as part of ESOS, organisations would be allowed to make use of energy data collected under existing schemes. However, it should be noted that despite apparent similarities in the basic energy saving principles between ESOS and Air Conditioning Inspections, they are entirely separate and Air Conditioning Inspections do not meet the compliance requirements of ESOS audits or vice versa.

There are various routes to compliance with ESOS, the main one being the ISO 50001 Energy Management system. ISO 50001 is an international standard which outlines best practice energy management and provides a structure to measure, monitor and audit energy usage.

DECC has published a helpful guide to ESOS with case studies on companies that have achieved substantial savings on energy bills resulting from steps taken following ISO 50001 Certification.



For information on the Air Conditioning Inspections legislation see:

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