Businesses in Scotland have just 10 weeks left to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) regulations.
Around 600 businesses which qualify for ESOS have until December 5 to undertake and submit their energy audits or face fines of up to £50,000.
Those with more than 250 staff or a turnover of more than £38,937,777 and an annual balance sheet of more than £33,486,489 are required to complete an energy efficiency audit every four years according to new regulations. The first one is due this December (2015).
According to SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency), which is the Scottish regulator of the scheme on behalf of the UK Environment Agency, ESOS mainly affects businesses, but can also apply to not-for-profit bodies and any other non-public sector undertakings that are large enough to meet the qualification criteria.
Unless an organisation’s energy consumption is fully covered by an ISO 50001 energy management system, it is required to calculate its total energy usage. This includes all energy consumed by buildings, industrial processes and transport. An ESOS compliant energy audit must then be carried out upon the areas which account for significant energy consumption, or 90% of the total energy consumed.
This audit should identify and recommend cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, if any, using cost-benefit analysis. ESOS assessments require to be signed off by an ESOS lead assessor, where ISO 50001 accreditation is not held. These can be employees or external contractors, but they need to be members of an approved professional body register to do this.
Fiona Graham from SEPA’s Carbon Reduction Unit, who is featured in the above video, said: “We’re encouraging all qualifying businesses to make sure they undertake an ESOS compliant energy audit and notify the Environment Agency by December 5 2015. Identifying and reducing energy use, and therefore energy costs, is a very positive thing for businesses and should be something everyone is doing as a matter of course already.
“As well as the positive impact, in potential cost savings it should have for businesses; ESOS should reduce our carbon emissions by reducing Scotland’s energy consumption.”
As the enforcing authority for Scotland, SEPA has the power to issue enforcement notices, as well as financial penalties of up to £50k for businesses that don’t comply.