Buildings account for approximately 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and non-dwellings account for roughly half this total. Businesses therefore have a very important role in supporting the ambitious carbon reduction targets set by the Government, principally through the Climate Change Act 2008.
There are a number of existing legislative controls that address energy in buildings, including taxation, trading, performance transparency and plant efficiency, whilst non-mandatory schemes such as sustainability certification labels are also commonplace.
In addition, financial savings and stakeholder carbon reporting are, in the current climate, two of the most important energy performance drivers for business.
The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is the UK Government’s response to implementing Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which mandates energy assessments for large organisations. ESOS will apply to all organisations with 250 or more employees, or with an annual turnover and balance sheet of €50m and €43m respectively. Any business that qualifies for the scheme must identify and audit their significant energy consumption and submit a formal notification to the Environment Agency. Penalties will be issued for non-compliance and firms could end up with fines of up to £50,000.
The UK’s Energy Managers Association (EMA) was set up by Lord Redesdale (CEO) in February 2012 and represents Energy Managers across all industries. The EMA has been approved by the Environment Agency as an Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) Lead Assessor Register.
ESOS requires companies to produce detailed reports on their energy use and efficiency every four years. The Scheme aims to save organisations both energy and money, while contributing to lowering carbon emissions.