ENERGY AUDITS AND ENERGY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

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A.Introduction

  1. An ‘energy audit‘ means a systematic procedure with the purpose of obtaining adequate knowledge of the energy consumption profile of a building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation or installation or a private or public service, identifying and quantifying cost-effective energy saving opportunities, and reporting the findings; (see corresponding definition in Article 2(25)).
  2. Energy audits are an essential tool to achieve energy savings. They are necessary to assess the existing energy consumption and identify the whole range of opportunities to save energy. This should then result in proposals of concrete saving measures for management, public authorities or home owners. Furthermore, energy audits allow the identification and prioritization or ranking of opportunities for improvement. In this way, energy audits tackle the information gap that is one of the main barriers to energy efficiency.
  3. Through the identification of energy saving possibilities and proposed recommendations for follow-up, audits are also the basis for the development of a market for energy services. The result of an energy audit may be, for example, a recommendation for window replacement in a household, for insulation of piping in a factory or for setting up a comprehensive energy management system in commercial buildings, among other recommendations. Furthermore, energy audits are not only centered on technical solutions such as replacements or retrofits, as significant opportunities for improvement may also exist in connection to the operation, both industrial and commercial, for example the more efficient operation and continual optimization of operating procedures, control parameters, logistic and layout optimization and maintenance planning. Energy audits may also be part of a broader environmental audit that considers storage possibilities, connection to district heating and cooling networks or potential for demand response in industries and commercial buildings. A private or public service, e.g. city public transport system, may also be subject to an energy audit that results in the identification of cost-effective energy saving opportunities.
  4. Having an energy management system in place requires enterprises to carry out detailed energy review processes, which also result in the systematic identification and reporting of energy saving opportunities. This may also be the case for enterprises implementing environmental management systems.
  5. Article 8 of Directive 2012/27/EU of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency (the Energy Efficiency Directive – hereafter also ‘the EED’ or ‘the Directive’) requires Member States to comply with the following main obligations:
    • Promote the availability of high quality and cost-effective energy audits to all final customers, fulfilling minimum criteria based on Annex VI and carried out by qualified and/or accredited experts or supervised by independent authorities ;
    • Ensure mandatory and regular audits for large enterprises fulfilling minimum criteria based on Annex VI and carried out by qualified and/or accredited experts or supervised by independent authorities;
    • Establish transparent and non-discriminatory minimum criteria for energy audits, based on Annex VI of the Directive;
    • Establish in national legislation, requirements for energy auditors, and for supervision by national authorities,
    • Ensure the development of programmes to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to undergo energy audits and to implement the recommendations from these audits; and
    • Ensure the development of programmes to raise awareness among households about the benefits of energy audits.

The Article gives scope for the provision of incentives for the implementation of recommended measures.

B.Legal and policy context

  1. Obligations for Member States in relation to energy audits already existed in the Energy Services Directive (‘the ESD’)[2] but under the EED their obligatory nature is stronger, and audits are made compulsory for large enterprises. Provisions on qualification of experts, independent control systems and quality assurance and energy performance certificates also exist in Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (recast of the earlier Directive 2002/91/EC, hereinafter ‘the EPBD’)[3]. The relationship between these is explained below.
  2. Article 8(1) and Article 8(4) of the Directive establish the two main obligations for Member States to promote the availability of energy audits and to ensure that large enterprises carry out regular energy audits. Whilst the obligation for large enterprises to carry out regular energy audits is new, an obligation for Member States to ensure the availability of efficient high-quality energy audit schemes, which are carried out in an independent manner, to all final consumers, including smaller domestic, commercial and small and medium-sized industrial customers was already established in similar terms in Article 12 of the ESD. In cases where energy audits were not commercially available for certain market segments, such as households, Member States had the obligation to ensure the availability of such audits. The EED also introduces additional expertise and supervision requirements for energy audits and an obligation for Member States to ensure the development of programmes to encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits and to raise awareness among households. Article 12(3) of the ESD specified that audits resulting from schemes based on voluntary agreements between organisations of stakeholders and an appointed body, by the Member States concerned in accordance with Article 6(2)(b) of the ESD, were to be considered as having fulfilled the requirements for Member States to ensure the availability of energy audits. Article 8(2) and 8(5) of the EED maintain the possibility for Member States to conclude voluntary agreements for the implementation of energy audits, both in SMEs and in large enterprises.
  1. Article 11 of the EPBD imposes the obligation on Member States to establish a system of certification of the energy performance of buildings. This makes it possible for owners or tenants of a building to assess its energy performance and compare it with others. According to Article 12 of the ESD, certification in accordance with Article 7 of Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings[4] must be regarded as equivalent to an energy audit meeting the requirements set out in Article 12(1) and (2) of the ESD. However, in recognition of the wider scope of energy audits under Article 8 of the EED, the EED no longer keeps this equivalence.
  2. Therefore, energy performance certification in accordance with Article 11 of the EPBD, and inspections in accordance with its Articles 14 and/or 15, cannot automatically be regarded as equivalent to energy audits under Article 8 of the EED (which are e.g. based on measured data on energy consumption and load profiles for electricity, examine – where applicable – industrial operations or installations, including transportation, and allow detailed and validated calculations to provide information on potential savings). However, it is possible that in specific cases (for instance when auditing office buildings of a large enterprise) certification and/or inspections under the EPBD in a given Member State may fulfil the requirements of Article 8 and Annex VI of the EED.
  3. Article 8 of the ESD establishes that Member States must ensure, where they deem it necessary, the availability of appropriate qualification, accreditation and/or certification schemes for the providers of energy audits. Complementing the provisions of Article 8, Article 16 of the EED on the availability of qualification, accreditation and certification schemes establishes that where a Member State considers that the national level of technical competence, objectivity and reliability is insufficient, the Member State must ensure that, by 31 December 2014, certification and/or accreditation schemes and/or equivalent qualification schemes, including, where necessary, suitable training programmes, are available for the providers of energy audits.
  4. Certification aspects are also part of the EPBD. Its Article 17 establishes that Member States must ensure that the energy performance certification of buildings and the inspection of heating systems and air-conditioning systems are carried out in an independent manner by qualified and/or accredited experts, whether operating in a self-employed capacity or employed by public bodies or private enterprises. Experts must be accredited taking into account their competence. This Article requires that Member States must make available to the public information on training and accreditation. Member States must ensure that regularly updated lists of accredited companies which offer the services of such experts are made available to the public. Similarly, under Article 17(1) of the EED on information and training, Member States must ensure that information on available energy efficiency mechanisms and financial and legal frameworks is widely disseminated to all relevant market actors such as consumers or environmental and energy auditors.
  5. Where it is relevant, the Commission services encourage Member States to explore synergies between the transposition and implementation of Article 8 of the Energy Efficiency Directive and of the implementation of the EPBD (in particular Articles 17 and 18[5]), especially as regards the national supervisory authorities set up under national legislation to make sure that energy audits are cost effective and carried out in an independent and cost-effective manner by qualified and/or accredited experts according to certain qualification criteria or implemented and supervised by independent authorities under national legislation. These qualification criteria may nevertheless differ substantially given that the scope of energy audits under the EED is wider than the certification of buildings under the EPBD. In particular, the focus of energy audits under the EED – even for buildings and households – goes beyond the technical characteristics of the buildings and includes e.g. all electricity uses and behavioural changes such as impact of occupant activity on energy consumption.
  6. The Commission services equally encourage Member States to explore synergies and ensure consistency between the qualification/certification criteria and schemes of the EED and the EPBD when transposing and implementing their legal provisions. Accordingly, qualified energy auditors in the framework of the EED could be recognised as qualified experts to deliver EPCs in buildings. Furthermore, qualified experts to deliver EPCs in buildings could be targeted for training to become qualified energy auditors.
  7. This note aims to provide guidance to Member States on how to apply Article 8 of the EED. It states the views of the Commission, does not alter the legal effects of the Directive and is without prejudice to the binding interpretation of Article 8 as provided by the Court of Justice.

C.Obligation to promote the general availability of energy audits

  1. Under Article 8(1) of the EED, Member States must promote the availability to all final customers of high quality energy audits which are cost effective and (a) carried out in an independent manner by qualified and/or accredited experts according to qualification criteria; or (b) implemented and supervised by independent authorities under national legislation. These criteria (cost-effective, undertaken by qualified/accredited experts and supervised by independent authorities) have to be applied to energy audits promoted by Member States’ programmes – e.g. information campaigns or other support actions – and to those referred to under Article 8(4) (see section D1). As a consequence, Member States have to ensure that energy audits become available to all final customers and check that they fulfil the above-mentioned criteria. Article 8(1) does not impose a specific obligation to carry out energy audits.
  1. Energy audits must be carried out by either “qualified” or “accredited” experts. Accreditation is a public authority activity that ensures the continuous control of the technical competence of conformity assessment bodies. It ensures that audits carried out by experts meet the requirements of Annex VI of the EED. While there is a possibility to have qualified experts, it may be more difficult to demonstrate their competence through qualification schemes rather than accreditation. Regulation 765/2008[6] provides the EU definition of “accreditation”. It should be noted, however, that accreditation according to Regulation 765/2008 is normally provided to legal rather than natural persons. Qualification should therefore rather apply to those cases where an individual aims to become active as an expert.[7]
  1. Article 8(1) refers to promoting the availability to ‘all final customers‘ of high quality energy audits. ‘Final customer’ is defined in Article 2(23), and means a natural or legal person who purchases energy for own end use.
  1. Energy audits must not include clauses preventing the findings of the audit from being transferred (on condition that the customer does not object) to any qualified/accredited energy service provider. Energy audits referred to under Article 8(1) of the EED must be compliant with relevant data protection legislation, and in particular with Directive 95/46/EC[8].

D. Specific obligation for large enterprises to carry out regular energy audits

D1.      Scope of the obligation

  1. Under Article 8(4), Member States must ensure that large enterprises (‘that are not SMEs‘) carry out regular energy audits. Article 8(4) does not exclude any sector (for example Emissions Trading Systems – ETS – sectors or Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control – IPPC – licence holders). To be able to ensure that large enterprises fulfil the obligations established in Article 8(4), Member States have to identify the enterprises that fall under this obligation.
  1. When establishing the scope of this obligation, Member States must follow the definition of the category of ‘small and medium-sized enterprises‘ or ‘SMEs‘ in Article 2(26) of the Directive. According to this definition, SMEs are ‘enterprises as defined in Title I of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003; the category of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is made up of enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and which have an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million[9]. This harmonised definition allows consistent requirements for companies operating in different EU Member States.
  1. In order to be an SME an undertaking must first fall within the definition of ‘enterprise’, which is ‘any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form‘. Any activity whereby goods and services are offered on a given market is an economic activity[10]. It is important to underline that the definition of SMEs in Article 2(26) does not refer to energy intensity or to energy consumption and that the definition, as a provision of a Directive, is fully legally binding.[11]
  1. It follows from the definition that the number of employees is the main criterion for determining whether an enterprise is an SME. The headcount is accompanied by a financial criterion, either turnover or balance sheet total. A SME does not need to satisfy both financial criteria.
  1. In line with Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, national labour rules apply as regards the definition of ’employees’. Apprentices and students with vocational training contracts should not be counted, nor should employees away on maternity or parental leave.
  1. According to this Recommendation, enterprises can use the data contained in their last approved annual accounts to make the staff and financial calculations. To calculate their data, enterprises registered in a given country have to establish whether they are autonomous, partner or linked enterprises[12]. Enterprises need to include the data of other related enterprises in other countries (including outside the EU) to assess whether they can be considered to be an SME or not. An enterprise that holds over 25% of capital or voting rights in another enterprise, or vice versa 25% of its capital or voting rights are held by a different enterprise, is a partner or linked enterprise. That means that the number of staff, turnover and/or balance sheet of the enterprises must be added together to see if they are below the SME threshold. It is still possible for two small linked enterprises to be SMEs. In general, most SMEs are autonomous since they are either completely independent or have one or more minority partnerships (each less than 25% with other enterprises). If an enterprise is autonomous, it needs to use only the number of employees and the financial data contained in its annual accounts to check if it respects the thresholds mentioned in point 20 above.
  1. As a result, small branches in one Member State may need to carry out an energy audit every four years because they do not fall within the definition of SME and therefore come within the category of large enterprises. This should not be considered as an extra burden or disproportionate[13] because on the one hand such enterprises may well be implementing energy management systems (see section D2) or may have arrangements whereby the branch could be helped with the audit, for example by in house experts from the parent company; and on the other hand, because the energy audit in question is likely to have a more limited scope and cost.
  1. The existence of a list of large enterprises may serve several purposes and help make such companies aware of their obligations under the EED. In some Member States, a register of enterprises that are not SMEs already exists. There are several other tools that Member States could consider using to know how many and which enterprises fall under the scope of the audit obligation on large enterprises. Both Eurostat and often national statistic offices have some analysis (at least total numbers) by enterprise size class, differentiating between large and SMEs in line with the EU harmonised definition of SME. Member States could consider using national obligations that enterprises submit consolidated accounts in line with the financial reporting legislation in the EU established in the 1970s and 1980s[14] as an indication of an enterprise’s status (as a large enterprise). This legislation has been amended in line with the harmonised EU definition of SME of 2006. In addition, stock exchange offices usually operate public registries of companies by sector and by size. Member States may also consider establishing other reporting mechanisms for large enterprises to report on compliance.
  1. It follows from Article 8(4) that enterprises other than SMEs must carry out a first energy audit, in a form that fulfils the requirements of Article 8(4), between the date of entry into force (4 December 2012) and, at the latest, 5 December 2015. Then, according to the maximum four-year interval, if the first energy audit took place, for example, on 15 January 2013, the next one must happen at the latest four years later (before 15 January 2017 in this example).
  1. Large enterprises that have carried out more than one energy audit before 5 December 2015 have flexibility to assess which audit is to be counted as the first one for the purposes of the Directive, provided that the energy audit in question fulfils the national minimum criteria for energy audits based on Annex VI.

D2.      Exemptions

  1. Article 8(6) provides exemptions to the obligation for large enterprises to carry out regular energy audits, when those enterprises are implementing an energy or environmental management system ‘certified by an independent body according to the relevant European or International Standards’. The definition of ‘energy management system’ is provided in Article 2(11) whereby it ‘means a set of interrelated or interacting elements of a plan which sets an energy efficiency objective and a strategy to achieve that objective‘. In the context of Article 8(6), the exemption from the audit obligation for large enterprises refers specifically to formalised energy management systems complying with relevant European and International Standards. This does not preclude that this independent body may be accredited by a national accreditation body according to Regulation 765/2008 which attests its technical competence to carry out its tasks.
  1. Typically, when a large company has in place an energy management system, a continuous energy review process is carried out to control and reduce energy use. The result of this process of detailed review of the energy consumption profile and identification of opportunities for energy saving is equivalent to that of discrete, regular energy audits. In addition, separate energy audits (with the same scope as the energy management system or with a narrower scope e.g. covering individual sites, buildings or processes) may also be carried out to support the implementation of the energy management system. For these reasons, enterprises that are implementing an energy or environmental management system – certified by an independent body according to the relevant European and International Standards – are considered to satisfy the energy audit requirement of Article 8(4) in terms of results and are therefore exempted from this obligation.
  1. In order for this exemption to apply the Member States must ensure that the management system concerned includes an energy audit on the basis of minimum criteria set out in Annex VI. In practice, this requires in the first place identifying the management system in question and the standard that it follows. Subsequently, the certification status of the management system and of the certification body (or for self-certification where applicable) needs to be checked to make sure that the implementation of the management system fulfils the requirements described in the following section (E2).
  1. Experience so far has shown that in many Member States energy audits and energy management systems are promoted through voluntary agreement programmes (sometimes referred to as branch contracts, programmes or sector plans). The most widespread are voluntary agreements in the industrial sector. In fact, for some of these programmes, implementing an energy management system is a prerequisite for participation in a voluntary agreement scheme. This is recognised in Article 8(5) of the Directive, which states that large enterprises implementing energy audits under voluntary agreements concluded between organisations of stakeholders and an appointed body and supervised by the Member State concerned, or other bodies to which the competent authorities have delegated the responsibility concerned, or by the Commission, are considered as fulfilling the requirements of Article 8(4).

D3.      Penalties

  1. Because the transposition of Article 8 requires Member States to impose obligations on third parties, Member States are required to lay down rules on penalties applicable in case of non-compliance with the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Article (see Article 13). These penalties must be ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’ and must be notified to the Commission within 18 months of the coming into force of the Directive.
  2. Ensuring high-quality audits

E1.      Expertise, including the use of in-house experts or energy auditors, and national supervision

  1. The criteria of expertise and national supervision for the energy audits under Article 8(4) are identical to those of Article 8(1) described in point 15 above. In other words the same criteria apply when large enterprises fulfil their energy audit obligations and when Member States promote the use of energy audits. Accordingly, Article 8(4) requires Member States to ensure that enterprises that are not SMEs are ‘subject to an energy audit carried out in an independent and cost-effective manner by qualified and/or accredited experts or implemented and supervised by independent authorities under national legislation by 5 December 2015 and at least every four years from the date of the previous energy audit‘.
  1. The possibility for in-house experts or energy auditors to carry out energy audits only applies for those subject to the strict criteria named in 8(1) and 8(4), e. carried out in an independent and cost-effective manner by qualified and/or accredited experts or implemented or supervised by independent authorities under national legislation. The condition for in-house experts or energy auditors to carry out energy audits is that the Member State concerned has put in place a scheme to assure and check their quality, including, if appropriate, an annual random selection of at least a statistically significant percentage of all the energy audits they carry out (Article 8(1)). The national scheme for checking the quality of in-house experts or energy auditors can be the same as for external ones. Where energy audits are carried out by in-house experts, the necessary independence would require these experts not to be directly engaged in the activity audited (recital 25).

E2.      Minimum criteria to be fulfilled

  1. For the purpose of guaranteeing the high quality of the energy audit and energy management systems, Member States must establish transparent and non-discriminatory minimum criteria for energy audits based on Annex VI on ‘Minimum criteria for energy audits including those carried out as part of energy management systems‘.
  1. The national minimum criteria to be established on the basis of Annex VI apply to energy audits promoted by the Member States under Article 8(1) and mandatory audits by large enterprises under Article 8(4). As mentioned before, these audits also need to satisfy the strict criteria for expertise and national supervision (see previous section). The respect of national minimum criteria on the basis of Annex VI and of strict criteria for expertise and national supervision apply equally to Articles 8(5) and 8(6) as they provide for exemptions and for equivalent requirements to those established in Article 8(4), e. regular energy audits for large enterprises. Other energy audits that may be implemented in the Member States and that are not promoted by Member States and not implemented by large enterprises to fulfil the mandatory requirement are not subject to these strict requirements.
  1. In line with recital 24, the minimum criteria in Annex VI are not more far reaching than the requirements of the relevant European or International Standards. It follows from the wording of this recital that energy audits should take into account relevant European or International Standards, such as, for example, EN ISO 50001 (Energy Management Systems), or EN 16247-1 (Energy Audits)[15], or, if including an energy audit, EN ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems).
  1. These standards can provide useful guidance in developing national minimum criteria on the basis of Annex VI. Furthermore, EN 16247-1 was developed specifically in the context of the former Energy Services Directive and could be applied as a consistent tool as part of a wider management system (e.g. EN ISO 50001 or EN ISO 14000). There is a new ISO International Standard 50002 under development setting standards for conducting an energy audit. It should be noted that although reference is made to both ISO 50001 and ISO 14000, ISO 50001 targets specifically energy consumption, whilst ISO 14000 focuses more generally on environmental improvements. The consideration of European or International Standards is useful towards creating a level playing field for enterprises with activities in several Member States.
  1. Annex VI establishes the guidelines on which the energy audits referred to in Article 8 must be based, in practice giving requirements for the thoroughness and content of the energy audit reports. The minimum criteria in Annex VI include guidelines on the data to be used, the depth and scope of the audit, the recommended cost analysis and the quality requirements in terms of representativeness of the energy audits referred to in Article 8.
  1. These guidelines consist of six elements or criteria which should be examined in each case and which should each be incorporated in some way in the minimum criteria to be established at national level. On the basis of Annex VI, national minimum criteria need to make clear that energy audits must be based on up-to-date data on energy consumption and comprise a detailed review of the energy consumption profile, building whenever possible on life-cycle cost analysis. Energy audits must allow the reliable identification of the most significant opportunities for improvement in energy efficiency, permitting detailed calculations for the proposed measures. The data used in energy audits must allow performance to be tracked. The resulting national minimum criteria should therefore lead to quite comprehensive and thorough energy audits.
  1. Member States may add additional elements when developing criteria based on Annex VI. They may also indicate in which circumstances a particular part of the six elements or criteria would be most relevant (e.g. life-cycle cost analysis). Member States through their national minimum criteria may tailor the needs for different segments where they promote energy audits, for instance to SMEs (for whom a detailed audit may not be cost-effective), a public service (e.g. a city public transport service) or households.
  1. The first guideline in Annex VI (a) is that energy audits must be based on up-to date, measured, traceable operational data on energy consumption and, in the case of electricity, load profiles. These data are needed to analyse energy performance of the audited object.
  1. Annex VI (b) states that energy audits must comprise a detailed review of the energy consumption profile of buildings or groups of buildings, industrial operations or installations, including transportation. Such detailed review allows building the data needed to identify energy performance improvements opportunities.
  1. The guideline for energy audits in Annex VI(c) is to build, whenever possible, on life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA[16]) instead of Simple Payback Periods (SPP)[17] in order to take account of long-term savings, residual values of long-term investments and discount rates. This is particularly relevant in cases where audits need to be of such quality that investment decisions can be based on them. For example in the residential sector, it is increasingly common to link support under financial instruments to carrying out an energy audit as a starting point for energy efficiency projects. The inclusion of additional financial indicators such as Discounted Payback, Internal Rate of Return or Return on Investment is helps building confidence of investors and getting access to funding[18].
  1. Annex VI(d) states that energy audits must be sufficiently representative to permit the drawing of a reliable picture of overall energy performance and the reliable identification of the most significant opportunities of improvement. Therefore, national minimum criteria based on Annex VI must make clear that all energy related aspects listed in point (b) (buildings or groups of buildings, industrial operations or installations, including transportation) must be systematically screened. According to this screening, the scope and boundaries (e. physical or site limits, extent of activities or facilities addressed) of each energy audit and the degree of thoroughness needed for drawing up the required reliable assessment are to be defined on a case by case basis.
  1. Examples of possible scopes are the whole site of an enterprise and all energy using systems or the boiler plant, one or more production lines or the offices, the vehicle fleet or the on-site transportation. Different levels of detail are also possible, depending for instance on whether accuracy sufficient for investment decisions is needed, or whether it is necessary to visit a proportion of similar sites of the same company. The obligation for large enterprises to carry out an energy audit at least every four years is not in contradiction with carrying out audits with narrower scopes over a period of time and within the four year periodicity of the audit requirement. Consideration could be given for example to planning energy audits for different sites or focusing first on processes and later on office buildings, with different timeframes within the four-year cycle.
  1. The flexibility to adjust both the scope and boundaries and the level of detail must not contradict the requirement to make a representative assessment of the overall energy performance and to identify and prioritise energy saving opportunities. For instance, it would not be justifiable for an enterprise for which the transportation aspects of its operations are the main user of energy not to include this in the scope of the energy audit. On the other hand, the energy audit of a given enterprise is not expected to assess the energy use of its transport service providers (if these come from a different enterprise). The specific European Standard dealing with the transport aspects of energy audits may provide useful guidance in this regard. This Standard applies both to operators exclusively dedicated to transport and to public or private companies with some transport operations.
  1. Annex VI also indicates that the energy audits referred to in Article 8 must allow detailed and validated calculations to provide clear information on potential savings. The data used in energy audits must be storable for historical analysis. This means that relevant data, used or produced during the audit work, must be presented in the energy audit reports in a form that can be used for e.g. programme level monitoring purposes.
  1. When developing national minimum criteria for energy audits, European or international standards may in particular provide useful guidance for the definition of the scope and level of detail of an energy audit. For example standards can provide guidance for the assessment of levels of detail that an energy audit may require, tailored to the subject of the audit (i.e. building or group of buildings, an industrial or commercial operation or installation or a private or public service) and with sufficient flexibility to adapt to particular circumstances. Furthermore, standards may provide useful guidance for the planning of the audit, data collection, specific checklists to evaluate actual energy performance (e.g. in industrial processes, in buildings), typical energy and financial saving opportunities or the content of the audit report. European or international standards also provide examples of how to strike the right balance between the scope and thoroughness of an energy audit.
  1. Energy audits may stand alone or be part of a broader environmental audit. Member States may require that an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of connection to an existing or planned district heating or cooling network must be part of the energy audit. To identify the full scope of energy saving options, energy audits may also consider storage possibilities or potential for demand response in industries and commercial buildings.

F.Training programmes for the qualification of energy auditors and availability of qualification, accreditation and certification schemes

  1. A sufficient number of reliable professionals competent in the field of energy efficiency should be available to ensure the effective and timely implementation of and compliance with the requirements of the Directive on energy audits. For this purpose, Member States are required to encourage training programmes for the qualification of energy auditors (Article 8(3)).
  1. Member States should put in place certification schemes for the providers of energy audits to make sure that a sufficient number of reliable professionals be available (see recital 46).
  1. To further reinforce the availability of qualified experts, in accordance with Article 16 on availability of qualification, accreditation and certification schemes, where a Member State considers that the national level of technical competence, objectivity and reliability is insufficient, the Member State must ensure that, by 31 December 2014, certification and/or accreditation schemes and/or equivalent qualification schemes, including, where necessary, suitable training programmes, become available for the providers of energy audits. Member States have discretion as to how to assess the national level of technical competence, objectivity and reliability, but if this is considered to be insufficient the previously mentioned actions must be taken before 31 December 2014.

Member States must ensure that qualification, accreditation and certification schemes provide transparency to consumers, are reliable and contribute to national energy efficiency objectives. Member States must take appropriate measures to make consumers aware of the availability of qualification and/or certification schemes. They must make publicly available the certification and/or accreditation schemes or equivalent qualification schemes and must cooperate among themselves and with the Commission on comparisons between, and recognition of, the schemes. The latter is important to address the sometimes diverse qualification criteria and respective quality control schemes across Member States. Moving in the direction of mutual recognition of schemes would open the European market for energy auditors. In this respect, a European-wide accreditation scheme that ensures the quality of audits may eventually be envisaged.

  1. Under Article 17(1) on information and training, Member States must ensure that information on available energy efficiency mechanisms and financial and legal frameworks is widely disseminated to all relevant market actors such as consumers or environmental and energy auditors.

G.Obligations to develop programmes to encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits and to raise awareness among households

  1. Article 8(2) of the Directive establishes that Member States must develop programmes to encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits and the subsequent implementation of the recommendations from these audits.
  1. SMEs represent enormous energy saving potential for the Union. To encourage them to adopt energy efficiency measures, Member States should establish a favourable framework aimed at providing SMEs with technical assistance and targeted information (see recital 41).
  1. Member States must bring to the attention of SMEs, including through their respective representative organisations, concrete examples of how energy management systems could help their businesses. The Commission must assist Member States by supporting the exchange of best practices in this domain.
  1. Member States must also (Article 8(3)) develop programmes to raise awareness among households of the benefits of energy audits through appropriate counselling or advice services. Articles 8(2) and 8(3) do not impose a specific obligation to carry out energy audits.

H. National support schemes

  1. Article 8 requires Member States to actively promote the availability and the use of energy audits and the implementation of their recommendations. The scope of national promotion activities covers a wide range of areas. Compulsory measures that Member States must take include encouraging training programmes for auditors (Article 8(3)); programmes encouraging SMEs to undergo energy audits and the subsequent implementation of the recommendations from these audits (Article 8(2)); programmes to raise awareness among SME (Article 8(2)) and households (Article 8(3)). The national promotion programmes may be or may encompass support schemes, including State aid. The Article explicitly allows the setting up of support schemes for SMEs to carry out and implement energy audits. Article 8(2) reads: ‘[…] On the basis of transparent and non-discriminatory criteria and without prejudice to Union State aid law, Member States may set up support schemes for SMEs, including if they have concluded voluntary agreements, to cover costs of an energy audit and of the implementation of highly cost-effective recommendations from the energy audits, if the proposed measures are implemented […]‘.
  1. Likewise, Member States are explicitly allowed to set up incentives and support schemes for enterprises, including non-SME enterprises, to implement the recommendations of energy audits and similar measures. Similar measures are energy or environmental management systems implemented either stand alone or under a Voluntary Agreement, and having equivalence with energy audits. Article 8(7) reads: ‘[…] Without prejudice to Union State aid law, Member States may implement incentive and support schemes for the implementation of recommendations from energy audits and similar measures’. Support schemes, when they contain State aid elements, should be without prejudice to the Union State aid law. This includes the Community Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection[19] and the Block Exemption Regulations[20].
  1. Article 8 makes the promotion of audits an important objective and creates a framework to overcome the market barriers and failures[21] that impede the implementation of energy audits or equivalent energy management systems and the implementation their results. It specifically allows support measures to overcome barriers such as lack of awareness and expertise among households and SMEs, the low number of trained professionals and high initials costs of implementation without which audits would not be carried out and implemented on the scale required.

[1] Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2012/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC, OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p.1.

[2] Directive 2006/32/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2006 on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, OJ L 114, 27.4.2006, p.64.

[3] Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast), OJ L 153, 18.6.2010, p.13.

[4] Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2002on the energy performance of buildings, OJ L1, 4.1.2003, p.65.

[5] These articles include provisions on independent experts and independent control system, respectively.

[6] Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008 defines ‘accreditation’ as ‘an attestation by a national accreditation body that a conformity assessment body meets the requirements set by harmonised standards and, where applicable, any additional requirements including those set out in relevant sectoral schemes, to carry out a specific conformity assessment activity’.

[7] EMAS (Community eco-management and audit scheme) is an exception to this case and allows for the accreditation of natural persons.

[8] Directive 95/46 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, OJ L281, 23/11/1995, p. 31.

[9] See Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of 6 May 2003, OJ L 124, 20.5.2003, p.36.

[10] Case 118/85 Commission v Italy [1987] ECR 2599, paragraph 7; Case C-35/96 Commission v Italy [1998] ECR I-3851, CNSD, paragraph 36), C-309/99 Wouters [2002] ECR I-1577, paragraph 46.

[11] Note that Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of May 2003 forms part of the legal ‘acquis’ in other areas of EU law, for instance the definition of SME contained in this Recommendation is included in the Annex to the General Block Exemption Regulation, Commission Regulation 800/2008.

[12] In general, most SMEs are autonomous since they are either completely independent or have one or more minority partnerships (each less than 25%) with other enterprises. If that holding rises to no more than 50%, the relationship is deemed to be between partner enterprises. Above that ceiling the enterprises are linked.

[13] Annex VI(d) requires energy audits to be ‘‘proportionate’‘. The principle of proportionality implies testing that a legislative or administrative measure or means is appropriate and necessary in order to reach or achieve a given goal or objective. The Court of Justice of the European Union applies the proportionality principle when it balances legislative measures against private interests, individual rights and fundamental freedoms.

[14] See in particular the so-called 4th Company Law Directive on annual accounts (Directive 78/660/EEC) and the 7th Company Law Directive on consolidated accounts (Directive 83/349/EEC).

[15]As part of the standardisation work on energy audits in the framework of the mandate M/479 from the European Commission to CEN and CENELEC, this first standard on general requirements for energy audits has been published. Specific standards on energy audits in buildings, processes and transport are being finalised. In addition, a specific additional standard for the qualification of energy auditors is under preparation.

[16] As possible guidance specifically in the buildings context, the LCCA concept has been used in the Delegated Regulation 244/2012 on methodology framework for calculating cost-optimal levels of minimum energy performance requirements for buildings and building elements. The accompanying guidelines on LCCA (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2012:115:0001:0028:EN:PDF) on page 21 provide some more detailed explanations. This is largely based on EN 15459 Economic evaluation procedure for energy systems in buildings.

[17] An energy investment’s Simple Payback Period is the amount of time it will take to recover the initial investment in energy savings, dividing initial installed cost by the annual energy cost savings. While Simple Payback is easy to compute, its weakness is that it fails to factor in the time value of money, inflation, project lifetime or operation and maintenance costs.

[18] Discounted Payback period is a variation of payback period which accounts for time value of money by discounting the cash inflows from a project. Internal Rate of Return is the rate that makes the present value of all cash flows from a particular investment equal to zero. Return on Investment is the ration of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.

[19] OJ C 82, 1.4.2008. The Guidelines are under revision to take into account new developments, including the EED.

[20] Commission Regulation 800/2008, OJ L 214, 9.8.2008. The Regulation is under revision to take into account new developments, including the EED.

[21] The Article replaces Article 12 of the ESD.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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UK Hauliers Pull Together on ESOS

container trucks in fog

ESOS is what UK business needed, to encourage it to become more responsible for the environmental consequences of making money. Government has met with industry leaders to hammer out the finer details. Now there are heartening signs of intra-industry collaboration, for the example the FTA approach we discuss here.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is one of the UK’s biggest trade associations, and exists to represent the interests of companies moving goods by air, rail, sea and road. It is their representative at national, European and local level that advises them on legal compliance. In February 2015, it announced plans to help the industry comply with ESOS too.

The association has been active since the announcement of the UK’s Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme. It has engaged with government and membership through the portal of its Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS). The Environment Agency has singled this out as a benchmark other industries could follow.

FTA general manager for consultancy and tendering Karen Packham recently said, “With our highly experienced and fully qualified team of transport auditors …the FTA is best placed to offer practical advice and is able to provide specialist audits to ensure members are fully compliant … and will gain all the benefits that the scheme has to offer.”

These co-audits with Environment Agency specialists advising, will focus on the full range of operational and supporting activities, and ensure that all haulage companies with over 250 employees do the following:

  • Assess energy use across their full spread of buildings, transport media and industrial activity
  • Examine energy-intensive pressure points and identify savings opportunities that provide financial benefit
  • Nominate an ESOS person to conduct future audits, or oversee and approve them independently
  • Report to the Environment Agency as scheme administrator per statutory intervals

Ecovaro has energy management software that turns metrics into high-level information that busy people understand. Give us a call if you are puzzling how best to present your data. We believe two heads can achieve so much more together.

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ESOS Guide for UK Manufacturers Available

transformation power station diagonal

The Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) is the UK’s largest sectoral structure. Its goal is to promote the interests of manufacturing, engineering and technology-based businesses in order to enhance their competitiveness.

EEF has positioned itself in London and Brussels in order to be in a position to lobby at EU and Westminster level. Part of its role is helping its members adapt to change and capitalise on it. When it discovered that a third of UK manufacturers must comply with ESOS (and 49% had not even heard of it) EEF decided it was time to publish a handbook for its members.

According to EEF’s head of climate and environment policy Gareth Stace, ‘For the many manufacturers that have already taken significant steps to improve energy efficiency, ESOS can be viewed as a ‘stock taking exercise’, ensuring that momentum is maintained and new measures are highlighted and taken when possible’.

He goes on to add that others that have not begun the process should view it as an ‘impetus’ to go head down and find the most cost-effective ways to slash energy costs. ecoVaro adds that they would also have the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions almost as a by-product.

Firms with more than 250 employees, over £50 million revenue or both must comply with ESOS across all UK sectors. In simplest terms, they must have conducted an energy audit by 5th December 2015, and logged their energy saving plan with the Environmental Agency that is Britain’s sustainability watchdog.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DEEC) that oversees it believes that large UK businesses are wasting £2.8 billion a year on electricity they do not need. Clearly it makes sense to focus on larger targets; however EcoVaro believes those halfway to the threshold should voluntarily comply if cutting their energy bills by 25% sounds appealing.

We are able to assist with interpreting their energy audits. These are often a matter of installing sub-meters at distribution points, and reading these for a few representative months to establish a trend. Meters are inexpensive compared to electricity costs, and maintenance teams can install them during maintenance shutdowns.

Ecovaro helps these firms process the data into manageable summaries using cloud-based technology. This is on a pay-when-used basis, and hence considerably cheaper than acquiring the software, or appointing a consultant.

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How Bouygues manages an Empire-Sized Footprint

Chalkboard with Go Green lettering

Bouygues is into telecoms / media, and building and road construction. It also knows it has to watch its energy footprint closely. Owning 47% of energy giant Alstom keeps it constantly in the media spotlight. Shall we find out more about its facility management policies?

The journal Premises and Facilities Management interviewed MD Martin Bouygues on his personal opinions concerning managing energy consumption in facilities. He began by commenting that this was hardly a subject for the C-Suite in years gone by. Low-level clerks simply paid the bills following which the actual amounts were lost in the general expenses account. That of course has changed.

Early pressure came from soaring energy bills, which were pursued by a whole host of electricity-saving gadgets. However, it was only after the carbon crisis caught business by surprise that the link was forged to aerial pollution, and the social responsibilities of big business to help with the solution. The duty to have an energy strategy became an obligation eagerly policed by organisations such as Greenpeace.

Unsurprisingly, Martin Bouygues’ advice begins with keeping energy consumption and its carbon footprint as high up on the agenda as health and safety. “It needs bravery and a lot of hard work to get it there,” he says, “so perseverance is the key”. 

The company has developed proprietary software that enables it to pull data from remote sensors in more than 80 countries every fifteen minutes. A single large building can contribute 50 million data items annually making data big business in the system. Every building has an allocated energy performance contract against which results are reported monthly, as a basis for reviewing progress.

The system is intelligent and able to incorporate low-occupancy periods such as weekends and public holidays. What is measured gets managed. We all know that, but how many of us apply the principle to our energy bills. With assistance from ecoVaro, the possible becomes real.

We offer a similar service to the Bouygues model with one notable exception. You don’t buy the software and you only pay when you use it. Our systems are simply designed for busy financial managers.

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Monitoring Water Banks with Telemetrics

River Lot in France

Longstanding droughts across South Australia are forcing farmers to rethink the moisture in the soil they once regarded as their inalienable right. Trend monitoring is an essential input to applying pesticides and fertilisers in balanced ratios. Soil moisture sensors are transmitting data to central points for onward processing on a cloud, and this is making a positive difference to agricultural output.

Peter Buss, co-founder of Sentek Technology calls ground moisture a water bank and manufactures ground sensors to interrogate it. His hometown of Adelaide is in one of the driest states in Australia. This makes monitoring soil water even more critical, if agriculture is to continue. Sentek has been helping farmers deliver optimum amounts of water since 1992.

The analogy of a water bank is interesting. Agriculturists must ‘bank’ water for less-than-rainy days instead of squeezing the last drop. They need a stream of online data and a safe place somewhere in the cloud to curate it. Sentek is in the lead in places as remote as Peru’s Atacamba desert and the mountains of Mongolia, where it supports sustainable floriculture, forestry, horticulture, pastures, row crops and viticulture through precise delivery of scarce water.

This relies on precision measurement using a variety of drill and drop probes with sensors fixed at 4” / 10cm increments along multiples of 12” / 30cm up to 4 times. These probe soil moisture, soil temperature and soil salinity, and are readily re-positioned to other locations as crops rotate.

Peter Buss is convinced that measurement is a means to the end and only the beginning. ‘Too often, growers start watering when plants don’t really need it, wasting water, energy, and labour. By monitoring that need accurately, that water can be saved until later when the plant really needs it.’ He goes on to add that the crop is the ultimate sensor, and that ‘we should ask the plant what it needs’.

This takes the debate a stage further. Water wise farmers should plant water-wise crops, not try to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and dry years return. The South Australia government thinks the answer also lies in correct farm dam management. It wants farmers to build ones that allow sufficient water to bypass in order to sustain the natural environment too.

There is more to water management than squeezing the last drop. Soil moisture goes beyond measuring for profit. It is about farming sustainably using data from sensors to guide us. ecoVaro is ahead of the curve as we explore imaginative ways to exploit the data these provide for the common good of all.

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 3 to 5 – The ESOS Assessment

Digital electric meters in a row measuring power use. Electricity consumption concept.

ESOS operates in tandem with the ISO 50001 (Energy Management) system that encourages continual improvement in the efficient use of energy. Any UK enterprise qualifying for ESOS that has current ISO 50001 certification on the compliance date by an approved body (and that covers the entire UK corporate group) may present this as evidence of having completed its ESOS assessment. It does however still require board-level certification, following which it must notify the Environment Agency accordingly.

The Alternate ESOS Route

In the absence of an ISO 50001 energy management certificate addressing comprehensive energy use, a qualifying UK enterprise must:

  1. Measure Total Energy Consumption in either kWh or energy spend in pounds sterling, and across the entire operation including buildings, industrial processes and transport.
  2. Identify Areas of Significant Energy Consumption that account for at least 90% of the total. The balance falls into a de minimis group that is officially too trivial to merit consideration.
  1. Consider Available Routes to Compliance. These could include ISO 500001 part-certification, display energy certificates, green deal assessments, ESOS compliant energy audits, self-audits and independent assessments
  1. Do an Internal Review to make sure that you have covered every area of significant consumption. This is an important strategic step to avoid the possibility of failing to comply completely.
  1. Appoint an Approved Lead Assessor who may be internal or external to your enterprise, but must have ESOS approval. This person confirms you have met all ESOS requirements (unless you have no de minimis exceptions).
  1. Obtain Internal Certification by one of more board-level directors. They must certify they are satisfied with the veracity of the reports. They must also confirm that the enterprise is compliant with the scheme.
  1. Notify the Environment Agency of Compliance within the deadline using the online notification system as soon as the enterprise believes is fully compliant.
  1. Assemble your ESOS Evidential Pack and back it up in a safe place. Remember, it is your responsibility to provide proof of the above. Unearthing evidence a year later it not something to look forward to.

The ESOS assessment process is largely self-regulatory, although there are checks and balances in place including lead assessor and board-level certifications. As you work through what may seem to be a nuisance remember the primary objectives. These are saving money and reducing carbon emissions. Contact ecoVaro if we can assist in any way.

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 1 – Who Qualifies

electronic cable plug with green mint and flowers on blue background. Friendly green living. Earth

The base criteria are any UK undertaking that employs more than 250 people and/or has a turnover in excess of €50 million and/or has a balance sheet total greater than €43 million. There is little point in attempting to separate off high polluting areas. If one corporate group qualifies for ESOS, then all the others are obligated to take part too. The sterling equivalents of £38,937,777 and £33,486,489 were set on 31 December 2014 and apply to the first compliance period.

Representatives of Overseas Entities

UK registered branches of foreign entities are treated as if fully UK owned. They also have to sign up if any overseas corporate element meets the threshold no matter where in the world. The deciding factor is common ownership throughout the ESOS system. ecoVaro appreciates this. We have seen European companies dumping pollution in under-regulated countries for far too long.

Generic Undertakings that Could Comply

The common factor is energy consumption and the organisation’s type of work is irrelevant. The Environmental Agency has provided the following generic checklist of undertakings that could qualify:

Limited CompaniesPublic CompaniesTrusts
PartnershipsPrivate Equity CompaniesLimited Liability Partnerships
Unincorporated AssociationsNot-for-Profit BodiesUniversities (Per Funding)

Organisations Close to Thresholds

Organisations that come close to, but do not quite meet the qualification threshold should cast their minds back to previous accounting periods, because ESOS considers current and previous years. The exact wording in the regulations states:

“Where, in any accounting period, an undertaking is a large undertaking (or a small or medium undertaking, as the case may be), it retains that status until it falls within the definition of a small or medium undertaking (or a large undertaking, as the case may be) for two consecutive accounting periods.”

Considering the £50,000 penalty for not completing an assessment or making a false or misleading statement, it makes good sense for close misses to comply.

Joint Ventures and Participative Undertakings

If one element of a UK group qualifies for ESOS, then the others must follow suit with the highest one carrying responsibility. Franchisees are independent undertakings although they may collectively agree to participate. If trusts receive energy from a third party that must do an ESOS, then so must they. Private equity firms and private finance initiatives receive the same treatment as other enterprises. De-aggregations must be in writing following which separated ESOS accountability applies.

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 6 – Role of Lead Assessor

Plant Supervisor in Office

The primary role of the lead assessor is to make sure the enterprise’s assessment meets ESOS requirements. Their contribution is mandatory, with the only exception being where 100% of energy consumption received attention in an ISO 50001 that forms the basis of the ESOS report.

How to Find a Lead Assessor

An enterprise subject to ESOS must negotiate with a lead assessor with the necessary specialisms from one of the panels approved by the UK government. This can be a person within the organisation or an third party. If independent, then only one director of the enterprise need countersign the assessment report. If an employee, then two signatures are necessary. Before reaching a decision, consider

  • Whether the person has auditing experience in the sector
  • Whether they are familiar with the technology and the processes
  • Whether they have experience of auditing against a standard

The choice rests on the enterprise itself. The lead assessor performs the appointed role.

The Lead Assessor’s Role

The Lead Assessor’s main job is reviewing an ESOS assessment prepared by others against the standard, and deciding whether it meets the requirements. They may also contribute towards it. Typically their role includes:

  • Checking the calculation for total energy consumption across the entire enterprise
  • Reviewing the process whereby the 90% areas of significant consumption were identified
  • Confirming that certifications are in place for all alternate routes to compliance chosen
  • Checking that the audit reports meet the minimum criteria laid down by the ESOS system

Note: A lead assessor may partly prepare the assessment themselves, or simply verify that others did it correctly.

In the former instance a lead assessor might

  • Determine energy use profiles
  • Identify savings opportunities
  • Calculate savings measures
  • Present audit findings
  • Determine future methodology
  • Define sampling methods
  • Develop audit timetables
  • Establish site visit programs
  • Assemble ESOS information pack

Core Enterprise Responsibilities

The enterprise cannot absolve itself from responsibility for good governance. Accordingly, it remains liable for

  • Ensuring compliance with ESOS requirements
  • Selecting and appointing the lead assessor
  • Drawing attention to previous audit work
  • Agreeing with what the lead assessor does
  • Requesting directors to sign the assessment

The Environment Agency does not provide assessment templates as it believes this reduces the administrative burden on the enterprises it serves.

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2015 ESOS Guidelines Chapter 7, 8 & 9 – Sign-Off, Compliance & Appeals

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This is the final chapter in our series of short posts summarising the quite complex ESOS guidelines (click on ‘Comply with ESOS’ to see the details). This one addresses the legalities to follow to complete your report – and how to appeal if you are not happy with any of the Environment Agency’s decisions.

  1. Director Sign-Off

This is by no means an easy ride. Confirmation of the work at individual or lead assessor level locks the company into the penalty cycle in the event there are significant irregularities. By signing off the assessment, the board level director(s) # agree that they have

  • Reviewed the enterprise’s ESOS recommendations
  • Believe the enterprise is within the scope of the scheme
  • Believe the enterprise is compliant with the scheme
  • Believe the information provided is correct

Having an internal assessor requires a second board-level signature.

  1. Compliance

You report compliance on the internet. This is free and you can do it at any time within the deadline. You can dip in and out of the process as many times as you wish, but must use the link in the receipting email. While this is something a board member must do, there is no reason why the lead assessor should not complete the basics. The online compliance notification addresses the following topics:

  • The ESOS contact person in the enterprise
  • Any aggregation / dis-aggregation during the period
  • The names and contact details of the lead assessor
  • The proportion of energy consumption per compliance route

The Environment Agency will acknowledge receipt. This does not constitute acceptance. You should keep the ESOS evidence pack in a safe place with at least one backup elsewhere.

  1. Compliance & Enforcement Issues

In the event the Environment Agency decides your enterprise has not met ESOS requirements, it may either (a) issue a compliance notice with instructions, or (b) apply one of the following civil penalties:

  • A fine of up to £5,000 for failure to maintain records
  • A fine of up to £50,000 for failure to undertake an energy audit
  • A fine of up to £50,000 for a false or misleading statement

Any enterprise has the right of appeal against government decisions. In the case of ESOS, this is via:

  • The First-Tier Tribunal if your enterprise is England, Wales or off-shore based
  • The Scottish Minister if your enterprise is based in Scotland
  • The Planning Commission if your enterprise is Northern Ireland-based

The notice you appeal against will supply details of the appeal steps to take.

This blog and its companion chapters concerning the ESOS Guidelines as amended 2015 are with compliments of ecoVaro. We are the people who break ESOS data into manageable chunks of information, so that board-level directors have greater confidence in what they sign.

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Energy Cooperation Mechanisms in the EU

Saving energy and your money

While the original mission of the European Union was to bring countries together to prevent future wars, this has spun out into a variety of other cooperative mechanisms its founders may never have dreamed of. Take energy for example, where the European Energy Directive puts energy cooperation mechanisms in place to help member states achieve the collective goal.

This inter-connectivity is essential because countries have different opportunities. For example, some may easily meet their renewable targets with an abundance of suitable rivers, while others may have a more regular supply of sunshine. To capitalise on these opportunities the EU created an internal energy market to make it easier for countries to work together and achieve their goals in cost-effective ways. The three major mechanisms are

  • Joint Projects
  • Statistical Transfers
  • Joint Support Schemes

Joint Projects

The simplest form is where two member states co-fund a power generation, heating or cooling scheme and share the benefits. This could be anything from a hydro project on their common border to co-developing bio-fuel technology. They do not necessarily share the benefits, but they do share the renewable energy credits that flow from it.

An EU country may also enter into a joint project with a non-EU nation, and claim a portion of the credit, provided the project generates electricity and this physically flows into the union.

Statistical Transfers

A statistical transfer occurs when one member state has an abundance of renewable energy opportunities such that it can readily meet its targets, and has surplus credits it wishes to exchange for cash. It ‘sells’ these through the EU accounting system to a country willing to pay for the assistance.

This aspect of the cooperative mechanism provides an incentive for member states to exceed their targets. It also controls costs, because the receiver has the opportunity to avoid more expensive capital outlays.

Joint Support Schemes

In the case of joint support schemes, two or more member countries combine efforts to encourage renewable energy / heating / cooling systems in their respective territories. This concept is not yet fully explored. It might for example include common feed-in tariffs / premiums or common certificate trading and quota systems.

Conclusion

A common thread runs through these three cooperative mechanisms and there are close interlinks. The question in ecoVaro’s mind is the extent to which the system will evolve from statistical support systems, towards full open engagement.

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