Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive ? Orientation

Following in-depth discussion of the UK?s ESOS response, we decided to backtrack to the source, especially since every EU member is facing similar challenges. The core purpose of the directive is to place a pair of obligations on member states. These are

  1. To promote the availability of energy audits among final customers in all sectors, and;
  2. To ensure that enterprises that are not SMEs carry out energy audits at least every four years.

Given the ability for business to look twice at every piece of legislation it considers unproductive, the Brussels legislators took care to define what constitutes an enterprise larger than an SME.

Definition of a Large Undertaking

A large undertaking meets one or both of the following conditions:

  1. It employs 250 or more people
  2. Its annual turnover is more than ?50 million and its balance sheet total exceeds ?43 million

Rules for Energy Audits

If accredited / qualified in-house specialists are unavailable then independent experts should supervise audits. The talent shortage seems common to many EU businesses. In hindsight, the Union could have ramped up slower, especially since the first compliance date of 5 December 2015 does not leave much swing room.

ecoVaro doubts there was a viable alternative, given the urgent imperative to beat back the scourge of carbon that is threatening the viability of our planet. The legislators must have been of a similar mind when laying down the guidelines. Witness for example the requirement that penalties be ?effective, proportionate and dissuasive?.

In order to be compliant, an energy audit must

  1. Be based on twelve months of verifiable data that is
    • over a continuous period beginning no more than 24 months before the beginning of the energy audit, and;
    • identifies energy saving opportunities including paths to their achievement
  2. Analyse the participant’s energy consumption and energy efficiency
  3. Have not been used as the basis for an energy audit in a previous compliance period

Measurement of current status and progress tracing are at the core of energy saving and good governance generally. EcoVaro has a powerhouse of software tools available on the cloud to help project teams save time and money.

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When Carrefour Pushed the Right Buttons

Retail giant Carrefour based in Boulogne Billancourt, France is big business in anybody?s numbers. Europe?s #1 retailer opened its first store in 1958 near a crossroads (Carrefour means ?crossroad? in French) and has largely not looked back since then. The slogan for the hypermarket chain with more than 1,500 outlets and close to a half million employees is ?choice and quality for everyone?. Our story begins when Carrefour decided these things belong at home too.

The company implemented a worldwide universal responsibility program firmly anchored on a tripod of goals for environmental, economic and social progress. Its first step was to appoint a five-person project team tasked with liaising with program delegates in all thirty countries in which it operates, and who had responsibility for driving these goals.

The team?s job was to make sure that policies, standards, procedures and key performance areas were common visions throughout Carrefour. By contrast, the local managers? were tasked with aligning these specifics to local conditions in terms of environmental, political and social issues. The project team checked the fit quarterly via video conferences.

The Triple Bottom Line Goals were woven through with Carrefour?s Seven Core Values, namely Freedom, Responsibility, Sharing, Respect, Integrity, Solidarity and Progress. Constant contact was maintained with staff and other stakeholders through ?awareness training? seminars and other dialogues. As the program took hold and flourished, it became evident that the retail giant needed help with managing the constant stream of metrics flowing in.

After reviewing options, Carrefour appointed a software provider to monitor progress against its primary focuses on energy, water, waste, refrigeration, paper, disposable checkout bags, hygiene & quality, management gender parity, disabled people and logistics. This enabled it to track progress online against past performance, and produce meaningful reports.

The Environmental Manager in the Corporate Sustainability Department waxed lyrical when he said, ?We believe that our sustainability strategy and software solution have powerfully improved collaboration, innovation, and overall performance?. He went on to describe how it was helping drive cost down and profitability up, while simultaneously growing brand.

Non-conformance costs can be high and run counter to the imperative to make a profit – while simultaneously ensuring a better world for our children?s children. In Carrefour?s case, having a consultant to measure progress was the key that unblocked the administrative bottleneck. Irish company Ecovaro does this for companies around the world. Click here. Discover what we will do for you.

Transformation to a process based organisation

Today’s global marketplace rewards nimble organisations that learn and reinvent themselves faster than their competition. Employees at all levels of these organisations see themselves as members of teams responsible for specific business processes, with performance measures tied to the success of the enterprise. As team members, they are “owners” of the process (or processes) to which they are assigned. They are responsible for both the day to day functioning of their process(s), and also for continuously seeking sustainable process improvements.

Transforming a traditionally designed “top down control” enterprise to a process-based organisation built around empowered teams actively engaged in business process re-engineering (BPR) has proven more difficult than many corporate leaders have expected. Poorly planned transformation efforts have resulted in both serious impacts to the bottom line, and even more serious damage to the organisation’s fabric of trust and confidence in leadership.

Tomislav Hernaus, in a publication titled “Generic Process Transformation Model: Transition to Process-based Organisation” has presented an overview of existing approaches to organisational transformation. From the sources reviewed, Heraus has synthesised a set of steps that collectively represent a framework for planning a successful organisational change effort. Key elements identified by Hernaus include:

Strategic Analysis:

The essential first step in any transformation effort must be development of a clear and practical vision of a future organisation that will be able to profitably compete under anticipated market conditions. That vision must be expected to flex and adjust as understanding of future market conditions change, but it must always be stated in terms that all organisational members can understand.

Identifying Core Business Processes:

With the strategic vision for the organisation in mind, the next step is to define the core business processes necessary for the future organisation to function. These processes may exist across the legacy organisation’s organisational structures.

Designing around Core Processes:

The next step is development of a schematic representation of the “end state” company, organised around the Core Business Processes defined in the previous step.

Transitional Organisational Forms/ Developing Support Systems:

In his transformation model, Hernaus recognises that information management systems designed for the legacy organisation may not be able to meet the needs of the process management teams in the new organisation. Interim management structures (that can function with currently available IT system outputs) may be required to allow IT professionals time to redesign the organisation’s information management system to be flexible enough to meet changing team needs.

Creating Awareness, Understanding, and Acceptance of the Process-based Organisation:

Starting immediately after the completion of the Strategic Analysis process described above, management must devote sufficient resources to assure that all organisation members, especially key managers, have a full understanding of how a process-based organisation functions. In addition, data based process management skills need to be provided to future process team members. It is not enough to schedule communication and training activities, and check them off the list as they are completed. It is critical that management set behavioural criteria for communication and training efforts that allow objective evaluation of the results of these efforts. Management must commit to continuing essential communication and training efforts until success criteria are achieved. During this effort, it may be determined that some members of the organisation are unlikely to ever accept the new roles they will be required to assume in a process-based organization. Replacement of these individuals should be seen as both an organisational necessity and a kindness to the employees affected.

Implementation of Process Teams:

After the completion of required training AND the completion of required IT system changes, process teams can be formally rolled out in a planned sequence. Providing new teams with part time support by qualified facilitators during the firsts weeks after start-up can pay valuable long term dividends.

Team Skill Development and Continuous Process Improvement:

Providing resources for on-going skill development and for providing timely and meaningful recognition of process team successes are two keys for success in a process-based organisation. Qualified individuals with responsibility for providing training and recognition must be clearly identified and provided with sufficient budgetary resources.

The Hernaus model for transformation to a process based organisation is both well thought out and clear. His paper provides an ample resource of references for further study.

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ESOS ? Why we must have it

The 9,000 big UK businesses directly affected by the new Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme could save UK?250 million between them, or an average UK?27,000 each, if they reduced electricity consumption by just 1%. The total amount is equal to the output of five power stations, at a time when Britain?s grid is under strain.
On 26 November 2014, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey met with over 100 opinion makers from businesses, charities and universities at the Institute of Directors. The gist of what he presented was:

  • ?Britain?s big firms are spending around ?2.8 billion extra each year on inefficient energy technologies ? the equivalent output of nearly five power stations;
  • Now is the time to seize the opportunity with ESOS ? and organisations up and down the country are already gearing up to make changes to save energy, save money and save the environment.
  • If business did what business is supposed to do [that is innovate to make money] and act and invest, it will save ? and that’s the bottom line.?

The environmental benefits are as important although EcoVaro agrees with Ed Davey for taking a pecuniary approach. Businesses above the threshold of 250 staff and a balance sheet of UK?34 million would have not achieved their status unless they spent their money wisely.
The discussion panel included Rhian Kelly (Director of Business Environment at CBI), and Paul Ekins (Director UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources & Deputy Director of the UK Energy Research Centre). Hugh Jones, Managing Director, Advisory at the Carbon Trust responded to Ed Davey?s remarks by commenting:

  • ?At the Carbon Trust we have already engaged with hundreds of businesses on ESOS, helping to explain how they can achieve compliance while also making significant energy savings and cutting carbon.
  • Businesses often aren’t aware of opportunities in energy efficiency, or they don’t realise how attractive the paybacks can be. By requiring companies to understand exactly how they can make cost-effective investment in energy efficiency, they are far more likely to take action.
  • From the interest we have seen so far we expect ESOS to benefit British business by helping companies to reduce overheads and increase competitiveness.

The UK?s Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme ESOS is a gold mine of opportunities for big business, the environment and the population that breathes the air. Measurement of critical energy throughputs is the beginning of the process. EcoVaro is standing by to help you convert your data to meaningful information.

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