EU Energy Efficiency Directive & UK’s ESOS

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In 2012 the European Union passed its EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) into law. This aims to reduce overall energy consumption by 20% by 2020. It placed an obligation on member states to pass back-to-back local legislation by June 2014.

EED Guidelines

The EED provides specific guidelines it expects member nations to address. The list is long and here are a few excerpts from it:

  • Large companies must use energy audits to identify ways to cut their energy consumption
  • Small and medium companies must be incentivised to voluntarily take similar steps
  • Public sector bodies must purchase energy-efficient buildings, products and services
  • Private energy-consumers must be empowered with information to help manage demand
  • Energy distributors / resellers must cut their own consumption by 1.5% annually
  • Legislators are free to substitute green building technology e.g. through better insulation
  • Every year, European governments must audit 3% of the buildings they own

Definition of Energy Audit

An energy-consumption audit is a question of measuring demand throughout a supply grid, with particular attention to individual modules and high demand equipment. While this could be an exercise repeated every four years to satisfy ESOS, it makes more sense to incorporate it into the monthly energy billing cycle.

Because energy use is not consistent but varies according to production cycle, this can produce reams of printouts designed to frustrate busy managers. ecoVaro offers an inexpensive, cloud-based analytic service that effortlessly accepts client data and returns it in the form of high-level graphic summaries.

Potential ESOS Beneficiaries

As many as 9,000 UK companies are obligated to do energy audits because they employ more than 250 employees, have a balance sheet total over £36.5m or an annual turnover in excess of £42m. Any smaller enterprise that finds energy a significant input cost, should also consider enlisting Ecovaro to help it to:

  • Obtain a better understanding of the energy side of their business
  • Achieve energy savings and share in a estimated £3bn bonanza to 2030
  • Reduce carbon emissions to help meet their CRC commitments

More About ecoVaro

We offer web-based energy management software that helps you measure and manage energy costs. This strips data from your meters and generates personalised reports on a dashboard you control. This information helps you accurately zoom in on worthwhile opportunities. With Ecovaro on your side, ESOS truly becomes an Energy Saving OPPORTUNITY Scheme.

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The Rights of Individuals Under The General Data Protection Regulation

Man holding a CFL energy saving lamp

The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is a European Union law reinforcing the rights of citizens concerning the confidentiality of their information, and confirming that they own it. We thought it would be interesting to examine the GDPR effective 25 May 2018 from an Irish citizen’s perspective. This article is a summary of information on the Data Protection Commissioner’s website, but as viewed through a businessperson’s lens.

How the Office Defines Data Protection

The Office believes that organisations receiving personal details have a duty to keep them private and safe. This applies inter alia to information that individuals supply to government, financial institutions, insurance companies, medical providers, telecoms services, and lenders. It also applies to information provided when they open accounts.

This information may be on paper, on computers, or in video, voice, or photographic records. The true owners of this information, the individuals have a right:

  • To make sure that it is factually correct
  • To the assurance that it is shared responsibly
  • That all with access only use it for stated purposes

Any organisation requesting personal information must state who they are, what the information is for, why they need to have it, and to whom else they may provide it.

Consumer Rights to Access Their Personal Information

Private persons have a right under the GDPR to a copy of all their information held or processed by a business. The regulation refers to such businesses as ‘data controllers’ as opposed to owners, which is interesting. They have to provide both paper and digital data, and ‘related information’.

Data controller fees for this are discretionary within limits. The request may be denied under certain circumstances. The data controller may release information about children to parents and guardians, only if it considers a minor too young to understand its significance. Other third parties such as attorneys must prove they have consent.

Consumer Rights to Port Their Data to Different Services

Since the personal information belongs to the individual, they have a right not only to access it, but also to copy or move it from one digital environment to another. The GDPR requires this be ‘in a safe way, without hindrance to usability’. An application could be a banking client that wants to upload their transaction history to a third party price comparison website.

However, the right to data portability only applies to data originally provided by the consumer. Moreover, an automated method must be available for porting. Data controllers must release the information in an open format, and may not charge for the porting service.

Consumer Rights to Complain About Personal Data Abuse

Individuals have a right under the General Data Protection Regulation to have their information rectified if they discover errors. This right extends to an assurance that third parties know about the changes – and who these third party entities are. Data controllers must respond within one month. If they decline the request, they must inform the complainant of their right to further remedial action.

If a data controller refuses to release personal information to the owner, or to correct errors, then the Data Protection Office has legal power to enforce the consumer’s rights. The complainant must make full disclosure of the history of their complaint, and the steps they have taken themselves to attempt to set things right.

Further Advice on Getting Things Ready for 25 May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation has the full force of law from 25 May 2018 onward, and supersedes all applicable Irish laws, regulations, and policies from that date. We recommend incorporating rights of data owners who are also your customers into your immediate plans. We doubt that forgetting to do so will cut much sway with the Data Commissioner. Remember, you have one month to respond to consumer requests, and only one more month to close things out subject to the matter being complex.

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Symbion Pharmacy Services’ Definition of Responsibility

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A ‘symbion’ is an organism in a symbiotic (i.e. mutually beneficial) relationship with another one. In the case of Australia’s giant Symbion Pharmacy Services, this means supplying and delivering over-counter Chemmart medicines to more than 3,000 hospital and retail pharmacies, while remaining mindful of its carbon footprint.

In 1999, the company with the tagline ‘life matters’ and a desire to be seen as ‘a good corporate citizen’ decided it was time to measure exactly what it was pumping out from 12 facilities and over 200 vehicles. This was a voluntary decision as even now there is still no carbon emissions law in Australia (although no doubt being a ‘first mover’ will put the company in a competitive position when this inevitably comes).

Symbion decided to install emission detection devices and connect these to a central monitoring system with the intention of managing what these measured. There were two stages to this process. First, Symbion determined its reporting requirements based on one of its larger warehouses. Following that, it established a carbon footprint for each of its wholly owned and managed facilities. This put it in a position to:

  • Analyse total emissions down to a level of detail where it understood the contribution of each source
  • Use big data management tools to identify carbon hotspots for priority remedial action
  • Inform the affected workforce, explain the monitoring system and keep them in the loop
  • Separately manage energy abatement programs such as lighting and delivery routes

The program also had productivity spin-offs in that it focused management attention on the processes behind the emissions that were ripe for material and system improvements. It also provided marketing leverage. Symbion’s customers are in the wellness business, ahead of the curve when it comes to how emissions contribute to chronic illness, and aware of the cost of this in terms of human capital.

EcoVaro could help you manage your throughputs by analysing your data on our cloud-based system. This includes trending your metrics, comparing them to your industry seasonal average, and providing you with a business-like view of how well you are doing.

Our service reduces your reliance on (and the cost of) third party audits, and simplifies the reporting process to your controlling authority. It simply makes more sense to contract your software out this way, and only pay for it when you need it.

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When Carrefour Pushed the Right Buttons

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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.

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How Accenture Keeps Rolling Out Sustainability

Environmental Conservation Plant Sustainability

Multinational management-consulting and technology-services company Accenture has a good eye for sniffing out new business, with 305,000 employees advancing its interests in more than 200 cities in 56 countries evidence. Last year, it netted US$30 billion profit that is a tidy sum of money in anybody’s books.

Accenture also practices what it preaches. This is maximum business efficiency within moral standards. It tracks its carbon emissions from its offices around the world. Being a technology services company it is unsurprising that it automated the process. Being management consultants it can drill down to finest detail in its search for continuous improvement.

As a forward-thinking company Accenture is committed to transplanting its business skills into other organizations, in order to drive higher performance and sustain greater profits in the long term. It works with clients across borders and industries to integrate sustainability into their business models, and find effective ways to lighten carbon footprints.

The City of Seattle in Washington is a case in point. Following a proud history of nature and energy conservation, it engaged Accenture in 2013 to help it reduce downtown power consumption by 25%. Other project members were Microsoft supplying software, the local power utility for technical advice, and a non-profit to set up a smart building program. The initiative uses cloud services to process the big data generated by a host of building management services, plus a multitude of sensors, controls and meters.

The project is vital for the City. It wants to continue expanding but needs to avoid another power plant polluting its skyline. At the time of writing, the pilot sites had proved successful and the program was rolling out. Seattle’s next challenge is to acquire 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The smart building solutions Seattle trialled in five downtown buildings, had a further welcome spinoff; by reducing operating times, facility managers can look forward to extended equipment life and fewer maintenance downtimes. The green building philosophy is alive and well in the City of Seattle, driven both by necessity and vision.

It is a no longer as question of if – but when – other urban communities follow suit. EcoVaro believes it is time long due for individual companies to start enjoying lower energy costs plus the prospect of profitably trading carbon credits. The process begins with measuring what you have and identifying cost-effective savings.

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Choosing Routes for ESOS Compliance

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Along the introduction of Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme in UK is the quick emergence of various companies that offer ESOS compliant services. While some energy audit providers can help, qualified businesses should understand what their compliance options are, how these routes work and learn both the pros and cons in order to carefully take their pick.

Independent ISO 50001 Certification

ISO 50001 comprises the integration and application of processes geared to motivate energy saving and overall improvement. Simply stated, it is a framework that drives the organisation’s governance to realise energy saving strategies by allocating resources and participating in energy management. The good thing about ISO 50001 is that it includes an energy review that documents ideas and opportunities to save more energy.

However, ISO 50001 does not obligate organisations to cover 90% of their overall energy consumption. In case of partial coverage, the company needs to undergo additional energy assessments to evaluate all the significant energy consumption areas.

In order for an ISO 50001 certification to be valid, it must be certified by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), by an accreditation body which is a member of the International Accreditation Forum, or by a body accredited by another EU member state’s national accreditation body.

Display Energy Certificates and Green Deal Assessments

These two kinds of energy assessment reports can also contribute to ESOS compliance. Both of them are carried out by qualified lead assessors and valid for 10 years. However, they are only based on the building structures and services. They do not cover the overall significant areas in energy consumption. Since these reports are valid for 10 years, they would be used for two ESOS reporting periods. Thus, they would not be as current as the ISO 50001 certification. Aside from that, the assessments are purely based on energy efficiency and anyone can qualify to use the software that produce the certifications after taking the accreditation course.

Energy Audits

A successful energy audit leads to better understanding of the company’s energy consumption, identify alternatives, determine cost-effective energy saving opportunities and stimulate energy efficiency. Energy audits are beneficial to the organisation. What makes it complex is that the organisation applying it, needs to clearly define the scope and type of energy audit to use in order to comply with ESOS. Furthermore, the organisation also has to identify the teams that would be competent enough to do the audit work for the building, transport and industrial area, respectively.

Each route is not formed equal. Thus, organisations have the option to either choose one or combine the routes and meet their company needs. The options mentioned are different approaches to ESOS and the core value is to grab the opportunity towards acquiring more savings through efficient energy system.

How Ecovaro Can Help

Ecovaro is passionate about making a difference. We are knowledgeable when it comes to ESOS legislation and regulation, ISO 50001 energy management system, DECs and Green Deal Assessments. More than that, we recognise the great impact of efficient management system to your organisation. And with this, we provide an enthusiastic team of software engineers and expert project managers to offer you our professional help at reasonable price. Ecovaro comes to you fully equipped with services tailored to your organisation’s energy management needs.

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Benefits of Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

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More than just building energy, improving skills and undertaking audits, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme works beyond. ESOS adheres to policy coherence, provides information to raise awareness, facilitates energy efficiency market and encourages adoption of appropriate energy efficiency measures.

Generally, ESOS is great for energy professionals and businesses. And in the current situation of UK’s energy industry, this new scheme is a substantial help. The key is to know the benefits that ESOS provides, understand how it can affect you, learn how to maximize its potential and make a big difference. Here’s to explore the highlights of ESOS.

Who benefits from ESOS?

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme covers non-SME enterprises which includes UK businesses having more than 250 employees; even those with employees fewer than 250 but have annual turnover of more than £50m and balance sheet exceeding £43m; or those professionals that belong to a large enterprise. This is in accordance with what Article 8 of the EU Derivative provides.

What are the benefits of ESOS?

ESOS provides opportunities to enhance an organization’s energy efficiency strategy, of which the benefits include:

Economic Growth and Competitiveness

The implementation of energy efficient measures increases local employment in the labour markets. Consequently, this taps the labour potential and drives economic growth.  In a lower carbon economy, businesses need to develop green projects to maintain economic competitiveness as well. ESOS is a strategic approach initiated by the UK government to push technological innovation and energy investments.

Cost Savings and Emission Reductions

ESOS is flexible in such a way that it combines energy policies and innovations tailored to every organisation’s need. The energy efficiency measures taken, resulting from the scheme, quickly cuts down both carbon emissions and energy bills in the cheapest possible ways.

Managing Energy Demand

ESOS provides energy security to the UK by reducing the energy consumption of enterprises. With this, the economy would be more efficient and less exposed to international energy market volatility. Also, this will lead to more savings from less future investment in energy infrastructure.

Getting your Management Performance Noticed

If you are an energy professional, you will benefit from ESOS by exploiting it; to boost your charisma towards the company directors. You can show them how the scheme works and how it can save your company substantial costs. Managing energy with ESOS can help an organisation grow. Nevertheless, you are the key person designated to get the project done and achieve success.

How can ESOS make a difference?

More than anything else, ESOS can make a huge change. True to its name, it provides large enterprises the opportunity to manage energy wisely, reduce overhead costs and promote responsible corporate energy consumption.

The International Energy Agency said that investing in energy efficiency leads to growth, additional jobs, competent budgets on public spending and enhanced industry productivity. If you are an energy and environment professional or a non-SME business entity, you hold the impulse to act. Aside from all those excellent business benefits that you get to enjoy, you will be able to contribute a portion towards achieving UK’s national carbon target of 80% in CO2 by 2050.

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Be pound poor and become Penny rich

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Energy management is and should be perceived as a long-term investment by organisations. Having said this, the need for all organisations to implement energy management strategies now cannot be overstated as these strategies will save their costs of running the business in future.

Many organisations may shy off from implementing energy efficiency measures in place opting to save the associated costs or to use the cash for other projects that may be perceived as high priority in the short run. This is most likely to occur when cost cutting is a priority. Long-term planning is however critical for energy efficiency programs. Taking steps to improve building management and energy efficiency will and does pay dividends in the near-term and may be a competitive tool in the long-term.

Be energy smart
All energy management projects begin with being energy smart which calls for the understanding of energy usage. Use of Smart Meters that give real time readings of energy usage, can dramatically help businesses understand the benefit which energy management brings to the organisation.

Smart meters also cut the amount of time businesses spend on administration by allowing them to pay accurate bills, based on accurate readings. Some suppliers also support businesses to identify areas of energy wastage/inefficiency and help setting targets for energy reduction that guide behavioural change with regard to energy in the organisation.

Use of technologies that record the energy usage at the water or electricity meters putting data into a system where the users can graph it has made it easy to compare energy consumption in various departments, sites or buildings. Appropriate measures can then be implemented to improve the efficiency.

Partnerships between businesses and energy suppliers
Since the long-term benefits of reduced energy consumption is beneficial to both suppliers and consumers; the responsibility of managing energy consumption is being taken by both. Businesses should work with the suppliers on cost reduction strategies through identifying areas where energy is being wasted and advising businesses on how to save energy. Of key importance when choosing an energy supplier therefore is their depth of understanding of a business’ energy management needs.

Capitalise on government incentives
Businesses should always explore varied financing mechanisms for their energy efficiency programs e.g. government schemes generating electricity and selling it to the grid.

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Measure it to manage it with smart meters

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Measure it to manage it. This saying applies perfectly to energy management. Effectively managing energy use is virtually impossible with unreliable measurement devices in place or worse still, no measurements at all. Smart meters are a smart way to measure energy and water usage giving you more control over the amount of energy or water usage.

Smart energy meters:
Smart meters are indeed a smart way to get insight into your energy use which brings more security and a better environment. They can also enable you to get Smart Energy Reports that are a personalised guide to energy efficiency.

Other benefits of smart meters:

• You are able to generate simple graphs and charts showing you where you use your energy and money

• Consumption of gas and electricity is broken down. This implies that one can be able to view their spending at a glance

• Smart meters track consumption on a monthly basis enabling you to compare your own consumption against other similar households

• By tracking energy consumption and spending over time, one can be able to view the history and assess the impact of their energy efficiency measures over a particular period

Smart water meters:
Smart meters are not only used for measuring energy use, they are also used to measure water usage efficiency. Water efficiency is essential for management of sustainable water resources.

Water resources have been diminishing over time posing a challenge for water users and water suppliers to seriously look for ways to manage water efficiency. The need for accurate, adequate and reliable measurement and monitoring practices of water consumption in organisations can therefore not be overlooked.

Timely collection and analysis of water use data, and relaying this data in a timely manner to the water user, can result in significant changes in water use behaviour. Other benefits include instant detection of areas where water wastage is occurring e.g. leakages hence action is taken to save water. Similar to energy data, water data collected by smart metering systems is also vital in designing water efficiency and recycling systems as well as the improvement of demand management policies and programs.

The use of smart meters to monitor water consumption enables users to analyse, and interpret the data collected. This feedback enables users to change their behaviours.

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Uncover hidden opportunities with energy data analytics

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What springs to mind when you hear the words energy data analytics? To me, I feel like energy data analytics is not my thing. Energy data analytics, however, is of great importance to any organisation or business that wants to run more efficiently, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Energy efficiency is one of the best ways to accomplish these goals.

Energy efficiency is not about investment in expensive equipment and internal reorganization. Enormous energy saving opportunities is hidden in already existing energy data. Given that nowadays, energy data can be recorded from almost any device, a lot of data is captured regularly and therefore a lot of data is readily available.

Organisations can use this data to convert their buildings’ operations from being a cost centre to a revenue centre through reduction of energy-related spending which has a significant impact on the profitability of many businesses. All this is possible through analysis and interpretation of data to predict future events with greater accuracy. Energy data analytics therefore is about using very detailed data for further analysis, and is as a consequence, a crucial aspect of any data-driven energy management plan.

The application of Data and IT could drive significant cost savings in company-owned buildings and vehicle fleets. Virtual energy audits can be performed by combining energy meter data with other basic data about a building e.g. location, to analyse and identify potential energy savings opportunities. Investment in energy dashboards can further enable companies to have an ongoing look at where energy is being consumed in their buildings, and thus predict ways to reduce usage, not to mention that energy data analytics unlock savings opportunities and help companies to understand their everyday practices and operating requirements in a much more comprehensive manner.

Using energy data analytics can enable an organisation to: determine discrepancies between baseline and actual energy data; benchmark and compare previous performance with actual energy usage. Energy data analytics also help businesses and organisations determine whether or not their Building Management System (BMS) is operating efficiently and hitting the targeted energy usage goals. They can then use this data to investigate areas for improvement or energy efficient upgrades. When energy data analytics are closely monitored, companies tend to operate more efficiently and with better control over relevant BMS data.

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