The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requires all large companies to undertake organisation-wide audits of their energy use and to identify costed energy efficiency opportunities. This matters because commercial buildings generate around one fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions and offer some of the most cost-effective reduction opportunities. If the potential for this can be realised, it will improve the UK’s competitiveness and stimulate some economic growth.
Some have argued that ESOS is too much of a light touch and that it won’t deliver results. I believe, however, that costed energy reduction plans required under ESOS should drive change. The scheme will raise awareness of the many low cost opportunities which exist to reduce energy and save costs, and increase take up of this in buildings.
We have been measuring energy use across our portfolio and developing costed reduction plans for many years, so the ESOS template is not new for us. In fact, our automatic meter reading system and real time energy monitoring process help us identify savings on a daily basis, whereas ESOS only requires audits every four years! That said, we hope that our first ESOS audit, currently being undertaken, will identify more we could do. We think that the ESOS emphasis on the portfolio, rather than each building, will identify further opportunities for us.
The most challenging element of our ESOS implementation plan has been defining our ESOS footprint. The ESOS guidelines are sufficiently flexible to allow you to define your footprint as you think fit. I’m interested to see how others have defined their footprint. We have focused our footprint on landlord energy (common parts and central shared services) in our buildings, as this is where we think we have greatest influence. As a result of this, we have made our occupiers aware that they have their own ESOS responsibilities for their own direct energy use in our buildings. We are offering them support to calculate their energy use and identify ways they can reduce this further.
Will ESOS drive operational energy reductions? I think it will. Let’s see if I’m right!
This text was initially published on British Land's website here.
Head of Sustainability, British Land