Driving your energy efficiency with ESOS


The Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) mandates that large organisations undertake an assessment of their energy use every four years and identify opportunities to improve their energy efficiency. As ESOS includes transport, Cenex reminds fleet managers what is expected before the December deadline

The environmental impact of vehicles is more and more at the fore of the emissions furore, placing emphasis on the switch to lower emission transport and infrastructure.

But making the switch needs to be feasible for businesses to justify the associated costs and time taken to integrate with drivers and employees.

We all know the problem: air pollution presents a major threat to public health. The total mortality burden from poor air quality in London alone is equivalent to 9,416 deaths per year.

The economic cost of these health impacts is estimated to be up to £3.7 billion.

The UK is committed to bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050; everyone needs to play their part and take necessary steps for this to be achievable.

In 2014 the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) was written into UK law and launched as part of the EU mandated energy efficiency scheme.

ESOS mandates that large organisations in the UK undertake a comprehensive assessment of their energy use every four years and identify opportunities to improve their energy efficiency.

An independent ESOS audit gives companies an external assessment of their energy consumption and identifies measures that can be implemented to reduce the environmental impact and bring cost-savings.

Recommendations will be tailored - there’s no silver bullet as every organisation’s fleet is comprised differently - and businesses could see the benefits within 12 months.

Identifying opportunities

Cenex are one of the UK’s leading providers of transport specific ESOS audits, reports and lead assessor services.

Rob Anderson, senior fleet specialist at Cenex, explains: “ESOS is focused around helping companies identify opportunities to save energy.

“For businesses, energy is fuel and fuel costs money, so savings are good for the balance sheets as well as the environment.
“Completing the audit is important as it gives companies the chance to get an independent point of view and verification on energy use within the business; it measures, reports and analyses buildings, industrial processes and transport.

“Lowering your energy use across your fleet means you can take a step towards saving fuel and reducing emissions and therefore your environmental impact.”

The EU-wide legislation is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK with more than 250 employees or a turnover above €50m.

Failure to meet the 5th December 2019 deadline could result in a penalty of up to £50,000, but that shouldn’t be the main motivator for compliance.

“While organisations are required to complete an ESOS audit, there is nothing to stipulate the measures suggested in the report are enforced.

“Organisations have to put them in place off their own back otherwise the report just sits there and the cost of the audit to identify changes goes to waste.

“Of the 35 audits Cenex completed for Phase 1 in 2015, the majority were done just to avoid the fine rather than to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

“That’s millions of pounds worth of identified fuel and emissions savings going to waste.”

A clear analysis of fuel use

ESOS audits provide businesses with a clear analysis of annual transport fuel and energy use, informing potential steps that can reduce fuel consumption and, in turn, assist with the development of a transport specific energy and fuel reduction strategy.

The audits can be applied to a wide variety of vehicle types, including cars, vans, rigid trucks and tractor units as well as more exotic equipment such as off-highway machinery, forklift trucks and grounds maintenance equipment.

In order to complete an audit, organisations will need to have collected energy data from the last year.
This will include fuel consumption and journey data on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.

A site visit by an independent ESOS lead assessor may check and verify operational aspects such as fleet management, organisation policies, allocation and practices in order to better target energy saving measures.

The information collected is then analysed and assessed with improvement measures identified and evaluated, and a report is produced for submission to the Environment Agency before the deadline.

“In 2015 Cenex identified potential fuel cost savings of between £10,000 – £1,000,000 for organisations through a range of energy efficient strategies that could be applied, such as retrofit hybrid systems, improved telematics systems and reduced idling programmes,” Rob continues.

“You can gain a lot from acting early and getting the audit complete before the deadline.

“A lot of organisations are doing a lot of good things, but small changes can have big impacts.

“Undertaking driver training across your company can bring initial fuel savings of 10-15% within 12 months, and that can be sustained at 5% long term.

“On a larger scale, switching to more fuel-efficient vehicles such as electric cars or gas trucks could bring savings over the vehicle lifetime, negating the upfront costs.

“But what works for one organisation won’t work for everyone - it’s important to have your fleet assessed and more important to put the findings in place.”

The submission date for Phase 2, which is 5th December 2019, is fast approaching. Taking steps now will ensure compliance and maximise the opportunity for your organisation, and the environment, to benefit.