As ESOS Phase 2 begins, Energys Group looks at the scheme’s next iteration, and its success to date

From Jan 1 2018, firms can get to work on auditing their energy usage for ESOS Phase 2. But what has the legacy of Phase 1 been? Has anything changed? And how many companies realise they should actually make the recommendations ESOS provides on energy efficiency?

ESOS Phase 1: the legacy

ESOS is the Government’s corporate energy efficiency scheme. It forces private sector firms above a certain size to audit their energy usage on a four-yearly basis, and provide recommendations on how they could improve energy efficiency.

Overall, Phase 1 of the scheme was not without its challenges. For a start, The Carbon Trust advises that around 2,800 organisations had to tell the Environment Agency, the scheme’s regulator, that they would be late in reporting compliance, and a number were ultimately fined.

Further, of the energy audits conducted for Phase 1, just 16% of participants were fully compliant. Three-quarters of audited participants needed to undertake remedial actions in order to become compliant.

That may not be a fault of ESOS though, in fact, it may simply prove the scheme is doing good, as some companies had to change their energy reporting in order to make the grade.

Firms which tried to duck under the radar were relatively limited; 500 organisations qualified for ESOS in the first phase but did not engage with the scheme. This has resulted in over 300 enforcement notifications sent out to date.

Perhaps most interesting is whether firms are actually making the energy efficiency improvements recommended in reports.

The sense is that many firms took a tick-box approach; to date, those who’ve fully embraced the energy recommendations, installing new efficiency equipment and hence reaping the rewards, have been rather limited.

Which brings us onto the next point, has anything changed for Phase 2?

ESOS Phase 2: has anything been altered?

Save the new compliance dates, and a few minutiae in the ESOS texts, absolutely nothing has changed in the ESOS rules for Phase 2.

For many, this is a disappointment; there were calls for more steps to make acting upon the energy efficiency opportunities derived from ESOS audits mandatory.

But for now, firms must only report on their energy usage; not improve upon it. Stating the obvious, firms must document their energy usage once again in Phase 2; compliance for Phase 1 won’t cut the mustard.

However, the Government is still analysing and consulting on changes to a new overall Carbon Reporting Framework.

There is every possibility that ESOS will be extended into another, future phase, replacing all other corporate reporting elements, and potentially making firms act upon the energy efficiency opportunities.

So what should firms do about ESOS Phase 2?

First and foremost, comply. The requirements are 12 months of energy data, estate wide, across electricity, fuels, transport, buildings, plant and process.

The 12 months of data must include the compliance date of 31 December 2018, so firms can start now.

There are good reasons to do so. Last time round there was a real bottleneck; external auditors were overloaded and hiked prices at the last minute pre-deadline.

Further, if firms want to report on ESOS using internal staff, they need time to do the work. And firms who want to report through ISO 50001, and aren’t yet certified to that standard, need to realise it takes time to get there.

Most importantly, the sooner UK PLC acts on ESOS Phase 2, the more rapidly we can hasten our transition to lower carbon and more profitable business.

The Carbon Trust estimates that from Phase 1 energy-saving opportunity assessments, making cost-effective improvements could usually cut energy costs in buildings, transport fleets and industrial processes by about 20%, on a typical spend of £1.8 million.

This translates into average annual savings of £360,000, with far more being possible in certain industry sectors.

That’s big money; and here at Energys Group we’re on hand to help with any energy-efficiency requirements you would like to make when your reporting is done.

If you’re in any doubt, drop us a line to check whether your firm is affected by ESOS.

If you meet the following criteria, the chances are you must comply, and we can assist.

a) You employ at least 250 people.
b) You have an annual turnover in excess of €50 million and a balance sheet in excess of €43 million.
c) Remember, most public sector bodies are excluded, but other organisations that receive some public funding, such as universities, may qualify.

We hope you enjoyed this article? See more of energy policy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies.

Energys Group works with WSCC Purple Bus team to encourage young people’s passion for engineering, design and racing

The Billingshurst-based energy solutions group has been working with West Sussex County Council’s Youth Service to support two Purple Bus teams from Storrington and Petworth Youth Groups, which have been taking part in the Greenpower Trust F24 international competition.

The teams worked hard throughout the season to design, build and develop two electric racing cars to race against teams from across the region, and ultimately qualify for the international competition at Rockingham Raceway.

Following practice sessions and their first competitive race at Goodwood, the teams had time to refine and develop improvements to the car, and to improve how well they worked together as a team, before entering their second race at Dunsfold Park. There was then a painful wait for results from elsewhere to find out whether they had qualified for the International Finals, over the weekend of 6-8 October.

However, they weren’t content to sit around, hoping for good news. During the wait, the teams researched engine performance improvements; visiting Shoreham’s Ricardo Engineering to get every bit of guidance and information they could to improve their cars’ performance. Then, two weeks before the final, the teams found out that both cars had qualified.

Dan Sneller, Project Manager for the Purple Bus, says, “Having worked with these young people since March 2017 it has been great to see them develop as a group and individually. We set them the task of researching what Greenpower Trust is and what other teams do. We worked with them to explore group dynamics and group roles, looking at what it means to be a part of a successful team.

“One of the team’s tasks was to plan for the International Final, in preparation for qualifying. They had a set budget which they had to allocate for accommodation and food for the weekend. It became very clear to them that the budget provided them was not enough and they had to look elsewhere to gain extra sponsorship. This was something I had planned to develop their problem-solving skills and encourage them to approach local business for support. The Energys Group was amazing at supporting the young people throughout this, helping them to a very successful international final, in which they placed 53rd in the world – which was an outstanding achievement and one they should be very proud of.”

Energys Group’s Managing Director Kevin Cox commented, “We have been thrilled to support the fantastic work done by the Purple Bus kit car teams throughout their design, build and racing in the Greenpower Trust’s annual challenge. We’re so proud of them for qualifying for the international final and for their outstanding result. Young engineers are the future for innovation in so many fields, including ours in energy solutions and we look forward to seeing these pupils develop their careers in science and engineering.”

Energys Group are experts in delivering energy efficient technologies. We’d be delighted to talk about any of the issues and themes covered in this article. Give us a call for a chat.

Energy Institute Report Highlights: Energy efficiency’s challenges and opportunities

000The Energy Institute (TEI) has produced its 2017 Barometer; analysing the pressure on UK energy efficiency. What’s TEI’s professional verdict on the next 12 months for low carbon?

What are 2017’s key challenges?

Energy policy, the investment environment and the need for energy system change are the main challenges for the energy industry in 2017, as identified by TEI members.

Uncertainties

Brexit and wider geopolitics could negatively impact efforts to develop a clear UK energy strategy, to update infrastructure, and to meet demand and climate targets at least cost to end users.

Brexit itself

Brexit is a vast concern to the sector. Negotiators must pay heed to energy policy, regulation and trade agreements, energy costs, and security of supply.

Free movement of labour is key, and skilled engineers and workers could be at a premium. Training and apprenticeships could help prevent a shortfall.

Great Repeal regulations should be informed by existing EU legislation, and continued cooperation with the EU is considered desirable.

UK energy policy

Uncertain energy policy is contributing to a risky investment climate, with immature low carbon technologies most affected. Tech readiness and markets are being harmed. Better business and academia links are needed.

Moderate price rises across primary and retail energy markets are coming in 2017, with exchange rates expected to have a greater influence than in previous years.

Transition to low carbon

The UK will likely fall short of its carbon targets through to 2050. Additional support for energy efficiency and renewables could help close the perceived carbon policy gap. That said, wider environmental concerns, falling technology costs, and rising energy costs are making efficiency more attractive.

Future energy will be more flexible and will involve system-level strategies and new business models. Grid updates, energy storage and new tech will change behaviours and shift consumer demand.

Financial incentives, mandatory standards and community engagement are seen as the best measures for reducing emissions.

Overall, decentralisation and new models will drive innovation, with new tech coming to suit the new direction.

And finally

TEI professionals expect that decarbonisation of the energy system will be the greatest change they witness over their careers. But it won’t come without its challenges, and its winners and losers.

Call us today for an informal chat about the ways Energys Group can help your business improve its low carbon. 

New MEES guidance promises vast improvements for energy efficiency in commercial buildings

In recent weeks, industry magazine The Energyst has reported:

‘The government has published guidance for landlords on the new regulations that could prevent them from renting buildings to tenants if they fail to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.’

It’s a crucial development. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) come into force in April 2018. But preparatory action now is needed, both to understand MEES implications and get ready for potential remedial works.

The minimum level of energy efficiency provisions will mean that, subject to certain requirements and exemptions:

a) from 1 April 2018, landlords of non-domestic private rented properties (including public sector landlords) may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if their property has an EPC rating of band F or G (shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property).

b) from 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue letting a non-domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating of band F or G.

This means some 1 in 5 UK commercial buildings would fail the MEES test, and the maximum fine for failure to comply with MEES stands at £160,000 per property.

Therefore, it’s critical that landlords across the UK take notice, right now, of the implications. When implemented well, MEES stand to make UK property substantially more sustainable, and improve the quality of rented space for tenants.

Reputational benefit, longer term tenants and a more profitable portfolio are among the wins for landlords. But to reap such rewards, the sector as a whole must react promptly to what MEES will mean.

What does the guidance say?

The guidance sets out, via a number of flowcharts, the decision process whereby landlords can judge whether a property can legally be let under MEES regs. It also details the MEES laws in depth.

This alone is useful. UK environmental legislation is complex. Pathways to help landlords examine their responsibilities, and set about meeting them are most welcome.

“We recommend that every UK commercial landlord consults the MEES guidance immediately,” explains Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys Group.

“It’s vital to do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, you need to comply. You need to plan out any costs, and the timeline of getting energy efficiency in your buildings up to standard.

“All of these elements will affect your business, your profit, your planning and your tenants. Often, the response to rules like MEES is to hide one’s head in the sand.

“That simply won’t wash in this case. MEES are here, and it’s essential to comply. There are huge benefits for landlords who do. You can win new business, based on your reputation as a sustainable letting agent.

“You will hold tenants for longer, who prefer the more comfortable heating and cooling systems in your sustainable, intelligently managed buildings. You will be ahead of the game; an example of futureproof, modern business.

“And of course, you will save money on potential fines, while your energy efficient buildings will command higher rents than the competition.”

The Government guidance is available here.

Energys Group offers free site surveys to guide you on the most cost-effective energy efficient solutions for your building. Get in touch for advice.

The Energys explainer: How can warehouse LED lighting boost profits?

Statisticians and newspapers tell us that online-only retailers are enjoying a boom. The Telegraph reports that online sales “grew 18pc last year and by 27pc over the past two years…while bricks and mortar sales fell over both periods.”

The growing trend for virtual routes to market has seen a rise in demand for warehouse space, as businesses seek to satisfy the needs of an ever-growing number of online shoppers.

Whilst e-commerce companies typically enjoy lower overheads – with no costly retail estate to manage, there’s no doubt that it pays for online businesses to find ways of increasing the efficiency of their warehouse and distribution operations. It’s here that significant savings can be made to their operating costs.

How can efficient lighting make warehouses more profitable?

According to the Carbon Trust, even a 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales. Lighting can account for up to 80% of a warehouse’s energy bill, so upgrading to energy efficient options such as LED can have a significant impact.

In a fast-paced industry, achieving this sort of competitive advantage is crucial. But energy isn’t the only expense associated with legacy warehouse lighting. Maintenance costs can rack up too, as failed lamps need to be accessed by cherry picker, disrupting operations as sections of warehouse are cordoned off for replacement work.

Lighting also has an impact on staff wellbeing and productivity. Eyestrain, glare, picking and packing mistakes are all consequences of poor quality illumination.

Specialist solutions for a specialist space

The cost-saving argument for upgrading to LED is clear, but not all LEDs are made equal, and warehouses are particularly tricky environments to light. Open spaces, high ceilings, narrow aisles and high racking can make it difficult to illuminate spaces evenly.

Energys Group’s New Vision LED High Bay option offers excellent energy saving opportunities for warehouses, while providing even light distribution and glare control. The lamps have a life expectancy of over 50,000 hours and will maintain lumen levels at over 90% for the full warranty period of 5 years in normal use, dramatically reducing the maintenance burden.

For warehouses with legacy SONS or metal halide lighting, our retrofit options may be a faster, more cost-effective solution. Ranging from 20W to 100W, they provide a cost-effective ‘plug and play’ option to replace SONs and metal halides. Because of the high efficacy and directional nature of these LED lamps, together with the sharp white light and high colour rendering index, it is possible to reduce the power consumption of light fittings by between 50% and 75% with no discernible reduction in effective light levels.

Warehouse lighting success story

One example of lighting best practice is Prompto Despatch, a courier company in Ireland. Prompto’s 400W metal halide lamps were retrofitted with our New Vision 80W LED SON lamps, achieving instant energy savings of more than 75% in the company’s warehouse space.

“It was obvious from the outset that as soon as the New Vision LED lighting was installed we had made the right decision, with much improved lighting levels and instantly reduced energy costs,” says James Delea, Managing Director at Prompto Despatch.

It’s clear that LED lighting can offer significant efficiencies for warehouse businesses. But proven sector expertise and high performance products are key when selecting the right supplier. Only then will companies really reap all the benefits of modern, effective, efficient light.

Want to know more about the benefits of LED lighting for warehouses? Drop us a line or have a look at our case studies.