Scotland’s businesses must meet Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme deadline of 5 December

date27 August 2015

Hundreds of businesses across Scotland only have until 5 December to undertake and submit energy audits to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) regulations.

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Businesses with more than 250 staff, or that have a turnover exceeding €50m (£38,937,777) and an annual balance sheet total of more than €43m (33,486,489), need to undertake a mandatory energy efficiency audit every four years, with the first one due in December 2015. In Scotland around 600 businesses could be qualify for ESOS.

The scheme is being administered throughout the UK by the Environment Agency, but the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is the regulator for companies based in Scotland.

Fiona Graham, from SEPA’s Carbon Reduction Unit, said:

“We’re encouraging all qualifying businesses to make sure they undertake an ESOS compliant energy audit and notify the Environment Agency by 5 December 2015. Identifying and reducing energy use, and therefore energy costs, is a very positive thing for businesses and should be something everyone is doing as a matter of course already.

“As well as the positive impact, in potential cost savings it should have for businesses; ESOS should reduce our carbon emissions by reducing Scotland’s energy consumption”

For further information about the scheme, visit our website.

ESOS mainly affects businesses, but can also apply to not-for-profit bodies and any other non-public sector undertakings that are large enough to meet the qualification criteria.

Unless an organisation’s energy consumption is fully covered by an ISO 50001 energy management system, it is required to calculate its total energy usage. This includes all energy consumed by buildings, industrial processes and transport. An ESOS compliant energy audit must then be carried out upon the areas which account for significant energy consumption, or 90% of the total energy consumed.

This audit should identify and recommend cost-effective energy efficiency improvements, if any, using cost-benefit analysis. ESOS assessments require to be signed off by an ESOS lead assessor, where ISO 50001 accreditation is not held. These can be employees or external contractors, but they need to be members of an approved professional body register to do this.

As the enforcing authority for Scotland, SEPA has the powers to issue enforcement notices requiring compliance, as well as financial penalties of up to £50,000 for those businesses that don’t comply.