On June 26th the Government will publish the final details of its new Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme. It will mandate that, from 2015, every business or nongovernment organisation with over 250 employees must audit all their energy consuming activities. This exercise must be repeated at least every four years.
The audit will require each of the estimated 7,300 entities covered by the Scheme to review total energy use from all their business operations, calculate the amount of energy used per employee, and identify potential measures that could save energy.
Two-thirds of the relevant enterprises are in the commercial sector.
According to energy minister, Greg Barker, the scheme will “help drive the take-up of cost-effective energy efficiency measures by participants.” Doing so will be “benefitting their competitiveness and contributing to the wider growth agenda.”
However, the government is stressing that it is taking no powers to compel any participants to implement any of the savings recommendations made.
Nonetheless, according to the 2013 impact assessment, even if only 6 per cent of identified savings are realised, the overall benefits to the economy will be up to £3bn Net Present Value between 2015 and 2030.
Enterprises that already use existing forms of certification, like ISO50001 or the Carbon Trust Standard, will be deemed to qualify – providing that the certificate covers 90 per cent of the pertinent parts of the business.
One large part of business energy usage will be excluded. Sub contracted haulage – responsible for 64 per cent of vehicle miles – will not be included in the scheme. Given that two-thirds of turnover in haulage companies are via smaller companies employing fewer than 250 people, this will effectively mean that significant areas of commercial energy usage will simply not be covered.