Ticking boxes is not the same as taking action

Published:  04 August, 2014

The Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) is now underway – sort of.  ESOS is following the usual pattern of government attempts to change business behaviour on energy.

We’re currently therefore in phase one of ESOS, which is the part where businesses have to work out if it applies to them, which is a stepping stone to phase two: working out how to get round it. Not that I want to be cynical about UK business, but let’s be honest we all know that another box-ticking exercise is the last thing they need on their plate right now.

There are a number of ‘alternatives’ to carrying out ESOS which include undertaking ISO 5001 certification; or using Display Energy Certificates (though not many commercial enterprises have them). Though, these may not help if, for example, your business is a heavy user of transport or your ISO 50001 certification is very narrow in its coverage.

Government has not really helped matters in terms of encouraging enthusiastic adoption. The lack of clarity on who can carry out assessments under ESOS is something of a barrier to success at the moment. Given that other assessment methodologies have opted for the path of least resistance on accreditation, there is not much hope that ESOS is going to be offering any better advice than is already found on DECCs or EPCs.

Unfortunately, ticking boxes just doesn’t inspire action in the average company director or manager. There has been too much emphasis on the word ‘Scheme’ and far too little focus on the ‘Opportunities’.

Because that’s what energy efficiency is: an opportunity to reduce your business costs; to put money back on the bottom line and to use your objective of being better for the environment in PR and marketing too.  

This emphasis on form-filling also means that companies who are compliant with ESOS will stop there. And that is highly likely to mean that they do either the minimum, or nothing at all. The assumption will be that they are doing the right thing already, so no need to go further.

And yet there is a host of much more inspiring drivers to energy efficiency out there. Here in the pages of MBS there are regular case studies of companies of all sizes who are seizing the opportunities offered by energy efficiency. And no one can say they don’t know where to find information – we are shortly entering conference season and with EMEX, The Energy Event, The Building Services Summit and others coming up, there is no shortage of inspiration if you’re looking for it. 

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications. 

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