Making the most of ESOS

Andy Lewry, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme
Beyond short-term compliance reporting — Andy Lewry.

Having invested time and cost to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, Andy Lewry of BRE argues that businesses should take advantage of the recommendations made in the audit.

The business and financial value that energy efficiency can deliver is considerable. ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) compliance should therefore not be seen as a tick-box exercise but rather a great opportunity to harness and maximise that value

As part of BRE’s briefing papers supported by ESTA, a free-to-download guide to ‘Gaining value from ESOS audits’ has been published. This guide provides not only a solid overview of the ‘why and how’ of ESOS, but also considers the opportunities and recommendations being identified in buildings, industrial and transport environments.

The value of auditing [1] can be summarised as follows.

• Pulls together all the relevant data

• Identifies data gaps

• Maps the organisation

• Identifies the organisation’s needs

• Is organisation specific

• Provides a snapshot of where an organisation is in terms of energy management

• Identifies opportunities for savings and barriers to implementation

The effectiveness of audits is improved when they are part of a part of a larger structured energy-management programme [2]:

From building audits, many of the recommendations are based on making the current systems (heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting) more efficient. In industrial locations, audits include the efficiency of manufacturing systems as well as the operation of the equipment.

In terms of industrial processes, key recommendations identified from ESOS audits could include installing higher-efficiency motors or variable-speed drives, use of heat recovery, more efficient lighting and building controls and building-management systems.

In all scenarios, however, a good understanding of the energy use within an organisation is needed, which is usually through a sub-metering monitoring-and- targeting solution (M&T), which is preferably automated. Where permanent meters have not been installed, Portable meters can be used to measure the actual energy use for some equipment and help to establish a base-load profile. Without metering of the various operational stages and an understanding of a whole cycle of operation, you cannot develop a complete picture. Reviewing the entire process from start to finish is critical for the right savings to be made.

Gaining value

The key question many organisations might ask is: ‘Why should we implement any of the recommendations from the ESOS reports?’

The answer is that there are a number of key reasons to reduce energy use [3].

Andy Lewry, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme
Free guidance to achieve substantial cost savings — BRE’s guide to ‘Gaining value from ESOS audits’.

• To save costs

• To comply with legislation

• To manage risk

It is important that businesses consider and take maximum advantage of the ESOS audit reports to help reduce their overall organisational energy consumption and manage risk to the business.

As an example, a recent ESOS audit of the RSA Insurance Group identified estimated annual savings of £81 277 for its buildings. This included measures such as lighting replacement, improved building-management system (BMS) controls, employee engagement and the installation of renewable energy.

Although we haven’t touched on transport in this article, the same Group identified cost savings of £191 108 which could be delivered through initiatives that include the introduction of minimum vehicle standards for grey fleet and hire cars and investment in ‘smarter driving’ training.

As time ticks on and we begin to roll towards consideration of the next audit, there is an opportunity to plan and identify all of the options generated from this compliance exercise — namely which route should be taken and, more importantly, that this should be viewed as an integral part of an energy strategy, rather than the view previously taken that this is additional short-term compliance reporting.

Key steps

After making the initial investment to comply with ESOS, organisations can only really benefit from the energy audits by implementing the simple no-cost or low-cost solutions identified in the reports. Taking that first step may seem enormous, though in the long term business will see the difference and improvement this will make.

Key to the next stage will be benchmarking; for some this will highlight progression, the path to a more efficient use of energy and understanding that any investment made should be beneficial to the business, not just in financial terms, but also social and environmentally.

Dr Andy Lewry is a principal consultant at BRE and co-author of its guide ‘Gaining value from ESOS audits’, from which this article is derived. The full guide, as well as ‘Energy management and building controls’ can be downloaded for free; link below.


[1] Lewry, Andrew J. Energy surveys and audits — A guide to best practice, IP7/13, Bracknell, IHS BRE Press, May 2013.

[2] Lewry A J. Energy management in the built environment: a review of best practice. BRE FB 44. Bracknell, IHS BRE Press, 2012.

[3] Lewry A J. Producing the business case for investment in energy efficiency. BRE IP 2/15. Bracknell, IHS BRE Press, 2015.

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