An audit for audit’s sake doesn’t make for good practice

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

You could be forgiven for struggling with the DECC’s published guidance on ESOS as it’s not an easy read but, in the Department’s defense, the devil is always in the detail so DECC is obliged to set it all out.

The EI, as a supporter of ESOS with resources to enable its implementation, has produced a simple guide to help senior executives of companies that must comply with this new mandatory scheme to complete energy assessments and identify energy savings opportunities. Broadly speaking, if your UK business has

1) 250 or more employees
2) an annual turnover of more than 50M Euros and
3) a balance sheet of more than 43M Euros

you and any other UK organisations will need to comply. There are nuances to all of this so it’s worth reading the detail or contacting DECC for advice well ahead of the end of this year.

Compliance requires you to estimate your total energy consumption and audit the areas of most significance for a report which is signed off at company board level and lodged with the Environment Agency.

Now that’s where compliance stops and good practice starts. Why? Because it’s good for the bottom line and can turn loss into profit, it’s good for the environment and demonstrates the social pledges companies can make and the benefits that can be passed onto the customer. So don’t stop at the filing of the report, don’t even stop when you celebrate the first year’s energy and financial savings. The clue is in the title – energy savings opportunity scheme….

4 thoughts on “An audit for audit’s sake doesn’t make for good practice

  1. john mccreesh says:

    Hi,
    I’m currently in the middle of completing a Certified Energy Managers course accredited to the Association of Energy Engineers, and one of the things that is continually stressed is the need to avoid a box ticking exercise.
    Research the industry being audited and analyse their energy usage in comparison to similar industries. Talk and observe the people at operational level, as they are the people most likely to know the systems, existing problems and potential improvements. I have to admit it is a fantastic course, very detailed and quite heavy going, but it has given me a much broader understanding of overall energy usage and where savings can possibly be made. I already have a Masters in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation and a Degree in Chemical Engineering and thought I had a good grounding but the auditing section and financial appraisal information have been especially helpful.
    I too hope it doesn’t just become a money spinner for some, but actually drives change and does lead to energy conservation and can be a positive economic benefit, to the companies involved.

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  2. Robert Clark says:

    The responsibility in part also lies with the auditors. Going beyond box ticking alone is also to the benefit of the auditor (whether internal or external) since some identified opportunities will result in a clear case for investment. Auditors should also be cognisant of the fact that there is an emerging supply chain of providers able and willing to deliver and fund solutions, which can help address the lethargic response senior managers will often give to EE opportunities.

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  3. Louise – Agreed, but I think I know where this will end up (trying not to be too cynical) and that is the way the EPCs went, viz. a box ticking exercise where the corporate clients will approach companies which hire administrators to carry out structured site inspections as opposed to experienced site engineers who will be able to assess the Big Picture and provide real CO2 reduction solutions to carry forward as viable commercial and energy reduction projects. The price of the audit will dictate all as opposed to the long term value. I hope I’m wrong, but our experience with energy / water audits so far tells us otherwise

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  4. Louise – Well said – an audit, ESOS or other, should not just be form-filling. It should be a way for you and your organization to identify what you can do, to benefit not only the environment but your bottom line. The next step is to do it.

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