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ESOS

Guest Blog, Bob Foley: The Future is Green; the Future is Energy Saving…

As with many changes in legislation, there are always a few people who are going to be resistant to change. It is in our nature to be cautious and wary of periods of transition and it takes many people a while to adapt to change, once it has been implemented. The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is no exception to this rule. Nearly a year since the initial deadline, there are still vast numbers of qualifying organisations who have not filed their notifications of compliance with the ESOS scheme. The Environment Agency (EA), which administers the ESOS scheme on the behalf of the government, is now cracking down on companies who have failed to comply. At Servest, we are urging companies that may qualify for ESOS to take action.

To qualify or not to qualify?

It seems that the reason why so many companies haven’t complied with the ESOS scheme is down to a misunderstanding about exactly who should be complying with the legislation.

The HM Treasury’s Impact Assessment estimated that circa 9,400 enterprises are affected by ESOS, covering 170,000 – 200,000 buildings that consume around a third of UK energy demand. Over the course of the summer, the scheme regulators have investigated 1,700 organisations they believe may be required to participate but had not made a submission. Although there does not seem to be a definitive list of the companies who fall within the criteria, we believe that several thousand companies out there that need to play catch-up.

The threshold tests which determine whether your organisation should qualify involve a number of factors such as number of employees and company turnover. Much of the confusion has stemmed from a misunderstanding of such factors. Servest’s Energy and Compliance division has recently heard from a number of companies who were not aware, or who did not think the legislation applied to them. For instance, we have heard from a number of companies who have told us they have been contacted by local trading standards or by the Environment Agency. However, in about half of these cases we were able to help them understand that they did not, in fact, meet the compliance threshold tests.

A cleaner energy economy equals a more prosperous economy

In amongst all this confusion over who or what qualifies for ESOS, it seems some companies have forgotten the bigger picture. The point of the scheme is to drive energy savings. Essentially, it should be understood as an opportunity for British businesses to save money. In the current climate, any potential ways to reduce costs should be readily accepted. The government has identified that the Net Present Value of the benefits will be in the region of £1.6 billion, so the gains reaped from becoming ESOS compliant far outweigh the initial cost of the assessment. Part of the report is to identify opportunities to save energy and hence reduce costs. While many companies will treat this as a tick box requirement, we would suggest that others embrace the opportunities to reduce energy usage and the associated costs.

Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

The need to conserve energy has never been higher on the political, social and economic agendas of British businesses.  Small changes can make the world of difference to the amount of energy consumed. Simple things, such as: ensuring the lights are switched off when areas are not in use, setting appropriate temperature controls and maintaining equipment so it operates efficiently can help sustain our planet as well as saving money.

 

Co-authored with Rob Legge, CEO at Servest Group

 

Bob joined Servest’s new Energy and Compliance division in October 2015 to drive new growth through the development of products and services, which will help customers reduce their energy spend and provide a one-stop-shop solution to managing building risk compliance. Prior to joining Servest, Bob has worked for major energy suppliers, utility infrastructure providers and in the renewable and low carbon energy and energy efficiency sectors. 

Rob has been involved in the facilities sector for over 20 years and during this time has gained a wealth of experience in both the commercial and corporate arenas, Joining Servest in the mid 90s as managing director, he quickly progressed into the role of group CEO. Driving organisational growth through organic and acquisitive strategy, Rob has been instrumental in developing the group into a leading international FM brand.

Guest Blog, Ian Hetherington: 3D mapping means going green has never been easier…

Our society is more conscious than ever of the detrimental effects our actions have on the environment, and the business world is no different. As a facilities manager, the role of policing the use of energy most likely falls in your lap, and with a wide range regulations around the management of energy, it’s often hard to keep up. 

For example, as a mandatory programme, all large UK businesses are affected by the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) whereby they are committed to partaking in an energy assessment every four years. The aim of this is to make large organisations aware of their total energy consumption and provide metrics for improvement. Naturally, it’s within facilities managers’ interest to make efforts to work towards reducing energy consumption – not just for corporate responsibility, but also as a cost saving strategy.

But how is it possible to monitor and log energy consumption for one or sometimes multiple buildings? What was once a daunting task is now becoming increasingly easier with technology innovations.

A dynamic 3D map of both the exterior and interior of buildings delivered via a mobile application can provide facilities managers with the means to both visualise data sets relating to asset and resource usage, as well as collect live information on building use. In turn, this will enable FMs to quickly and easily derive actionable insights that can optimise efficiency and reduce costs.

By monitoring assets within the premises, usage patterns can be correlated to gain insight into staff behaviour, informing decision making to help reduce costs and minimise resource wastage. If, for example, a particular meeting room is consistently never used in the afternoon, the lighting could be automatically switched off.

Thus, a mobile app that is accessible to everyone within the building allows facilities managers to engage with staff and push notifications to pass on awareness of unnecessary energy consumption. FMs could even add a gamification element to the app and allow staff to collect points for best practice.

Optimising the use of resources can create direct cost savings as well as helping to meet energy consumption targets. Presenting complex data sets graphically with geographic context enables facilities managers to intuitively extract meaningful understanding and insight from big data.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will massively increase the volume and breadth of data available to environment managers, with all kinds of devices and building components able to report on their own status and that of their surroundings. This additional information has the potential to help in the effective management of facilities, though the collection of data itself is valueless without deriving the insight from it that delivers business benefits.

Key in analysing big datasets is to always remember the business outcomes that you are aiming to distribute. Analysis for the sake of it generally achieves little; ensuring the work provides insights that can be actioned to effect positive change in the chosen areas of the business is vital to deliver a return from the technology investments.

With an increasingly ‘mobile-first’ workforce, environment managers have the opportunity to utilise mobile applications to not only visualise the complex data they have available, but also to use the mobile devices as additional means of data collection.

 

Ian came to eeGeo from the world of video gaming and is well known for his role in the introduction of games such as Grand Theft Auto and Lemmings. Primarily based in the UK, eeGeo produces apps and technology platforms to allow users to experience and discovery the world around them.