The average big UK business could save £56,400 a year on energy bills under a government scheme to force businesses to undergo energy assessments.
At least that’s the bold claim of the department of energy and climate change (DECC) who are consulting on proposals they hope will encourage businesses to slash their energy consumption.
The obligatory assessments, entitled the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS), will help businesses identify cost-effective ways to invest in energy efficiency. The government predicts that an average firm who takes up the recommendations made in the assessments, could invest £15,000 a year in energy efficiency measures to bring them £54,000 a year in savings.
Under the scheme, businesses will be obliged to have an approved assessor (either an in-house expert or an external consultant) carry out an ESOS assessment every four years. The assessor will review the total energy use of an organisation including the energy use per employee, or per unit of output and look at variations in energy use over time within an organisation's key buildings, industrial operations and transport activities. The measures likely to be recommended on the back of the assessment, include updating lighting systems, replacing inefficient vehicles and encouraging staff to be more energy efficient.
The scheme will target all non-public sector enterprises with 250 employees or more, or organisations whose annual turnover exceeds EUR50 million. Under this definition, are 7,300 UK enterprises will be affected. Small to medium sized enterprises will not be forced to participate but may opt to do so if they wish. While the assessments will be obligatory, there will be no legal requirement to implement the energy saving measures identified.
Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker, said: “These new energy saving assessments will help our largest firms identify where money can be saved by installing energy efficiency measures. The potential benefits of cutting down on energy waste are significant – £1.9 billion benefits to the UK as a whole.”
Businesses are being asked to take part in a consultation on the details of the scheme. The consultation will run until October 3, 2013. The initial assessments must be undertaken by December 5, 2015.
The proposals form part of the Government's implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, under which large enterprises have to identify cost-effective ways to invest in energy efficiency.
The new scheme will run alongside the government’s other existing non-domestic energy saving initiatives such as the non-domestic green deal, electricity demand reduction and enhanced capital allowances for energy-saving plant and machinery.