Is your ESOS compliance plan achievable?
By this point in time, your organisation would have worked out the best route (or combination of routes) to ESOS compliance. Hopefully, plans are being put in place so that activities required for compliance can be completed in ample time, before the 5th December 2015.
Many organisations will have already started to look at performance appraisals; assess their performance targets from 2014 and have planned for new goals in 2015/16. Were all of your energy objectives achieved? Did the action plans deliver the energy savings you’ve hoped for?
Chances are that your energy objectives could be insufficiently clear; the projects were delayed by other colleagues or by other business priorities. Perhaps, with all good intentions, you were unable to complete the projects in time for the appraisal.
To be fair, there are more examples of badly developed and written energy policies, objectives, targets and action plans than there are good ones. “My company will reduce our carbon emissions by 100% in 10 years or we will close our existing facilities”. “The company will reduce our energy consumption by 15% in one year”. These are just some of the badly written and dangerous energy objectives.
How does this impact on the business?
Energy saving plans and objectives that aren’t conducive to business, drive two types of negative behaviour within the organisation. The two very demoralising effects from such behaviours are:
Setting energy saving objectives that are easily reached could mean that organisations fail to explore more significant cost saving opportunities available to them.
Taking on too many energy saving projects could exhaust an organisations available resources and disable companies from realising all potential cost benefits at the earliest opportunity. The organisation may also lose focus of its primary business performance objectives. Energy saving plans should complement overall business performance rather than compromise it.
The ability to deliver a portfolio of “projects” within the time frame is another important aspect. In real businesses, scheduling these “projects” for implementation could be a big issue. It depends on your ability to negotiate it around the business requirements and business needs. These are issues that are given little thought when the plans are put in place.
How do we move forward?
Understand the difference between policy, objectives, targets and action plans. There is a significant difference between what constitutes an energy policy, objectives, targets and action plans. Understanding the difference will lead to better wording and will drive the right behaviours within the organisation. A pictorial representation of their differences is shown below:
Source: Kit Oung, 2013. Energy Management in Business. Farnham: Gower Publishing
Set objectives that are realistic, with detailed working action plans to make up the objectives. The chosen policy needs to be backed up with real and defined “projects”. How much does it cost? What is its projected reduction? What is the delivery time? What are the detailed steps to implement the “project”? Have the project risks been identified? Have they been agreed by the management?
Plan out your programme. If it’s not possible to implement the “projects” in one go, space them out with defined timeframes. Then, identify the key internal people and resources needed to deliver the action plans. Pay particular attention to when you need to engage with people.
Insert the specific tasks into the right level of job roles. Once you know who your key players are, get the relevant tasks planned in. In a more “formal” organisation, it is prudent that it is discussed and built in during appraisal time. In other organisations, resources have to be agreed in advance with plenty of notice.
Regularly monitor and provide feedback. Feedback should not be limited to energy data. Verbal updates, status of projects, etc. can be a good way of giving feedback and/or encouragements. Feedback can often prompt additional communications that may be required.
Following these simple steps, you’ll have a simple and effective plan, engaged with the right people, integrated into the organisation and measurable to the management of the company. Hopefully, it will help you avoid the “because ...” and “but ...” conversations at the end of the New Year.
Kit Oung is an experienced energy manager at Energy Efficien:ology, board member of Energy Managers’ Association, and Advisory member of 2degrees Network. He is the author of Energy Management in Business: The Manager’s Guide to Maximising and Sustaining Energy Reduction (Gower) and Energy Audits: The Key to Delivering Real Energy Reduction (BSI).