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The Alternatives to ISO 50001 Regarding Energy and Fleet Savings: Which Way Now?

19 September 2017

The ESOS deadline for compliance with phase 2 will be 5th December 2019. 

Following the 5th December 2015 deadline of phase 1 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012) Article 8 (4) otherwise known as ESOS, the majority of organisations that were required to act have now done so and either acted on the recommendations put forward or shelved the file until phase 2.

Interestingly, whilst the deadline is more than 18 months ago now, more deadlines followed and this auditor is still working with organisations in both the UK and EU that have still to meet any deadline!
So, whilst most compliant companies have had the luxury of up to 4 years to enact or sit back, many will have little time to relax before ESOS phase 2 is upon us.
The deadline for compliance with phase 2 will be 5th December 2019. We were talking with several of our clients about phase one from Christmas time 2014. As such, in less than 16 months, the whole circus rolls back into town once again.
There were many organisations that in early 2015 believed that the elections would put an end to their involvement. Some believed that a discussion with the Environment Agency would rid them of the need to be involved. We spoke with several and audited many of these again some months down the line.
Many companies will similarly believe that, with Brexit taking place at the end of March 2019, ESOS will simply slip away. The reality of course is that this cannot happen. Principally, any extraction from Europe, if it happens at all, will run for many years after March 2019. 

Laws, in this case an EU Directive, will not be easily removed from the statute book and there are doubtless more pressing issues right now than repealing environmental legislation which, if projections were to be believed were set to save UK companies a minimum of £1.6bn from a 1% take up of recommendations in phase 1.
Moreover, the UK’s energy generation strategy remains in a disparate state. Hinkley Point C, the first of three nuclear replacements to the aged Magnox reactors is 15+ years away from commissioning. Coal without Carbon Capture ceases to exist from 2025 (in just 8 years-time). The UK policy on renewables is in a state of flux and Government can’t seem to leave Capacity Markets to their own devices. As a result, any directive that helps the UK to trim its demand amongst its heaviest energy users is not about to go away any time soon.

This brings us to the question: Energy and Fleet savings, which way now?

The Energy Efficiency Directive 2012 (ESOS) as it was enacted in the UK, allows for large organisations to elect to go down two major routes to compliance. An ESOS Audit carried out by a competent and qualified ESOS Lead Assessor or compliance to an externally verified ISO 50001 standard. There is no right or wrong answer here. There are simply pros and cons to each option.
Anyone approaching this question in mid-2015 had a limited choice if they had not already embarked on the ISO route; even if they had, only a handful of organisations had fleet in their ISO sights. Is the choice now any clearer?

There has been a great deal of learning from the 6,500+ ESOS assessments that have been conducted over the past two and a half years. The Environment Agency has yet to make a public prosecution of those that perhaps still believe that they have got away without acting on this piece of legislation. We understand that this is about to change.
Whether an organisation elects to go down the route of ESOS or ISO 50001 will depend heavily on where it sees itself and what it plans to achieve for the money it will spend on becoming compliant.
Whatever route your company elects to take, the most important point is that it begins the journey now. Take the time to talk with assessors that know your business and operation. This is much more the case with fleet operators.
By far the most disappointing part of the ESOS process by far has been the recommendations made to operators on addressing their fleets. Be they heavy hauliers or company sales cars, airlines or shipping companies, the flexibility allowed on fleet assessments has lead, in so many cases, to little or no real assessment and a missed opportunity in reducing billions of litres of diesel from fleet operations, addressing urban air quality and saving transport and logistics companies billions of pounds.
The EA did not have details of all the compliant companies in the UK when it sent out is first letters in 2014. It does now. The leniency we have seen in phase 1 will not be there for phase 2.
Moreover, there remain huge savings to be made. If your organisation spends 20% of its outgoings on energy and fuel, then even a 10% saving on this is a 2% improvement on your annual profits. That’s 2% profit without any additional sales.
Achieve these savings through an ISO or ESOS approach, just don’t’ wait for another year and a half before you start to save them.
This article has been written by Alan Asbury, Director at CLS Energy (Consultancy) Ltd for use on the NQA Certification Ltd website. CLS Energy (Consultancy) Ltd is listed as a trusted and valued consultancy organization on NQA’s Associate Consultant Register. To find out more please click here.