Apathetic buildings management is still too common, say Brussels mandarins

Apathetic buildings management is still too common, say Brussels mandarins.
So a new rule devised by the European Commission (EC) aims to plug holes in energy efficiency by enforcing regular energy audits for the first time.
Transposed in the UK as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), it is one of several elements in the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive.
"Our policy impact assessment... has found that energy audits were far from being implemented consistently in enterprises," says EC energy spokesperson Sabine Berger.
In compliance with the directive, ESOS targets larger organisations, described as enterprises. These may include private businesses and partnerships, charities, some universities and other institutions with more than 250 employees and an annual turnover of more than £41 million.

A 2013 DECC consultation indicates that enterprises will have to carry out an energy audit by 5th December 2015 and at least every four years from the date of the previous energy audit. Unlike many previous policies, ESOS goes beyond buildings and covers an enterprise's transport and industrial processes.

According to the consultation, minimum compliance would require a review of the organisation's total energy use and energy efficiency, and auditors would have to work out and state the energy intensity ratio. Minimum compliance would also include clean information on potential savings and recommendations for cost-effective countermeasures.

FMs not yet ready
WSP is an energy and environment consultancy that provides energy audit services.

The new requirements could come as a shock to some building managers, as many organisations may have never conducted an energy audit.

"Larger leading organisations have tried to do energy audits and already know where savings lie. But there is a whole order of other large enterprises that have no idea. To start with, there are a whole series of no-cost measures that can be put in place. As a simple example, time programmers and switches are often not correct in the first place."

Collecting the data
The first step in an audit is retrieving energy consumption data and company production figures, as well as mapping lighting and heating.

The energy management of the building is this examined, followed by an assessment of opportunities to save energy and returns on investment where necessary.

DECC has also consulted in the use of Green deal assessments and Display Energy Certificates (DECs) as a compliance mechanism.

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