Everything You Need to Know about ESOS

Posted by Ian Hopkins on 20-Nov-2014 10:00:00

Find out whether your organisation is required to undergo an ESOS assessment and understand the steps you’ll need to take.

Everything you need to know about ESOS

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK.

Introduced as the UK government’s response to Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the scheme requires all large undertakings in the UK to undergo an assessment of energy use and energy efficiency opportunities. This mandatory audit is repeated every four years.


What are the benefits?

The policy is aimed at increasing energy efficiency to improve business profits and increase competitiveness as well as combat climate change. The government estimates that ESOS’ net benefit to the UK will be around £1.6 billion between 2015 and 2030 - figures based on a conservative estimate that only 6% of energy saving opportunities identified will be implemented.


Who will it affect?

You’re likely to be in scope of ESOS if, on the qualifying date, you are:

  1. An undertaking which has 250 or more employees.
  2. An undertaking which has fewer than 250 employees, but has:
    • An annual turnover exceeding €50m.
    • A balance sheet exceeding €43m.
  3. Part of a corporate group which includes an undertaking which meets either of the above criteria.


When do I participate?

ESOS will occur in four-yearly compliance phases. You must assess whether or not you are required to participate in ESOS on the qualification date of each phase.

Phase Qualification date Four-year compliance phase Compliance date
Phase 1 31 Dec 2014 6 Dec 2011 - 5 Dec 2015 5 Dec 2015
Phase 2 31 Dec 2018 6 Dec 2015 - 5 Dec 2019 5 Dec 2019
Phase 3 31 Dec 2022 6 Dec 2019 - 5 Dec 2023 5 Dec 2023


How does the scheme work?

The ESOS assessment must cover all UK operations over a twelve month period. It requires participants to do the following three things:

1. Measure total energy consumption

Consumption should be measured across buildings, transport and industrial activities.

2. Conduct energy audits to identify cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations

During each phase of the scheme, at least 90% of your total energy consumption must be subject to:

  • An ESOS compliant energy audit
  • A Display Energy Certificate
  • A Green Deal Assessment or
  • A certified ISO 50001 Energy Management System

For the first phase, any energy auditing activity dating back to December 2011 can be used to support compliance provided that it meets the minimum standards required.

3. Report compliance to the Environment Agency

You must notify the Environment Agency of compliance with the scheme by 5th December 2015. Your assessment needs to have been reviewed by a board-level director and approved by a lead assessor. You are not required to implement the energy efficiency recommendations identified, but you will not receive the associated financial benefits unless the recommendations are acted upon.


To do list

The Carbon Trust identifies the key steps for compliance with ESOS as:

  1. Establish boundary for ESOS and develop a robust strategy for compliance.
  2. Measure your total energy consumption for buildings, industrial processes and transport.
  3. Identify areas of significant energy consumption, accounting for at least 90% of your total energy consumption.
  4. Appoint a lead assessor to oversee the ESOS assessment.
  5. Identify cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations for areas of significant energy consumption or use existing activity as a route to compliance.

Find out more about identifying energy savings opportunities in your organisation. Get your free eGuide now: How to cut costs and meet CO2 targets


Topics: CHP / Cogeneration, Energy Management

Ian Hopkins

Ian Hopkins is a technical sales professional and business leader with more than 15 years’ experience in delivering energy efficiency projects and strategy in Europe and the United States. Ian currently heads up the Sales and Marketing function as one of the board directors at ENER-G Combined Power Ltd.