Today’s business owners are under pressure to make their facilities operate more efficiently amid falling generating capacity, rising energy demand and cost. Operating costs remain high in many regions and energy is a primary driver for businesses seeking to lower OpEx. Energy efficiency regulations such as the EED in the European Union have driven companies to reduce workplace energy use.
EED: Regulatory background
In the years leading up to the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, participating nations became increasingly focused on reducing fossil-fuel-based emissions. Improving the energy efficiency of businesses became a critical component of these plans. To this end, the member states of the European Union (EU) passed an important regulation, the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). As a quick refresh, the EED is follow-up legislation to the EU’s climate and energy package (EEP). It is designed to drive measurable change across the energy spectrum – from production to consumption to tracking and analysis. If successful, the EED will bridge the gap between existing framework directives and national energy efficiency measures to help the EU achieve its 20 per cent by 2020 reduction target.
Energy Audits: The first step
Energy audits are mandatory first steps to compliance under these directives, and must be repeated at least every four years to maintain compliance. Many companies, large and small, are finding it difficult to allocate internal resources for audits, not to mention needing the expertise required for carrying out investigations thoroughly.
In a recent webinar poll, Schneider Electric revealed that:
> Over 40% of respondents find understanding their EED obligations the greatest challenge.
By working with a reputable, qualified partner, businesses stand to benefit significantly from energy audits. By implementing the changes identified businesses can help their bottom line with regards to reducing energy bills, as well as improve performance in other energy efficiency schemes such as the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).
Once an audit has been carried out, its important to leverage the benefits. Here are five actions that companies should take after audit to ensure energy efficiency success and ongoing compliance:
- Be prepared for a compliance check. Once your notice of compliance has been submitted, you may be required to provide evidence of how you have complied with the scheme. You will need to keep an evidence pack which contain all aspects of your audits – this needs to be available for the compliance period to which it relates and two subsequent periods
- Use the data. Collecting the full scope of energy use was often the most challenging task for businesses in addressing their obligations. Using the data found and continuing to collect the data from the defined sources will greatly improve visibility of your energy performance as well as facilitate the next round of obligations
- Use the Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) savings towards an Energy Management System (EMS). The first steps to implementing an EMS, such as ISO 50001, is to analyse your energy data, to identify ECMs, and to track the progress. With little investment, you could introduce an EMS by 2018, providing exemption from your next phase of obligations
- Keep tracking your legislative obligations. Take care of interim requirements such as annual qualification assessments (changing from SME to non-SME) or the requirements to submit annual results from ECMs. Accurately tracking and forecasting legislative requirements will ensure strategic decisions can be made well in advance, allowing time to budget and plan accordingly
- Find a trusted partner to support the continuing the drive for energy efficiency throughout your business. Truly being energy efficient requires going beyond energy audits, addressing procurement strategies, sourcing of efficient equipment, and raising energy management best practice and awareness
What will your energy audit reveal?
We have consolidated the data from over 350 energy audits for over 130 companies across Europe, take a look at our top findings: Top 5 energy efficiency projects leading organisations need to act on now
By Andy Dewis, VP International Solutions, Energy & Sustainability Services at Schneider Electric