As a result of ESOS it is likely that more energy audits were undertaken in 2015 than in the previous five or maybe 10 years. The problem is that these in the main are becoming ESOS audits. Not an interactive intervention into energy management. Typically, this is a result of the time frame imposed of getting audits completed by 5 December. An external date should never be the driver for an energy audit. An effective audit works with the people on site to identify technical, organizational, cultural and behavioural improvement opportunities and the works to implement them.
I also think that there is possibly too much emphasis on technical or capital projects. The problem with this is that the typical ESOS audit will not be an ‘investment grade’ audit. Arguably an investment grade audit cannot be undertaken without involving equipment suppliers and contractors. The typical energy auditor can estimate a budget cost, but we know from practice that actual prices for a project can vary considerably when they go for formal costing.
Overall, you should not expect too much from your ESOS audits when viewed in the context of an on-going energy improvement programme.
However, the benefits that ESOS energy audits can provide are:
- A health check on data collection and reporting
- Re-starting stalled energy management programmes
- Identifying projects for further consideration
- Gaining access to sites that in the past have ‘resisted’ audits
So instead of being an end, the ESOS audit should be regarded as a beginning.