For businesses, the rising energy costs have become an inescapable truth that is forcing them to think seriously about energy consumption.
And it’s not only from a cost perspective. Pressure to reduce carbon emissions is also mounting.
So, like any new year diet, an energy reduction strategy needs to work for the long term and not just offer a fast, but short-lived drop.
To get off to the best start, consider these five steps:
Don’t let ESOS Phase 3 slip through the net
If you are in scope for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme the qualification date was 31 December 2022. This date must be included in your 12-month audit so it’s a good time to start your data gathering now. Whilst the ultimate compliance deadline of 5 December 2023 may seem far away, ESOS is not a quick tick list exercise, it’s worth building a plan now that considers securing resource and compiling hard to access data.
Stay ahead of legislation changes
The 1 April there will see two key changes come in that will affect the price of your energy and building certificates.
Firstly, as part of Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review, the TNUoS charging methodology will change. With this transmission reform around 90% of the charges will be changed from being based on an organisation’s Triad consumption to being charged on a fixed rate basis which is aligned to your available supply. Rates will be determined by bands, when these are published at the beginning of April, you may need to review your available capacity to keep the costs low.
Secondly, there will be a change to the Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) legislation. Currently, if you want to sell or let your commercial property, you will need to have a valid EPC before the property is placed on the market to inform prospective buyers or tenants about the building’s energy performance. You will need to be able to provide the EPC at the time of exchange of contracts by law.
From April 2023, landlords of all privately rented properties will need to have a valid EPC rating of E or above in accordance with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations. Check in on your current rating and take the time to make improvements to your buildings to avoid any problems with your tenancy agreements.
Are all your certificates up to date?
Looking ahead over the next 12-months, are your Display Energy Certificates (DECs), Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and TM44 Air Conditioning Reports due for renewal? Get ahead of the game by planning your renewal.
You can also take advantage of your existing Recommendation Report that accompanies your energy certificates. It contains specific energy-saving measures that were identified as part of a site survey and great tips that can be a huge benefit to your building and therefore your business. Many of these recommendations will be very low cost to implement or free just by simply changing the behaviour of how you use energy in the building.
Build engagement and conduct research
What better time of year to reach out to everyone in the organisation to make them aware of how they can help get involved in your energy efficiency projects. Engage with the wider organisation and highlight the benefits of an energy reduction strategy through training sessions and create an energy awareness information pack to help with motivation, where possible allocate and share energy management and monitoring responsibilities.
Before starting any carbon reduction journey, it is important to understand what within your operations and infrastructure is responsible for your emissions. This can be challenging, especially for large, multi-site organisations with extensive supply chains. Start the year on a good foot by establishing what you need to include in your scope. Plan buildings and operational audits to gain an understanding of your Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; conduct a staff survey to help benchmark emissions associated with hybrid working.
Start your Net Zero journey
If you have been putting off making a meaningful start to a net zero and carbon reduction strategy, then now is a perfect time to make some changes.
When starting on this journey, it is important to take into consideration your organisation’s business objectives and if you have any sustainability or net zero based commitments in place already, this will help shape a timeline.
Work with the senior decision makers and determine appropriate and realistic targets for your organisation. Keep in mind that a successful carbon reduction plan must be unique to your business and come with commitment and support from the whole organisation. When better to make a fresh start and begin to foster a company-wide culture of sustainability and engage with staff.
Throughout the rest of the year, monitor how your energy-saving goals are delivering. Embrace some great reporting tools and communicate your achieved targets to your stakeholders and staff; this will boost motivation.
Embedding carbon reduction practices and embracing compliance to help with energy efficiency doesn’t have to be complex. If you would like further guidance about becoming energy efficient, meeting your compliance deadlines, or implementing a net zero plan, call to speak to an Energy Consultant on 01908 886538 or contact us here.