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Decarbonise for less: unleash the cost-saving power of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme

George Barnes \ 31st Jan 2024

Large organisations have four months to notify their compliance with the UK government's mandatory energy assessment initiative, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

It's a mistake to think this is an onerous task and a sunk cost. In our experience, you are guaranteed to identify energy savings opportunities, that at the very least, double your return on the investment you make to undertake the audit. And with that sort of saving possible, you can turn your ESOS submission into a springboard for your net-zero strategy.

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) - fact check reminder

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) helps big businesses in the UK identify and implement ways to save energy and money.

To arm you with what you need to know to take advantage, we published a complete guide to completing an ESOS assessment last year.

By way of summary, the highlights include:

  • 5 June 2024: deadline to submit a compliant submission.
  • £50,000 fines to apply for failure to submit or publish misleading statements, with an additional £500 per day after the deadline if an organisation has not complied, up to a maximum of 80 days.
  • 250 employees or annual turnover of more than £44m to qualify.
  • 31 December 2022 is the key qualifying date for size of organisation, so energy data for the assessment must include that date and cover a 12-month period.

The scheme occurs every four years and requires an audit of an organisation's energy consumption and the identification of energy saving opportunities.

How to use energy data to your advantage

Don't see the data gathering for your ESOS assessment as a chore – it's the pathway to a brighter future.

The data you gather on your energy usage has a double-benefit. By nailing ESOS compliance, you'll also secure much of the crucial baseline of information needed to chart your course to net zero. Think of it as building the foundation of your future energy strategy, brick by brick (of data).

But the benefits don't stop there. Those efficiency measures and implementation plans you develop for ESOS, they become the blueprints for action, ready to be deployed.

Think of ESOS as a down payment on your net zero strategy

What if we told you ESOS could be a financial springboard for your net zero journey?

We estimate that you will identify energy savings opportunities, that at the very least, will be double the actual cost to undertake the audit itself.

This is a process that can save you money and launch you on the way to delivering the net zero goals you've set as a business. It means the ESOS process is not a one-off, wasted moment.

By using the information from your ESOS assessment, you can:

  • Identify low-hanging fruit for energy savings, which can free up budget.
  • Develop more targeted and cost-effective net zero initiatives.
  • Get a head start on your net-zero journey including the associated reputational and socio-economic benefits, saving time and money in the long run.

So, the next time you think about ESOS, think of it as an investment in the future of your business.

How to twin-track your ESOS submission with your net zero carbon strategy and save time and money

The first stage of any net zero carbon strategy is to collate data and deliver a baseline assessment.

The ESOS process requires information on Scope 1 and 2 emissions, giving you a solid foundation for your baseline. No need to reinvent the wheel.

With those covered, you can channel your energy into tackling Scope 3, the tougher to measure, and often-neglected, area that includes your supply chain and product use. This targeted approach saves time and resources.

Site audits to identify 'energy conservation measures' are required as part of the ESOS submission. For many organisations with multiple properties, measures to improve energy efficiency will be common across each site. This enables you to develop standardised retrofit strategies that can be applied across the entire estate, like a master plan for decarbonisation.

Following site surveys, a mandatory part of the ESOS assessment process is an action plan outlining costed energy-saving measures. This is your pre-built blueprint for a net zero/decarbonisation action plan — you'll have done the hard yards.

The 'low-hanging fruit' energy conservation measures identified from these site surveys will immediately present opportunities to reduce your Scope 1 and 2 emissions, giving you a head start on your net zero targets. These opportunities will commonly include behavioural changes, lighting upgrades and control improvements. Many can be delivered by your own team, without external consultants, saving you time and money. This frees up resources for more complex initiatives requiring engineering-led design work, especially for low carbon heating upgrades and renewable energy generation projects.

Using time and budgets efficiently

The pathway to net zero is an important and detailed one for any organisation.

The clock is ticking on the ESOS deadline. For organisations looking to be smart about getting ahead of the curve, it's more than just a compliance box to tick. It's a launchpad for action.

By leveraging ESOS for your net zero goals, you can demonstrate a robust decarbonisation plan, and prove to your stakeholders that you're a leader in environmental responsibility and sustainability.

Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Talk to an expert and let's turn your ESOS compliance into a springboard for sustainable success!

Contact George Barnes at or on +44(0) 7721 342060.