What is the Energy Auditing Scheme?
The Energy Efficiency Directive 2012 (EED 2012) established a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. Under the Directive, all EU countries are required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, from production to final consumption. EED 2012 was transposed into Irish Law under Statutory Instrument 426 of 2014 (SI 426).
It is within Regulations 11 – 17 of SI 426 that the “energy audit scheme”, henceforth referred to as the Energy Auditing Scheme (EAS), is set out. The Regulations state that companies that are not SMEs shall carry out an energy audit in accordance with the following principles:
- the first audit shall take place prior to 5th December 2015
- the next audit and subsequent audits shall take place within 4 years of the previous energy audit
- the audits are to be carried out by independent, or in-house, qualified auditors registered with the SEAI
Who does it apply to?
The EAS applies to all non-SMEs, which are defined as legal entities that employ 250 people or more, and has
- an annual turnover in excess of €50m, or,
- an annual balance sheet total in excess of €43m
In addition, public bodies with individual buildings having a total useful floor area of more than 500m2 or an annual energy spend of more than €35,000 are also required to comply with Regulations.
If your organisation has a valid, certified energy or environmental management system (ISO 50001, ISO 14001 or equivalent) and it can demonstrate to SEAI that the management system includes an energy audit that meets the minimum criteria, then your organisation can engage a Registered Energy Auditor to confirm in writing that the management system fulfils the requirement for an audit.
Do I HAVE to do it?
The Energy Auditing Scheme is a mandatory energy assessment scheme and legal obligation for organisations in Ireland that meet the qualification criteria. Organisations that qualify for EAS must carry out an EAS assessment every 4 years to remain compliant.
Organisations that fail to comply with the requirements set out by EAS may be liable to compliance and enforcement activities which could include fines of up to €5,000 plus being publicly “named and shamed”.
What are the benefits?
EAS is more than just a compliance exercise, it provides detailed recommendations of where and how to save energy. Whilst the EAS programme doesn’t insist that you undertake the recommended measures from the audits, it provides businesses with a platform to work from to reduce capital expenditure and improve operational efficiency.
Information from your energy audit can be used as the basis for implementing an energy management system (EnMS) to facilitate the realisation of the energy saving opportunities identified. If your system is then certified to ISO 50001 during the next four years, your organisation will automatically demonstrate EAS compliance.
How do I become compliant?
Simply register your company’s details on the SEAI’s EAS website and then choose an auditor from their list of approved providers. It is however in the best interests of your own company to ensure that the chosen auditor has provided the SEAI with their latest tax clearance certificate and all their records are up to date, as some may have lapsed since the original registered list was created.
Finally, it is important to stress that whilst the EAS is a legal obligation, it provides a great opportunity for companies to regain control of their energy usage and identify ways to reduce energy costs. By appointing an experienced auditor who can identify bespoke energy savings solutions for your site, your company will improve financial performance, reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) credentials to your clients thereby improving your position in the marketplace.
John Kane, MSc, MSc, Chartered Energy Manager, Chartered Engineer, is Business Unit Director for Energy & Technical Services Ireland (ETS Ireland), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Division of Engineers Ireland and is an SEAI approved EAS Registered Auditor (EA10021).
If you’d like to discuss your EAS obligations with us, you can contact John at John.Kane@energy-ts.com, or +353 (0)87 0525 358.