The availability of data has been quite a discussion point amongst Lead Assessors and those that have to comply with ESOS alike but as we saw from my last post there are options to address data issues so let’s assume that we've got the data under control - what about the 'O' in ESOS, the opportunity. 

Let’s qualify that first, what is the opportunity? 

Reduce your energy - reduce your costs - increase your profits. Is it that simple? Well it really depends if you are new to energy efficiency or if you've been wearing the t-shirt for some time now. ESOS doesn't really distinguish who it’s aimed at so let’s consider both ends of the spectrum. 

If your organisation is new to energy efficiency the options are wide and I do believe that there are still a lot of organisations out there that haven't done anything, maybe not even knowing how much energy is costing them! Here a full energy survey can be excellent value for money - now of course the term 'full energy assessment' can mean different things to different assessors - from a simple opportunity assessment using simple payback to an in-depth analysis taking an investment grade view - the difference in terms of days spent producing (and cost) can be vast from 1 day to a week or more, the latter of course costing more. 

Which one is best, well the latter of course - it will give your organisation more detail, offering a 'ready to invest' list of opportunities that would provide immediate financial reductions, but, that said, if taken note of and acted upon over time an opportunity assessment is far better than nothing! 

.... As long as it’s not produced and put into a drawer never to be seen again! We have been there too many times before. 

Now, if your organisation has been investing in energy efficiency for years, then a simple survey might not cut the mustard, you might even already have surveys that are still relevant, or even better you may have a continual improvement process. Either way the emphasis of ESOS is to support moving identified opportunities forward - not repeating the cost of surveys when not learning anything new. If already known, the focus should be on taking the chance to build your evidence pack around existing knowledge, updating with more recent consumption profiling if needed and presenting under the header of ESOS to the board for investment. 

This of course is just scratching the surface, I've not considered sampling, audit methodology and much more - that’s a conversation to have with your Lead Assessor to agree. 

However you identify the opportunities, communicate them and keep an active log of progress so that it can be revisited at any time in the future, with rising cost of energy and possible increases in consumption due to growth a project with a long payback can soon become more attractive.

And when you do invest, continue to keep track, use an element of measurement and verification to show what savings are being achieved - without a doubt this will help with future investment decisions if savings are visual. 

This is the fourth post of five, in the final post tomorrow I'll be considering the sign off process and sharing some experiences to date of working in different sectors.

If you would like to know more about ESOS and can't wait for the next post you can get in touch via LinkedIn or via our website www.digitalenergy.org.uk or feel free to twitter @digitalenergyUK.