With commercial energy rates perpetually rising and an increasing emphasis placed on eco-friendly industry practices by the government and the media, businesses are under growing pressure to become greener. Yet surprisingly, many business owners are still neglecting the opportunity for considerable financial savings through energy efficiency measures.

And with less than 1% of eligible companies filing for ESOS assessments before the start of the summer, it appears many large companies may be unaware of the importance of this scheme and the consequences of failure to comply.

Unsure whether your business needs to comply with ESOS? Let’s help you get to the bottom of what this scheme is all about.

What is ESOS?

Established in 2014, the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme was conceived to increase awareness of energy consumption in industry, and encourage businesses to take action to reduce their carbon emissions. The ethos of the scheme promoted by the government emphasises that initial costs will be recovered rapidly if your company implements the necessary energy-saving measures.

ESOS involves an audit every four years measuring total energy usage throughout your business. The assessment identifies specific areas of significant energy consumption and subsequently suggests appropriate solutions to increase efficiency in these areas.

Who does ESOS affect?

Identifying whether your business needs to comply with ESOS can be complicated. As a general overview, large undertakings, companies and organisations with over 250 employees, an annual turnover exceeding £35 million, or a balance sheet exceeding £30 million will fall under the ESOS remit.

If you’re unsure whether your business fits the somewhat complex ESOS inclusion criteria, an independent renewable energy consultancy firm can advise you accordingly.

The importance of compliance

Until now, reducing carbon emissions has been largely voluntary. However, soon penalties will be brought in for those businesses that fail to comply with ESOS standards. The deadline to submit paperwork of your audit is the 5th December 2015, so time is running out for new applications to contact an ESOS consultant.

After the audit an ESOS lead assessor will work alongside key teams within your organisation to identify opportunities to cut energy wastage and reduce overall costs. Further audits will then take place every four years.

For failing to complete the required stages by the deadline dates, businesses could face a fixed penalty of up to £5000 imposed by the Environment Agency, plus an additional £500 per working day. However, with the sheer number of companies seemingly yet to file for ESOS, it remains to be seen to what extent this will come into play.

The lack of businesses taking action to comply with ESOS measures to date could be down to the scheme being viewed as another costly government conformity exercise. However, this presents a real opportunity for companies to make significant energy savings, whilst doing their bit to promote green business practices. Consult a commercial green energy firm for more information on ESOS and how it can help your company power on through the 21st century.

This article was written by Kelly Gilmour Grassam with helpful information from GMI Energy. Kelly is a Yorkshire lass who loves exciting food in inspiring places. You can follow Kelly on Twitter @KellyGGrassam.