Many firms are well aware at this stage that the first deadline for the Energy Audit Scheme (EAS) is 5th December 2015. With many firms having yet to complete these audits there will be in no doubt a rush towards completion in the next few weeks and firms may find it difficult to find an available auditor.
Background and Requirements of EAS
In order for the European Union (EU) to meet its binding energy efficiency and emission targets, measures have been identified that are required to be introduced by member states. The EU EED is part of the EU’S action plan to address global warming. Measures placed on member states by the EU cover activities in the public sector, utilities, buildings, transport, financing of energy use in large enterprises. This Directive has been transposed into Irish law as Statutory Instrument (SI) 426 of 2014. Part three of this legislation covers energy audits and Article 8 of the Directive places the requirement for mandatory energy audits on large undertakings:
EED Article 8, section 4: “Member states shall ensure that enterprises that are not SMEs are subject to an energy audit carried out in an independent and cost-effective manner by qualified and/or accredited experts or implemented and supervised by independent authorities under national legislation by 5th December 2015 and at least every four years from the date of the previous energy audit.”
In Ireland, these enterprises are defined as:
- Public bodies with a useful floor area of more than 500m2 or an annual energy spend of more that €35,000
- Companies that are not SMEs, i.e.
- Organisations that employ 250 employees or more
- Have an annual turnover in excess of €50 million
- Have an annual balance sheet total in excess of €43 million
Road to Compliance
Having identified whether EAS is applicable to your organisation, there are a few ways to become compliant:
- Large organisations must carry out an energy audit. This audit must account for at least 70% of energy usage over a 12 month period.
- Demonstrate that they are implementing an energy or environmental management system*.
*This system must be certified by an independent body according to the relevant European or International standards. They must then be able to demonstrate to the SEAI that the management system concerned includes a specific and detailed energy audit element.
However, in Ireland there are two ways large organisations can become exempt from EAS:
- If they have an energy management system certified to ISO 50001 (organisations must ensure that the certificate is valid) or an environmental management system certified to ISO 14001 and an energy audit has been conducted which meets the criteria for a high energy audit, the scope of the management system must cover at least 70% of energy usage and the audits conducted must meet the requirements of Annex VI of the Directive.
- Organisations hold a Greenhouse Gas Permit (GHG), which covers at least 70% of the organisations energy usage.
Those firms who qualify for EAS but are not exempt must meet the minimum requirements of a high energy audit, which are as follows:
- Carry out an audit based on up-to-date measured and traceable data. This must be based on a 12 month period and be no older than 24 months. This would exclude any audit that may have been undertaken more than 36 months ago.
- Include a detailed breakdown of energy consumption associated with buildings, industrial operations or installations and transport.
Organisations should ensure that the auditor they use to carry out the high energy audit is a Registered Energy Auditor that is listed on the SEAI Energy Audit Scheme database. The audit itself must be signed off by a senior internal authorised signatory e.g. CEO or Senior Director.
Any organisation that has yet to complete their first audit under EAS should really get the process under way if they want to meet the 5th December deadline. Luckily for those organisations that do not meet the 5th December deadline, they will not be penalised this year. It is planned that compliance assessments will begin in 2016 and penalties as provided for in the legislation will be introduced at this time.
However, it is important that organisations retain records and the auditor’s report on file to be in a position to demonstrate compliance with the 5th December deadline.
There are many benefits to be reaped by organisations by completing the Energy Audit Scheme, many take the form of cost savings, including reducing the organisation’s energy costs and reducing their carbon footprint.
We at Antaris Consulting, can help you to remain compliant with this legislation in one of three ways:
- Implementing ISO 50001 Energy Management System across your organisation
- Providing detailed energy audits to identify your areas of usage and opportunities for improvement, and assist you in reporting to the regulator
- Providing you with the comprehensive lead auditor training necessary for you to conduct your own energy audits, available here.