The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme – FAQ’s

Since the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme was introduced, we’ve had a variety of questions and enquires surrounding this UK scheme. With over 9000 of Britain’s biggest companies required to comply, we think knowing the facts is vital.

In addition to all our ESOS information, we’ve put together some Myths and Facts to clear things up!


ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme) is the UK scheme which encourages organisations to save both energy and money by identifying cost effective energy saving measures for buildings, industrial processes and transport.

This link will take you to the full government ESOS Guide

ESOS is targeted at large organisations which;

  • Have 250 employees or more


  • Have less than 250 employees but have an annual turnover exceeding €50m AND an annual balance sheet exceeding €43m


  • Are part of a corporate group which includes an undertaking meeting either of the above criteria

ESOS does not apply to the public sector.

You can still participate in an ESOS approach even if you are not obliged to do so as a large organisation. An ESOS style assessment will identify significant energy savings – and consequent financial savings. Alternatively, Ivy Link Partnership can provide a Free Energy Health Check with many of the same benefits.

ESOS will operate on a four year cycle.

The assessment period of energy use needs to include 31 December 2014, hence it needs to begin on or after 1 January 2014 and end before 05 December 2015, by which time a qualifying organisation will need to submit a formal notification to the Environment Agency that it meets the ESOS requirements.

(Organisations in the UK must assess whether or not they are required to participate in ESOS on the qualification date of each phase. The qualification date for the first phase is the 31st December 2014. In short, if you meet the above criteria on or by this date you will need to comply with the scheme.)

It is important to note that even if your organisation does not meet the thresholds stated above you also need to make sure that it has not met the threshold for the two prior consecutive accounting periods between 2011 and the qualification date of 31st Dec 2014. See Section 3.2 of the government guidelines for more information on “change of status” (two year rule).

The next deadline to note is 5th December 2015. This is when qualifying organisations must have carried out their ESOS assessments and advised the Environment Agency who is administering the scheme. Please see below for further details on ESOS administrators.

Compliance will be reported via an online notification system.

ESOS was devised by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to ensure that the UK is compliant with the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EU/2007/12).

The Environment Agency is the administrator for the whole of the UK, though there are also country-specific administrators:

  • England – Environment Agency
  • Wales – Natural Resources Wales
  • Scotland – Scottish Environment Protection Agency
  • Northern Ireland – Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • Offshore – Secretary of State via DECC Development Unit

  • Measuring total energy consumption
  • Identifying areas of significant energy consumption (which must constitute at least 90% of total energy usage)
  • A route to compliance; for example an ESOS compliant energy audit (see below)
  • Appointing a ‘lead assessor’ to undertake, review or oversee the overall energy assessment
  • Compiling an evidence pack.

Organisations which qualify must carry out ESOS assessments every 4 years.

Based on 12 months verifiable data, it must:

  • be for a continuous period
    • begin no earlier than 6 December 2011 for the first compliance period (and no more than 12 months before the start of future compliance periods)
    • begin no more than 24 months before the start of the energy audit
    • not have been used as the basis for an energy audit in a previous compliance period
  • contain energy consumption and energy efficiency analyses
  • include recommendations for cost effective energy saving opportunities (including estimated costs and benefits)

There is no regulatory requirement for participants to implement the energy saving opportunities identified, although clearly there are likely to be net financial gains for businesses in undertaking work on the most significant areas identified

Site visits will need to be undertaken as part of an ESOS audit. A typical onsite visit will take a full day and involve a suitably qualified energy auditor, who will assess current levels of energy efficiency across all usage facilities, including the obvious lighting, heating and cooling, and building fabric.

From the information & data gained they will identify areas for efficiency savings and generate recommendations. Auditors will need access to all areas and plant rooms, and will usually need to speak with employees who are directly involved with the management of energy.

Organisations with multiple sites or assets that are identical, or very similar, can take a proportionate approach and apply the energy saving opportunities identified to their wider portfolio to reflect the energy consumption patterns of the assessed assets and activities.

The environmental regulator is responsible for compliance and enforcement activities. The regulator may issue civil sanctions including some or all of the following financial penalties if an organisation does not meet the scheme’s obligations:

  • failure to undertake an ESOS Assessment incurs a penalty of up to £50,000 and an additional £500 per day per site (up to a maximum of 80 days)
  • failure to notify the Scheme Administrator incurs a penalty of up to £5,000 and an additional £500 per day per site (up to a maximum of 80 days)
  • failure to maintain adequate records to demonstrate compliance incurs a penalty of up to £5,000 and an additional £500 per day per site (up to a maximum of 80 days)
  • failure to comply with an enforcement, compliance or penalty notice incurs a penalty of up to £5,000 and an additional £500 per day (up to a maximum of 80 days)
  • making a statement which is false and misleading incurs a penalty of up to £50,000 and publication of details of non-compliance.

There will also be public disclosure of non-compliant organisations and details of non-compliance, which may well involve substantial reputational damage.

The scheme will allow use of some types of energy audits which have been carried out between 6th December 2011 and 5th December 2015, toward compliance for the first period (finishing 5th December 2015).

Organisations that qualify for ESOS and are fully covered by ISO 50001 will not be required to carry out an ESOS assessment. In these cases it will be necessary to notify the Environment Agency of compliance with ESOS through the appropriate ISO 50001 certification.

If only part of an organisation has ISO 50001 certification there will still be a need to conduct an ESOS assessment on the rest of the organisation for areas of significant energy use.

ESOS does not replace other climate change policies or energy efficiency schemes, so if your organisation qualifies for these schemes, as well as ESOS, it will need to comply with all.

Other UK climate change policies etc. include:

  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
  • Climate Change Agreements (CCA)
  • The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS)
  • Mandatory company reporting


As a completely independent and impartial support organisation, Ivy Link Partnership can:

  • Deliver high quality audit reports, with recommendations and costs, based on current market values and newest technology
  • Manage the ESOS process ‘from cradle to grave’
  • Use independent Lead Assessors
  • Ensure ESOS compliance within deadlines
  • Ensure economies of scale are utilised to their greatest effect on estates
  • Offer impartial advice and guidance to achieve greatest energy savings
  • Access a variety of finance options
  • Offer bespoke delivery and pricing models


I have further questions. Can I discuss ESOS with someone?


To discuss ESOS further, or find out how Ivy Link Partnership can support you, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Telephone: 01858 414 237 or Email: