Glass manufacturing giant NSG found a number of ways to help alleviate the “not insignificant” costs it was faced with in order for its UK manufacturing plants to comply with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).
ESOS was officially introduced late last year and mandates that any company of a certain size conduct an energy audit of its operations. NSG is one of the four largest sheet glass manufacturers in the world and maintains a large UK-based operation.
Speaking at last week’s edie Live exhibition David Cast, Manufacturing excellence and energy manager at NSG, said that the company’s overall energy use in the UK amounted to around 845GWh, resulting in an annual energy bill of circa £30 million.
Cast said that energy use had become the group’s “number one priority”, but that physically complying with ESOS had created complications due to having to retrospectively apply other works the group had achieved and apply them to the auditing and reporting framework.
NSG then identified several ways in which to reduce the cost of ESOS compliance, notably through identifying workarounds within the framework. Cast gave the example that NSG has 27 operational sites in the UK, however 96% of the company’s entire energy use comes from just 10.
NSG audited those ten sites instead of all 27, saving the firm on auditing expenses. Cast revealed that NSG had originally been quoted a six-figure sum by a third-party to conduct its ESOS compliance, and that NSG paid “not nearly that much” through various savings.
Cast’s criticism of the ESOS design extended to how deep the auditing process goes. “It [ESOS] doesn’t go deep enough, you have to dig deeper to find the real valuable projects,” he said.
Cast said he expected the second phase of the scheme, to be rolled out closer to the expiry of the initial four-year energy audits, to go far deeper, but added that NSG would intend for ESOS to be a “stepping stone” towards ISO50001 as the company looks to derive the “maximum benefit” from having to comply with the scheme.
“ESOS was a cost pain and a resource pain – you’ve got to get maximum benefit from it,” Cast said.