Category Archives: News

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Avoid energy inaccuracy with Envantage’s Bill Validation Service

Our Bill Validation Service is an essential investment for large organisations to ensure you pay the right amount for the energy you use and do not fall victim to unnecessary costs due to errors either in-house or by your suppliers.

A comprehensive Bill Validation Service looks at energy consumption across your entire business, auditing and verifying all of the different utility invoices you receive to make sure that you are not paying twice for the same energy, and that your usage is being tracked accurately.

We do this as a fully outsourced service – so there is no administrative burden on your own in-house team, and we are able to provide the same standard of service for clients no matter how small or large your operations may be.

If you have struggled in the past to keep a close enough watch on multiple utility bills from different providers, or across different areas of your operations, an outsourced Bill Validation Service is the ideal way to get your utilities back under control and identify any unnecessary outgoing costs without changing tariffs or suppliers.

 

What is Envantage’s Bill Validation Service?

Our Bill Validation Service comprises a number of different steps and stages:

  • Collect energy usage information from all areas of your operations.
  • Audit energy figures and utility bills.
  • Query inaccurate invoices directly with your suppliers.
  • Identify and query inaccuracies in tariffs and standing charges.
  • Report back to you any anomalies we find.

We use advanced software to do this, allowing us to manage even very complex, large-scale and widespread bill validation projects, to create an overall utility bill profile that covers gas, water and electricity for each of your sites.

This profile can be broken down into each individual utility, each individual site, and also by contract terms, giving you unbeaten visibility into all areas of your operation’s utility usage and expenditure.

We can provide feedback on a monthly basis – giving you something similar to a credit report that shows you how well you are performing on utility costs, and confirms that we have eliminated any inaccuracies.

Best of all, as an outsourced service, we can liaise directly with your suppliers and take care of the on-site admin too, freeing up your own team to focus on your core business activities.Find out more in our Downloads section or contact Envantage today to discuss our Bill Validation Service on 0800 054 2577 or by email to savings@envantage.co.uk.


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ESOS Compliance – How Envantage Can Help

ESOS compliance should not be a burden – in fact when it is done well, ESOS compliance carries considerable added value as a way to reduce your energy spend and also your carbon footprint.

This in turn can unlock even more savings particularly for firms operating in energy-intensive industries where carbon offsetting costs are a concern.

But it is important to enter into your ESOS assessment with the correct approach in mind, so that you benefit from the maximum possible energy savings, and don’t just face added costs due to ESOS compliance.

Either way, it is important to make sure you comply with ESOS if you are a large UK-based organisation or a corporate parent group, as ESOS compliance is likely to be mandatory for you.

 

About ESOS

ESOS is the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and is mandatory for large UK firms and corporate groups. Failure to comply can lead to civil penalties and costly fines.

An ESOS audit will quantify the energy used by your company, from your premises to your transportation and any energy-intensive industrial processes, all with a view to identifying possible areas to make energy savings.

These savings are designed to be cost-effective for participating companies – you should not lose money overall – with a projected total saving of nearly £2 billion for UK businesses by 2030.

 

Envantage help with ESOS

Our expert team have already audited around one billion kWh of energy usage to ISO 50002 standard and we can help you with ESOS compliance too.

We can confirm that you qualify for ESOS and make sure that we add as much value as possible to your ESOS audit and compliance, with full support on any recommendations we make.

Our approved lead assessors take a business-focussed approach to minimise any fines you face and maximise cost savings and energy reductions, typically achieving in the range of 10-30%.

Clients benefit from our high-quality ESOS reports, delivered in a timely manner, to help tackle the most demanding of timelines when you need to catch up with your ESOS compliance obligations.

Find out more about ESOS and other energy efficiency schemes on our Compliance Management pages or visit our Downloads section for our PDF guides.

You can contact Envantage directly on 0800 054 2577 or savings@envantage.co.uk to arrange an ESOS audit or to ask for our help in determining whether or not your company qualifies for mandatory ESOS compliance.


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Demand Side Response – What is it and why?

Demand Side Response, or Demand Side Management, is a form of energy demand management that ultimately aims to make sure demand does not exceed supply at peak times.

This is in contrast to the more traditional technique of Supply Side Response, in which power stations increase their output at busy times.

In domestic energy terms, examples of the two different methods might include:

  • Supply Side Response: Power stations increase output at the end of a popular TV show when most households put the kettle on.
  • Demand Side Response: Tariffs like Economy 7 that charge households less for power used overnight, and so encourage them to use their heating and other utilities in these non-peak hours.

For businesses, of course, the stakes can be much higher, with financial incentives worth much more if you operate in an energy-intensive industry.

 

Why use Demand Side Response?

You might ask why businesses and even domestic energy users are being encouraged to use Demand Side Response tariffs for business energy and household supplies – and why the energy networks do not just adjust the supply as necessary.

The short answer to this is that it is more effective to combine both Demand Side Response and Supply Side Response methods so that supply and demand meet in the middle, rather than simply trying to provide as much energy as physically possible at peak times.

For businesses, DSR tariffs are a great opportunity to make substantial savings. By showing willingness to work with the energy suppliers on moderating your level of energy demand at peak times, the financial incentives you can receive in return are well worth looking into.

 

DSR as part of overall energy procurement

DSR tariffs do not have to work in isolation; they are part of a variety of ways to moderate your electricity demand, which can also reduce your reliance on fossil fuel derived electricity.

For example, you might want to prioritise DSR tariffs for your mains business energy power supply, while also incorporating green energy into your overall procurement plan for business electricity and other resources.

In this way, you can meet your environmental responsibility commitments, increase your use of renewables and decrease your demand for fossil fuels and business energy from the Grid – helping to improve your overall energy stability for the coming years, at a time when the margin between supply and demand in the UK is becoming tighter than ever.


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How Envantage can help you with energy procurement

The best energy procurement services can save your business huge amounts of money over the long term, with those savings starting from day one in a climate of high wholesale energy prices.

At Envantage we can help with business energy procurement by suggesting the best business energy tariffs currently available on the market and the kinds of deals that are worth making to lock in those prices.

If you want to retain some flexibility and freedom, that’s fine too, as we can offer flexible business energy procurement to give you the option of changing to a different tariff or supplier if your circumstances change.

Fixed energy procurement

Fixed business energy deals allow you to lock in the best business energy tariffs currently available on the market, by agreeing to a minimum term contract with your new supplier, or switching to a fixed tariff with your existing supplier.

This can help with long-term business expense planning, as you gain peace of mind that your wholesale energy unit price will remain the same for the duration of your deal.

Business energy procurement recognises that you will be buying in bulk – so with the right negotiations, backed by a fixed energy contract over a specific term, there can be substantial savings made by switching supplier.

Flexible energy procurement

We appreciate that not everybody wants to be bound by a long-term business energy supply contract, so if you prefer, we can arrange fully flexible contracts too.

These still allow you to benefit from the cheapest business energy tariffs at the present time, as well as negotiation over the amount of energy you will use and the best unit price.

But they leave you with control over when you switch again in the future – perfect for businesses with changing energy demands or if you don’t want to be tied to a single supplier for the foreseeable future.

Green electricity procurement

Finally, we can focus on green electricity procurement if you want to improve the environmental profile of your business energy use.

With the correct clean electricity procurement, you can arrange a supply that qualifies as certified low-carbon or even zero-carbon for the purposes of greenhouse gas reporting.Not all business energy products that claim to provide clean energy actually meet the reporting requirements – so to get the help of our experts on this and any general business energy procurement, contact Envantage on 0800 054 2577 or email savings@envantage.co.uk.


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Mandatory Carbon Reporting – what is it and does my business need to worry about it?

Mandatory Carbon Reporting dates back to mid-2012 when Defra announced that all business listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange would be required to report their greenhouse gas emissions, starting from the following financial year.

It was the latest in five years of efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, since the then climate change secretary Ed Miliband had set an ambitious target to cut total GHG emissions by a massive 80% between 1990 and 2050.

The Carbon Reduction Commitment for businesses was part of this too, and with the addition of Mandatory Carbon Reporting, the UK became the first country in the world to require its biggest businesses to calculate and report such data.

A further five years later, as the Climate Change Act 2008 marks its first decade anniversary, businesses of all sizes are now subject to a full raft of reporting requirements both mandatory and voluntary, covering everything from energy use and carbon footprint, to total GHG emissions.

How do I know if my business is affected?

Envantage can help you to decide which mandatory reporting requirements apply to you, as well as any voluntary reporting commitments you might want to sign up to.

Subscribing to voluntary reporting schemes can be beneficial for your business – it sends a clear message that you are committed to environmental concerns, and it can help you to make efficiency improvements in your energy and water consumption, as well as to identify the best green energy tariffs for your usage.

The exact reporting requirements that affect you typically depend on the size of your business, but there can be other factors too, such as whether you are listed on the LSE, or if you operate in a particularly energy intensive industry that has been singled out by the government to receive extra support.

Reducing energy consumption via ESOS

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme is a further mandatory energy audit for large British firms, which requires you to reduce carbon emissions while cutting operating costs where possible.

By 2030 it is expected to achieve almost £2 billion in energy savings, while those firms that do not comply could face fines and civil penalties – so it’s worth being on the right side of this trend too.

To speak to our experts about ESOS, CRC and whether you are affected by Mandatory Carbon Reporting, contact Envantage today and we can arrange the necessary energy audits to help you meet your commitments while improving your energy procurement and usage and cutting costs for the future.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/leading-businesses-to-disclose-greenhouse-gas-emissions


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Go-ahead given to Manchester CHP tower

An £18 million ‘tower of light’ that will provide combined heat and power (CHP) to iconic buildings in Manchester city centre received the go-ahead on March 8th.

Manchester Evening News political and social affairs editor Jennifer Williams tweeted from the council’s planning meeting as they debated the proposal, dubbed the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network.

If carried out as planned, it would see a 40-metre CHP generating tower built above ground adjacent to Manchester Central, the former GMEX exhibition centre behind the Midland Hotel.

This would then transmit hot water and electricity via two kilometres of pipes underground to the exhibition venue and the hotel, as well as to Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Central Library.

Manchester Town Hall, currently closed for refurbishment, could also be connected to the CHP Tower of Light’s output as part of its redevelopment.

The structure itself, meanwhile, would also serve as a kind of public art installation, a link back to the city’s industrial heritage capable of being illuminated in different colours using LED lighting.

In the March 8th meeting, planning officer Dave Roscoe called the plans “quite spectacular”, noting how the open design of the tower would allow passers-by to see its inner workings.

Councillor Mary Watson admitted that she did not understand how a CHP tower works, but loved the application anyway, calling the tower “beautiful” especially for its illuminated colour-changing ability.

And Councillor Basil Curley echoed her comments, expressing his own love for the pipework and an interest in learning more about how the tower would function.

With no objections from statutory bodies responsible for any of the nearby listed buildings – many of which would benefit from the eco-friendly heat and power generated by the CHP tower anyway – the application was granted approval.

Construction work is likely to begin quite soon, with the initial build of the tower expected to start in spring 2018, although the underground pipework could take up to 18 months to complete.

A £3 million contribution from the UK government will go towards covering the costs, while Manchester Town Hall will pay the rest before recouping the outlay in full from the heat and power generated on-site.

The 40-metre CHP tower should eventually stand sentinel to the left of Manchester Central’s front entrance, adjacent to the Metrolink line as it runs up to Deansgate-Castlefield.

Importantly, as the land is alongside the track, work should not mean interrupting Metrolink services, allowing the trams to continue running throughout the Manchester Civic Quarter Heat Network project.

If you have any questions about CHP or other energy topics covered in this blog, please call Envantage on 0800 054 2577.


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What’s your water management strategy?

A good water management strategy does more than just improve the sustainability of your business – it can also cut costs, giving a valuable boost to your bottom line.

But it’s about more than just reducing water consumption in businesses where your use of the resource may be more complex than most.

A good joined-up water management strategy will look at everything from where your water comes from – including ways to capitalise on the water that falls on your premises as rain – right through to the areas of water waste that you could cut back on.

Envantage offer ongoing water management strategy services to help drive cost savings not just as a one-off, but identifying more areas for more savings in the future too, while maximising your sustainability.

This can include such topics as:

  • detecting and repairing leaks
  • harvesting rainwater for direct reuse
  • employee engagement and workforce water strategy
  • limiting consumption using purpose-built devices

All of this can be integrated into your wider utility management strategy, helping you to meet your legislative and reporting requirements and recognising that water strategy plays a key role in this, alongside energy.

Benefits of better water management strategy

Prompt action on water procurement, use and disposal can have immediate benefits, as the sooner you improve your processes, the sooner you can start to cut costs and improve sustainability.

We may even be able to help you reclaim past water charges that were billed to you in error, if we can collate the necessary supporting information to prove a claim.

This can include areas like leakage, tariff errors, surface water charges and non-return to sewer fees, and professional help from Envantage can help you to navigate the burden of proof that is unfortunately part of the process.

Metered water management

Like the other utilities your business uses, we would recommend metered monitoring for water management, and our ENMAT solution is designed to incorporate water consumption alongside gas, electricity, compressed air, heat and steam.

It’s a cloud-based platform that can combine the data from your fiscal meters with sub-metering for a complete overview of all of your utilities, identifying and targeting areas where your business could operate more efficiently.

Again, a joined-up metered water management strategy gives you the most power when it comes to making savings, and ENMAT can work with existing installed meters, to ensure only minimal additional hardware is required.

Call Envantage today on 0800 054 2577 or email savings@envantage.co.uk to get in touch with one of our consultants and find out more about cutting costs, improving sustainability and optimising your water usage.


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Get ready for Business Clean Up Day on February 27th

Business Clean Up Day is an Australian initiative, but it’s one that companies the world over can use to inspire carbon reduction, energy saving initiatives and better procurement of electricity and water.

The organisers of Business Clean Up Day say that becoming a member of the low-carbon economy is an effective way to “capture the climate-conscious consumer”.

But of course it is also good news for the planet, whether you decide to clean up your own business premises and activities, or a nearby public park, beach or other communal space for the good of your neighbours.

And while the official Business Clean Up Day is on Tuesday February 27th, that should not stop you from holding your own event on a different day if it is more convenient for you to do so.

What can we do?

Give some thought to your own business and how you could clean up your practices, for example through green electricity procurement or more resource-efficient water procurement.

If you want to make an investment into your energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy generation is a good option, and could help to give your company more energy independence in case the mains supply is ever interrupted.

But you can also start relatively small, for example by giving staff a few hours out of the office to clean up the outdoor areas of your business premises and any nearby litter eyesores.

The list of case studies shared by the organisers includes several examples of companies doing just that – including one organisation that collects flotsam and jetsam from the beach and turns it into works of art.

Eliminating e-waste

Even if you can’t get out of the office – and it’s hard to predict what the weather will be like in late February – there are measures you can take from inside your own premises.

Display Energy Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates can help to identify any areas of potential energy savings, but you might want to start with your own email inbox.

Business data centres consume huge amounts of power, not only to keep equipment switched on 24/7 but also to keep it cooled, so eliminating redundant data is a great first step.

Encourage all your employees to clean up old items from their inbox and other email folders, empty their deleted items and junk folders of anything that’s no longer needed, and delete old drafts from their server space, and you could free up some valuable resources in your data centre in the space of an afternoon.

https://www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/about/about-the-event/clean-up-for-business


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ESOS Phase 2 update

You may have received the Environment Agency ESOS newsletter which was sent out earlier this month. We have received some queries relating to the information within the newsletter and hopefully, the details below will help provide clarification.

Please visit here for further details on ESOS qualification criteria:

What are the routes to ESOS compliance?

Answer:
1) ISO 50001 certification*
2) Display Energy Certificates (DECs)*
3) Green Deal Assessments (GDAs)*
4) ESOS compliant energy audits

*only a complete compliance route if covers 90 % of total energy – otherwise can be used as partial compliance only

Further details:
The most common route for compliance is ESOS compliant energy audits. It is the ESOS energy audit route that the attached newsletter relates to and further details on the timeframes for compliance via this route are detailed below.

What is the earliest date I can take action to comply with ESOS?

Answer:
Now

Further details:
You will not be able to assess whether you qualify for Phase 2 of ESOS until the 31st of December 2018 qualification date. Nor will you be able to carry out the assessment of which buildings or transport need to be included in your 90 % audit boundary.

However, if you are confident that you will qualify based on the qualification criteria and you know of certain sites or transport that will be included in your 90 % energy boundary, then it might be worth getting a head start. As detailed in the Environment Agency newsletter, the benefits of doing this are:

– Help with planning your energy audits
– Minimise disruption
– Minimise potential problems
– Potentially reduce costs
– Benefit from the survey opportunities earlier
– Greater focus on implementation

What is the latest date I need to take action to comply with ESOS?

Answer:
Audits must be carried out, written up, and signed off by no later than 5th December 2019

Further details:
The deadline for complying with the scheme is the 5th of December 2019. Before ESOS can be signed off, the below key requirements need to be completed:

1) 100 % energy consumption across buildings and transport quantified (based on 12 months including 31st December 2018)
2) 90 % energy boundary drawn
3) Audits carried out covering the 90 % boundary
4) Audit findings are written up
5) ESOS compliance signed off by lead assessor

During phase 1 of ESOS compliance, there was a high demand for ESOS auditors and lead assessors leading up to the final ESOS compliance deadline. This can result in increased costs due to high competition for ESOS support and can put pressure on companies to provide supporting information within tight timeframes. This also is likely to be the case as the phase 2 deadline approaches.

Next steps

To get a step ahead with your ESOS compliance, avoid increased costs due to high demand, and avoid pressure to meet deadlines within a tight timeframe, please contact Envantage to get your ESOS audits booked in now.

If you would like any further information on the above, or anything relating to ESOS in general, please contact Envantage and we will be happy to discuss any queries you have.


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Major retailer gets coveted A- forestry score with Envantage

 

A home shopping retailer has achieved the ‘Leadership’ A- score in the influential CDP Forests Program, sending a strong positive message to investors, after a strategy program undertaken with Envantage.

The company initially approached Envantage in 2015 about forestry disclosure, having little formal policy or planning in place.

Their sustainability credentials are now officially labelled as industry-leading by the CDP Forests Program (formerly Forestry Disclosure Project), with significant benefits for brand value.

Deforestation and forest degradation account for 10-15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and “is a real business risk”, says the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).

The CDP acts globally on behalf of investors who wish to understand how companies are addressing their exposure to such risks.

The major retailer has now successfully responded to stakeholder expectations.

Envantage’s consultants initially highlighted the positive actions that the company was already undertaking behind the scenes, and developed these into formal forestry strategies with appropriate teams and policies.

On this basis, the company achieved a good opening score of B when first reporting to the Forestry Disclosure Project in 2015.

By continuing to work with Envantage on effective reporting, they have now elevated their performance in 2016 to achieve the A- Leadership score – a well-deserved result and a resounding success.

Should you report to the CDP Forests Program in 2017, or boost your scores?

 

How Envantage can help

We will help you reach your targets and boost stakeholder confidence.

Envantage has extensive experience with CDP and forestry reporting, including for global companies, with an excellent track record of optimising the allocated scores and developing the necessary strategies.

To find out more, contact Envantage today. Call our consultants on 0800 054 2577 or email savings@envantage.co.uk.

 
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