For many industrial firms, this year has been one of catching up with the requirements of ESOS, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme, and key issues have ranged from air compressors to HVAC.

The Carbon Trust has been working with what it calls ‘stragglers’, the companies that were not able to meet their obligations ahead of the deadline on December 5th 2015, and many of those will have faced action from the Environment Agency for dealing with the matter too late.

In an update published earlier this year, the Carbon Trust said that the majority of organisations affected had at least submitted their compliance packs – a positive step towards full compliance.

Manufacturing businesses and industrial processes were among the largest components of the work carried out, and there were many common areas where energy could be saved, including air compressors.

The Carbon Trust said: “Though we often found that efficiency could be improved in steam systems, compressed air, motor efficiency and motor control (including the use of variable speed drives), the most common recommendations for improvements were still in lighting, metering and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant control.

“These are all key operational technologies that are well understood by many businesses, yet we were still able to identify average savings of 23%.”

Although firms may be facing enforcement action for not carrying out an ESOS assessment, there is no requirement to act on the recommendations made – at least, not purely to comply with the regulations.

However, the Carbon Trust claims that for those firms who implement the recommendations made in their ESOS evidence pack, from air compressors and HVAC, to transport, heating and lighting, the average time to achieve a positive return on investment is less than three years – just in time for the next mandatory ESOS deadline in 2019.