Evaluating the Audit Requirement of the Energy Services Law

Along with the expansion of renewable energies, increasing energy efficiency is the second main pillar of the energy transition. The goal is to increase energy efficiency at the EU level by at least 27 percent by 2030.

To reach this goal, the European Union issued the energy efficiency guideline 2012/27/EU, which must be implemented by the member states. Art. 8 Para. 4-7 lays out the requirement for all enterprises that do not count as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to conduct an energy audit in line with the European norm (DIN EN 16247-1). The so-called energy audit requirement was implemented in German law as part of an update of the Energy Services Law (EDL-G) on 15 April 2016.

This requirement is also a part of the energy policy instruments bundled in the “National Action Plan Energy Efficiency” (NAPE) released in 2014. In this way, the Federal Government’s energy efficiency strategy also requires that all businesses that, per EU definition, do not count as SMEs must have carried out an energy audit in line with DIN EN 16247-1 or alternatively be able to provide a certification from an energy management system (ISO50001 or EMAS) by the end of 2016.

Energy audits assist businesses in uncovering and assessing possible energy saving and substitution measures aimed at the reduction of final and primary energy consumption. The implementation of measures proposed and listed in the audit report following the audit is not binding, but is of central importance for reaching the energy and climate policy goals mentioned above. A further energy audit is required of the enterprise in another four years’ time.

It is assumed that between 50,000 and 65,000 businesses nationwide fell under the EDL-G requirement to conduct an energy audit or establish an energy management system by the end of 2015. The degree to which these systems have spread, and the form in which they have become established in the enterprises is, however, unclear. It has been impossible to conclusively establish the extent to which the requirement has effected an actual implementation of energy efficiency measures, nor which additional energy efficiency potentials could be opened up by a more comprehensive dissemination of energy management.

To be able to make concrete statements on this matter, the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) commissioned adelphi and the Institute for Resource Efficiency and Energy Strategies (IREES) to analyse the development of the market and control the target achievement of legally binding energy audits since the introduction of the audit requirement for non-SMEs. The effect of the energy audit requirement on the objective of the NAPE and the development of the energy services market was investigated via a targeted survey of affected enterprises and stakeholders. 

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