Energy audit for more sustainability – obligation fulfilled and opportunities seized?


published on 16 november 2023 | reading time approx. 2 minutes
Germany aims to reach climate neutrality by 2045. This means complete decarboni­zation over the next two decades, including in the industry. The Energy Services Act (EDL-G) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) play a central role here. Many companies are aware of their responsibility and are willing to make changes. In order to achieve the targets, it is important to establish a sustainability management system, set ambitious goals and implement measures.

In view of increasing regulatory and social requirements, a comprehensive sustainability assessment is becoming increasingly important. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the Energy Services Act (EDL-G) are two key regulatory requirements that give rise to both obligations and opportunities for companies. For example, in Germany, the CSRD expands the user group for sustainability reporting from around 500 companies to an estimated 15,000 affected companies, which must report on the social, environmental, and economic aspects of their business activities. These measures are important steps towards achieving the climate neutrality targets.
The CSRD replaces the CSR-RUG (CSR Directive Implementation Act) previously applicable in Germany and will come into force in stages from 2024. The reporting obligation applies to companies that meet at least two of the following three criteria:
  • More than 250 employees on an annual average

  • More than €25 million in total assets

  • More than €50 million net sales

In addition, the European Union's Directive 2012/27/EU, which came into force in December 2012 and has since been revised, represents a common European target for increasing energy efficiency. As a result of this EU directive, there is a fundamental obligation for companies that are classified as non-SMEs to carry out an energy audit. Classification as an SME or non-SME is based on the number of employees, revenue and participation of public bodies or corporations under public law.

The German Energy Services Act (EDL-G) was enacted on the basis of the aforementioned directive, which has required non-SMEs to carry out an energy audit in accordance with DIN EN 16247 every four years since December 2015. Failure to comply with the legal obligation can result in a fine of up to 50,000 euros. Companies with a certified energy or environmental management system or an annual energy consumption of less than 500,000 kWh are exempt from this obligation.

Companies with low annual energy consumption (<500,000 kWh) or SMEs even have the option of voluntarily carrying out an energy audit and receiving a subsidy of up to 80 percent or a maximum of €6,000. The funding is granted within the framework of the funding guideline of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Export Control “Modul 1: Energieaudit DIN EN 16247 – Modul 1: Energieaudit DIN EN 16247” of 13.11.2020 (in German).
For measures and initiatives to make an effective contribution to climate protection and be credible, a systematic approach is of central importance. Here, the energy audit can be used as an initial method to identify the key areas for action and derive suitable measures. The energy audit is carried out in accordance with the energy audit standard DIN EN 16247-1 and therefore offers maximum transparency. For this reason, it makes sense to document the results of energy audits in sustainability reports.

Overall, energy audits support the goals of sustainability by helping to increase energy efficiency, conserve resources, reduce environmental impacts and promote long-term economic sustainability. This makes them an important tool for organizations that want to achieve their sustainability goals and can be used as the basis for sustainability reports.

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