The EU Energy Efficiency Directive defines energy audits as "systematic procedures" used to identify, quantify and report existing energy consumption profiles and energy savings opportunities in buildings, industrial or commercial operations or installations, and in private or public services. Energy management systems (EMS) are defined as sets of elements of plans establishing energy efficiency objectives and strategies to achieve these objectives. Energy audits are an integral part of energy management systems. The Directive requires MSs to promote high-quality energy audits in their territories and ensure that their large enterprises are subject to regular energy audits at least every four years.
The Directive thus differentiates clearly between the requirement for MSs to promote and encourage the use of energy audits in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), households and other small end-users, and the requirement for MSs to oblige large enterprises to carry out regular energy audits. For SMEs, households and all smaller final customers, MSs must promote the availability of high quality, cost-effective energy audits, inter alia by developing programmes to encourage SMEs to undergo energy audits and implementation of the recommendations resulting from these audits.
In addition, MSs will establish advice and awareness-raising programmes to inform households of the benefits of energy audits. For large enterprises, however, MSs must ensure that they carry out energy audits of their buildings and installations at regular intervals not exceeding four years, starting from 5 December 2015 at the latest.
National legislation to transpose the energy audit obligations for both SMEs and large enterprises, including all necessary regulations and administrative provisions, had to be brought into force in MSs by 5 June 2014. Penalties for non-compliance with the obligations on large enterprises to carry out energy audits must also be communicated to the Commission by that date.
For reporting, MSs will inform the Commission on a regular basis of the total number of energy audits undertaken in their territory and complete an inventory of the number of obligated large enterprises in operation, as well as the number of energy audits carried out in these enterprises. MSs must also include information on the available qualification, accreditation and certification schemes for the providers of energy audits in their National Energy Efficiency Action Plans. Article 16 of the EED requires MSs to ensure the availability of these schemes by 31 December 2014 for providers of energy audits and for energy managers and, if necessary, to establish suitable training programs for them.
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