Energy management

Our approach to energy management

Energy consumption is our second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (8%). We’re continually striving to improve energy efficiency, limit consumption and reduce our related GHG emissions by investing in new technologies, process improvements and a renewable energy procurement strategy.

Since October 2007, for offices where we can control the energy supply, and appropriate renewable energy tariffs are available, we have purchased electricity from renewable sources (see Green tariffs and Market–based scope 2 emissions reporting).

And in January 2018, we switched from fossil fuel-based natural gas to biogas.  So now 100% of the energy we procure in the UK is from renewable sources.

Measures we use to minimise our energy consumption include:

  • Destination lift control software, maximising operating efficiency and reduces energy demand
  • Energy efficient IT monitors that switch to standby after a short period of non-use
  • LED lighting installations and zonal PIR / movement activated lighting controls
  • Thermostatic office temperature control and upgrades to building cooling systems
  • Upgrades to cooling and AHU plant across our estate
  • Multi-functional print and copy devices that switch to standby when not in use
  • Vending machines which go into sleep mode in periods of low demand
  • Energy audits to identify performance improvement areas
  • Online energy data collation, monitoring and analysis
  • Building Management Systems to monitor and regulate energy use
  • Participation in climate-change related events (e.g. WWF’s Earth Hour campaign)
  • A robust environmental communications programme to increase staff awareness of energy consumption and related impacts, encouraging behavioural change at work and at home

Our UK operations have been certified to the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon since 2010. This internationally recognised framework certifies that we have measured, managed and reduced our Carbon emissions across our operations, and are committed to reducing them year on year.

We were a full participant in the UK Government's Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) and comply with Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting requirements, in line with Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018.

Performance against our FY20 targets

Target - Reduce total energy (kWh) consumed by 5% per m2 (base year FY2019): In FY20 energy (kWh) consumption per m2 (electricity and gas combined) fell by 5.5%% compared to the base year (FY19). Total absolute energy consumption (kWh) also fell by 7.8%.

While some of this reduction is attributable to the effects of COVID-19 and subsequent closure of all UK sites from March 2020 onwards (i.e. covering the last 3 months of reporting period), this was also the first full reporting year in which EY has procured 100% biogas for its UK sites. There was also a significant programme of capital investment in energy efficiency initiatives which are expected to deliver future energy savings of approximately 1.6m kWh per annum at a capital cost of circa £6m:

  • All fluorescent fittings replaced with low-energy LED lighting throughout our UK HQ building
  • Lighting controls replaced with a Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) based system to switch off lighting to non-occupied areas and dim down when natural lighting is available
  • A new building management system installed to provide refined control of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and operate systems to suit occupancy times
  • Fan coil units (FCUs) upgraded, fan motors changed to EC type and automated speed control installed to operate the FCUs on minimum speed when possible

Even if / when occupancy levels in our buildings move closer to pre-COVID19 levels, we expect future reductions in energy intensity from continuing investment in upgrades to plant, equipment, lighting etc. in line with our ‘EY@Work’ refurbishment and workplace improvement strategy. Future initiatives will involve reviewing office space usage out of non-core office hours to reduce energy expended on heating, ventilation and cooling.

Target - Procure at least 100% of electricity from renewable sources (where consumed in EY controlled buildings and appropriate ‘green’ tariffs are available to purchase from energy suppliers): In FY20 99.97% of all electricity purchased direct from energy providers was under a REGO-backed renewable electricity tariff. The deviation from achieving 100% occurred due to the firm acquiring a new subsidiary business in Q3 with a pre-existing energy procurement arrangement. We will aim to move this to a renewable tariff when the existing supply contract allows. All other energy (including biogas) procured direct from energy suppliers in the UK is from certified renewable sources. This approach will continue for the foreseeable future as part of our overall energy procurement strategy.

Energy data

A comprehensive energy data table is available here (PDF, 21K). Please also refer to information on our emissions and our approach to environmental data measurement and reporting.