Energy-saving obligation: how to comply
- Margot Bogers
- How to
- 3 May 2023
- Edited 9 Dec 2022
- 3 min
- Managing and growing
Does your company consume more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas? Then you must take all energy-saving measures that you can earn back within five years. If you have an office building, you must ensure that it has at least energy label C from 2023. Get started immediately with the measures listed below to avoid fines or even mandatory closure of your office. What can you do yourself and what should you outsource?
To help combat global warming, the Netherlands wants to reduce carbon emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. By 2050, the aim is to cut carbon emissions by 95%. In order to make this happen, entrepreneurs will encounter an increasing set of measures and requirements. For example the energy efficiency obligation. This applies if your company consumes more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas per year. Rob van der Rijt, founder of Klimaatplein.com, does add that some leeway may be possible: "If you can show that you are planning a large-scale renovation (in Dutch), an exception can be made. After all, replacing your lighting with LED lighting now would hardly be cost-effective if you intend to renovate your entire building in two years, making the jump from energy label G to A."
Duty of disclosure
Does the energy efficiency obligation apply to you? Then you also have a duty of disclosure as of 2019. This means you are required to report what energy-saving measures you have taken. You can report what measures you have taken via the digital portal of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) (in Dutch). Not sure if you need to comply with disclosure requirements? Follow RVO’s energy efficiency obligation disclosure roadmap (in Dutch) to find out if you have a duty of disclosure.
In 2023, the government is broadening the energy efficiency obligation. If you have an office building with at least 100 m2 of floorspace, you must have at least energy label C. If the building has a lower energy label, it can no longer be used as an office building. You also risk a fine of up to €81,000. According to van der Rijt, “companies that still do not comply with the energy efficiency obligation after several warnings are already being fined."
The industry you are in determines which energy-saving measures you will have to take. On the website of RVO you can find official lists of energy-saving measures (in Dutch) for 19 industries, so you can find out exactly which requirements you and your company have to meet.
Note that investments in greening energy, such as solar panels or a heat pump, do not count as energy savings. Because they do not reduce your energy consumption. All approved measures actively contribute to reducing your electricity and/or natural gas consumption.
The time to act is now
Some of the measures you can implement yourself, others you will need to outsource. The sooner, the better. There is already a large shortage of installation technicians. This is expected to double to 40,000 in the coming years, says nu.nl. Due to this labour shortage, waiting times are mounting.
You can make your company significantly more sustainable by taking a few simple steps that will also help you reduce your energy consumption at the same time.
Install time switches
Install time switches on your lighting, ventilation, and heating systems to make sure that you are not unnecessarily heating or cooling the building when no one is there, and that the lights are not on when everyone has gone home.
You can also install time switches on other equipment, such as copiers and printers. These are often left on day and night, while older machines consume considerable amounts of energy even when idle.
Save on lighting
Replace your lighting with energy-efficient LED lights. LED bulbs last longer and consume 5 times less power than halogen bulbs. Install motion sensors to make sure the lights are only on when people are actually in the building.
If you have visitors or employees entering and exiting your building all day long, consider installing door closers on exterior doors to have them close automatically.
What to outsource
Complex or specialised energy-saving measures will have to be outsourced to professionals.
If your building is not properly insulated, a lot of heat or cold will be lost through the walls. Make sure to have your cavity walls insulated and insulate your hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.
Replace double glazing
Have single or double glazing replaced with high-efficiency glazing. If your window frames are also in need of replacement, opt for so-called HR+++ glazing. This type of triple glazing is the most energy-efficient option, but cannot be installed in window frames for double glazing. If your window frames do not have to be replaced yet, you can opt for HR++ glazing, which is a lot more efficient than regular double glazing and will fit your window frames.
Read more about making your business operations sustainable.
Take advantage of grants
All of these energy-efficiency measures cost money. Fortunately, the government has introduced several grant schemes to lend a helping hand.
Subsidy scheme for improving sustainability of SMEs
If you are looking to green your company but are not sure which measures will be most effective for you, consider bringing in an energy advisor for bespoke energy advice and support. The subsidy scheme for improving sustainability of SMEs reimburses 80% of the costs for advice and support, up to a maximum of €2,500.
Note: Apply for this grant as soon as possible, as the overall budget is limited. The deadline for applications is 17:00 on 30 September 2022. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency processes grant applications in order of receipt.
Energy-Saving Investment Credit
If your company is investing in energy-saving measures, you may be entitled to benefits under the Energy Investment Allowance (EIA). This scheme lets you deduct 45.5% of the costs resulting from investments in energy-saving measures from your profit, lowering your taxable profit and yielding an average benefit of 11%. Please note that the EIA only applies to measures that appear on RVO’s approved energy list (in Dutch) and can only be used for investments of at least €2,500. Read RVO’s full terms and conditions (in Dutch).
Find more energy-related subsidies.
FAQ's about the energy-saving obligation
That depends on your situation.
- There is one tenant in my building.
You are responsible for all energy-saving measures that the tenant cannot take, such as insulating the building envelope. The tenant must take all measures for which you, as the owner of the property, do not have to give permission.
- There are several tenants in my building.
As the owner, you are responsible for energy-saving measures. You must take all measures, except measures that can only be taken by the tenant. Consider, for example, energy-efficient printing and copying. The tenant is the owner of this equipment and is therefore responsible for making it more sustainable.
That depends on your situation.
I am the only tenant of the property.
As a user of the building, you must take all measures for which you do not require permission from the owner of the property. Consider, for example, replacing all lighting with LED lamps. The owner is responsible for energy-saving measures in the building that you cannot take as a user, such as insulating the building floors and walls.
I rent office space in a building with multiple users.
In principle, the owner of the building is responsible for energy-saving measures. Except when it concerns measures that you can only take as a tenant, such as energy-efficient printing and copying. As a tenant, you are the owner of this equipment. That makes you responsible for making it more sustainable.
Yes, you must also comply with the energy-saving obligation as a zzp’er, but only if you use more than 50,000 kWh of electricity or 25,000 m3 of gas. This is about as much as the annual consumption of 16.5 households. Check your energy consumption with your energy supplier.