Developing a new business model to boost access for SMEs to energy efficiency

ESCO-in-a-box a new platform for delivering energy efficiency projects for hard-to-reach businesses.

The project

SMEs need simple, low-risk energy efficiency projects delivered with trusted, local support.

The ESCO-in-a-box® model aims to demonstrate that a community-based organisation can deliver energy efficiency services to SMEs when they are equipped with the right toolkit: standardised project development processes, vetted technology partners and contractors, guaranteed savings and suitable finance.

A Community ESCO has been set up in Oxfordshire, Energy Solutions Oxfordshire, hosted by Low Carbon Hub using the ESCO-in-a-box system.

The ESCO-in-a-box operating system will be licensed to other organisations to serve SMEs in their area, creating a national network of ‘one-stop-shops’ for SME energy efficiency.

The vision

ESCO-in-a-box is an operating system for energy services, incorporating all the systems, processes and contracts needed to deliver efficiency projects to SMEs, based on internationally established good practice. 

The system is being targeted at organisations operating on a regional or market-segmented basis that enjoy trusted reputations among populations of SMEs and can work with them to systematically address barriers to uptake of energy efficiency solutions, and then deliver projects in a standardised manner using ESCO-in-a-box. 

These projects will be investment grade and accessible to financiers, making the customer proposition high quality, low risk and available at no up-front cost to the SME.  ‘Franchising’ the ESCO-in-a-box system provides scalability, and over time will create a national network of energy services companies (ESCOs) serving SMEs.


The Challenge?

SMEs are notoriously difficult to engage on energy efficiency

Delivery of de-risked energy efficiency projects is difficult and the conventional ESCO model is prohibitively expensive for small projects and clients.


How are we helping?

Project management of consortium including Low Carbon Hub and Oxford Brookes University

Development of an innovative contracting approach that enables ESCOs to offer an ‘assured saving’ to clients, making energy efficiency projects easier to adopt for SMEs

Building links with finance providers and other key stakeholders needed to mobilise projects.


What are the benefits?

Operationalised Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx), now actively working with SMEs in Oxon.

Our team

Alex has been an entrepreneur in the clean energy sector for around 15 years. He founded respected energy analytics business EEVS Insight in 2011 and has led a number of consultancy teams, advising corporate and public sector clients on energy strategies and developing innovative business models that make sense of energy efficiency. Alex holds a Masters degree in electrical engineering from Imperial College London and an MBA from Ashridge Business School, and is a Chartered Engineer. Alex has spent his entire career trying to address climate change, which he views as an unprecedented opportunity for creating a better, more equitable world. 

Ali has worked on energy efficiency in buildings for nearly a decade, primarily in New York City, and brings this insight into the UK market. Ali has worked in both the public and private sectors to bring about change in the way that buildings use energy. Ali holds a degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Lehigh University and a Master’s of Urban Planning from New York University. Before moving to London, Ali worked at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability where she managed programmes and worked on policy issues related to energy in buildings.

Armin is a multifaceted professional and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of international experience working on clean energy topics in public and private sector organisations. He is fluent in English, French and German, and maintains an extensive global network in the energy sector. Armin is passionate about the role of policies and governance in driving the transition to a sustainable, low carbon energy system.

Connor provides an interdisciplinary background ranging from data structures to environmental economics and sociotechnical change. Connor earned a First-Class Master of Natural Sciences degree for his novel research into market-based carbon accounting and corporate signalling at the University of East Anglia, where he founded and continues to support the “Any Last Words?” climate communication competition, highlighting a long-standing commitment to improve science communication and climate engagement as a public good. 

Contact us if you are interested in becoming a potential licensee of ESCO-in-a-box – especially Councils, Local Authorities, LEPs, Community Energy Organisations.