Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx)

The complete energy efficiency service helping organisations lower their energy use, while saving time and money

To drastically reduce our carbon emissions, we must quickly address the high energy usage of our buildings – increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy demand. We are thrilled to be a partner on this innovative project, supporting Oxfordshire SMEs to implement energy efficiency measures, reducing their costs and carbon emissions.

Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx) is a one-stop service, making it simple for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Oxfordshire to undertake energy efficiency improvements to make assured savings on their energy bills, reduce their carbon emissions, and improve the comfort of their buildings for staff or customers. 

We know that SMEs are often keen to undertake energy efficiency improvements in their buildings but struggle to find the upfront capital. That’s why we’ve built ‘assured savings’ into Energy Solutions Oxfordshire. Financial risk is removed through financing and loan opportunities for those upfront costs, with the payments covered through assured savings on energy bills.

If you’re interested in the service please head to the ESOx website and fill in our online survey as a first step – or contact our ESOx Business Development Manager, Richard Dorey to find out more.

How does the service work?

There are several stages to the process of having energy efficiency measures installed. Our role at Energy Solutions Oxfordshire is to act as the project manager for this process, taking the admin out of your hands to save you time.  We’ll oversee the process from start to finish, which includes the following steps (which are currently under development):

  1. Online survey: your organisation fills in a short online survey to give us initial information on your building and energy usage, allowing us to get an initial idea of whether it would be suitable for the project.
  2. Desk-top diagnosis report: we will generate a free report from the survey, outlining an analysis of current energy usage and benchmarking your building against others of a similar type. .
  3. On-site visit: if you decide to go ahead, we will conduct an on-site visit in order to create a bespoke proposal for energy efficiency improvements.
  4. Feasibility Report delivered: we will then deliver the bespoke report to you,  including broad indicative costs of installation, potential energy bill savings, and potential carbon savings. All work to this point is delivered without cost to you.
  5. Contractor(s) site visit: you can decide which of the recommendations you want to pursue and we will ask a number of contractors from our Approved List to carry out a site visit, to specify and cost the work accurately.
  6. Implementation Report delivered: this will provide a full financial case for the work you are considering implementing, including detailed information on our recommended measures, costs, and return on investment and the quotations from contractors, together with a Measurement & Verification (M&V) plan to measure the savings. A project coordinator will also be on hand to discuss this report and help you chose the best contractor for your project.  If you have indicated the need for finance it will include the loans available and their terms.  If you decide to go ahead the cost of the Implementation Report is rolled into your project costs.  If not, there will be a £1,000 charge for the detailed advice you’ve received.  However in the pilot first year phase of the project this abortive cost will be covered by our government funding.
  7. Implementation: if you decide to go ahead with some or all of the measures, we then project manage the process,liaising with you and the contractors to coordinate the implementation of the measures.  Our Contractor Manager will be on-hand to make sure the installation is high quality.   The project management charge will be 30% of the capital cost of the works, part of which will be paid in advance and the remainder on completion.
  8. Quality assurance: once any installations have taken place we will check the work has been well installed, before signing it off with you and the contractor..
  9. Hand over of equipment: Our Contractor Manager will ensure your staff are briefed about the equipment, how it works and how to efficiently control it. 
  10. Monitoring and evaluation: after implementation is complete we will monitor your energy usage for one year to ensure the promised savings are achieved.  If they aren’t met, we will investigate where the underperformance has occurred and either get the contractor to resolve the issue or provide additional support to make good the shortfall.  The cost of all of these last three services are covered by your project management charge.

How did the programme come about?

Energy Solutions Oxfordshire forms part of a wider project led by EnergyPro. They believe that the best way to engage organisations with energy efficiency work is through trusted, local support – equipping local community-based organisations with the knowledge and tools to deliver energy efficiency projects for organisations, based on internationally established good practice. 

They’re working on developing this toolkit, with the aim of rolling it out on a National scale to community-based organisations across the UK, via a franchise model. This would create a national network of ‘one-stop-shops’ across the UK, supporting SMEs to take up energy efficiency improvements.

This business model aims to prove that a local, trusted organisation can successfully deliver energy efficiency services to SMEs provided they are equipped with the right toolkit: standardised project development process, vetted technology partners and contractor, guaranteed savings and suitable finance.

Oxfordshire is the pilot area for this work, through the Low Carbon Hub involvement in the project, as well as the Oxford Brookes Environmental Information Exchange (EiE) team, who are providing energy auditing, feasibility, and project management. Together our two organisations are acting as the first ‘franchisee’ of this toolkit, setting up Energy Solutions Oxfordshire to deliver the service and test the model.

We already have a growing relationship with local businesses in Oxfordshire through running the OxFutures programme since 2017 – this initiative aims to boost the low carbon economy in Oxfordshire  through offering free energy audits to SMEs, as well as the opportunity to win grant funding to part-pay for implementation and innovation. ESOx allows us to offer an additional route to SMEs who are not able to provide the upfront capital to make use of OxFutures grants.

The project is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy through their Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency (BASEE) competition, which offered up to £6 million of funding for innovative solutions that reduce transaction costs and encourage the take up of energy efficiency by SMEs in the commercial and industrial sectors. This forms part of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy (2017), a commitment to enable businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.