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Plug. Play. Pocket

MA 2022
energy, sustainability, SME, manufacturing, savings

The UK has set a net zero target for 2050. This includes all companies and SMEs, which make 99.9% of all businesses here. However, more than three quarters of UK based SMEs don’t have a credible plan in place to reduce their carbon footprint.

Bijli is a service that helps small-medium enterprises decarbonise their operations through the model of Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaaS) by driving ownership and reducing risks and upfront costs.

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During the course of our project, we conducted in-depth research spanning several sources including guides published by Carbon Trust and other similar organisations, conferences we attended by Carbon Disclosure Project and Ecovadis, and interviews with SMEs and Large Conglomerates.

During the later stages of our project, we adopted a ‘prototyping as research’ process, which actually pushed us to reframe our problem. Finally, we were able to test our prototypes with various stakeholders and develop them further.


From our research, we found that

  • SME owners take pride in ‘figuring out’ new initiatives or schemes for their business.
  • Decarbonisation is prioritised when clear business benefits are visible and quantifiable.
  • Dynamic business needs and a lack of ownership make it hard to sustain decarbonisation.
  • Business owners need more contextualised recommendations in order to decarbonise.

Prototyping & Testing

In our first prototype, we tried to calculate & contextualise the risks of not decarbonising for businesses. We learnt that SMEs are extremely present-focused or fighting fires as one respondent said hence future-proofing is not a concern. We also learned that cost and payback calculation is super important yet super hard for businesses. 


For our second prototype, we made a payback projection tool and we found that SMEs find it easier to trust the service when they understand how it works or almost can play around with it. However given the high upfront costs, they found the ability to finance the projects a major issue for them & one interviewee mentioned this to be the number one reason for projects not going through. 

Our third prototype helped companies plan decarbonisation in a step-wise manner providing loan & grant recommendations along the way. We learnt that even if the math works out they find owning equipment extremely risky and are bound by certain inertia that is only lifted when they do some trial and error. This follows also from our insights from an expert who mentioned that when businesses see savings from the smallest of actions they are more likely to do the larger ones. 


Design Goals

The process of going from low cost to impactful is super useful hence we wanted to use it to create trust, we also needed to facilitate action at the earliest, the business case was critical in driving it; finally making it pragmatic was essential to making it work in real settings. Hence we formulated our design goals as

  1. Establish Trust in the Process
  2. Facilitate Action at the earliest
  3. Build the Business Case
  4. Make it Pragmatic

Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS)

With the goals in mind, we found an opportunity in Energy Efficiency as a Service. A model in which customers don’t pay for the equipment but only the energy savings while the contractor maintains, manages, and guarantees performance. This model eliminates upfront costs and financing issues, along with reducing risk. However when we talked to businesses about this there seemed to be a general distrust for the scheme as there was no guarantee of the savings, moreover certain equipment requires lots of pre-work & operational insight from companies even before it's installed, making the process even more cumbersome. 

How might we deliver energy efficiency in a way that is contextualised to each business and creates ownership for action?



Bijli sends an auditor to the business site to note requirements. After the auditor finishes the initial energy audit for a business and uploads the report to the Bijli console, Bijli sends insights to the SME owner and churns out kit requirements for its Sensor Vendors. The vendors then send sensors and energy monitors to Bijli, who then sends the kit to the client. After running experiments using the Bijli console and kit, Bijli churns out new insights and new requirements. These are sent to Energy Service Companies that can recommend bigger equipment, and the cycle repeats.

Business Model

Our Positioning

Currently, if business owners choose the route of doing energy efficiency for their own operations, they heavily rely on guesstimates and the work becomes assumption driven. If they hire a consultant, it becomes driven by granular recommendations. Bijli is insight-driven, so it creates ownership for the business owner whilst also working with insights from their experiments.

Stakeholder Value

  • Energy auditors get a steady stream of clients and are able to easily generate digital reports using Bijli
  • For sensor manufacturers, Bijli enables a new revenue stream, allowing them to extend an enhanced offering to their customers and making way for a predictable inventory
  • Energy Service Companies benefit from precise data for quotations, a marketplace to sell services, an integrated monitoring system
  • And lastly, an SME Owner can quantify cost savings and conduct step-wise decarbonisation with a service that is adaptable to their business needs

Revenue Model

Our revenue is largely derived from the subscription we offer to the SME business owners however we also have a number of additional revenue sources in the form of commissions and advertising for vendors on our platform. Our costs can be divided into software development costs with staff salaries. Hardware manufacturing, integration & warehousing costs, along with costs per user in logistics, customer service & installation. 


This project wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our tutor and mentor Neal Stone. We would like to thank Mr Ravinder Mattoo (Wollaque) , Mr Anil Kabra (Synpak) , Mr Neeraj Mittal (Plasmix) and Mr Manoj Pachisia (Origami) for allowing us the opportunity to record their interviews and provide valuable feedback on the project. We would also like to extend our thanks to Mr Paul Raindle, Dr Gowland, Clive & Carolyn for their unwavering support.

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