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 School of Geography and the Environment

7 November 2011


ECI's first commercial spin-out is energy-saver for business

The latest spin-out from the University of Oxford, and first from Environmental Change Institute - Pilio Limited - provides a cost-effective online tool enabling small and medium businesses to monitor and manage their energy usage. The tool can enable savings of up to 40 per cent from energy bills.

Pilio’s online energy monitoring tool, sMeasure, was developed and piloted at the University’s Environmental Change Institute as part of a research project funded by the UK Energy Research Centre looking at ways to Pilio reduce energy demand. It has been available online for three years and in the last year has been used by over 400 businesses to monitor their energy use.

sMeasure works by combining two sets of data: gas and electricity meter readings provided by the customer and weather data, to accurately assess a building's energy efficiency. It requires no additional meters or devices.

Pilio CEO Catherine Bottrill said: "Energy costs are going up significantly this winter. Many businesses will be looking for a way to save money."

"sMeasure allows companies to implement their environmental and energy policy. We have kept the cost for our customers low at a subscription of £120 a year per building. Using the tool requires only 5 minutes a week to input meter readings."

"sMeasure helps companies to use their own common sense to stop energy being wasted in their buildings. They can look at their patterns of energy use over time so they can spot peaks, troughs and abnormalities, which will alert them to problems with their building control settings or prompt them to carry out maintenance work."

Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, Chris Cotton, said: "We have used SMEasure for the last 3 years. It is an inexpensive, simple to access and extremely effective tool to allow those running businesses get a snapshot of their energy consumption over a day, week or year and then take appropriate action to improve efficient use of energy."

Managing Director of Isis Innovation, Tom Hockaday , said: "Pilio, with sMeasure, is a great example of how Isis makes innovative technology from the University accessible for the benefit of business and the environment. We’re delighted that Pilio’s service is already proving its value, and that the company is now able to take the next step in its development."

Pilio’s UK clients include Greater Authority of London, Julie’s Bicycle, Ebico and Severn Wye Energy Agency. sMeasure is expanding into the US market as part of the Innovator Pilot Project with Sierra Business Council. This project is supported by Pacific Gas and Electric, the largest utility in the US. Over the next year, the company aims to increase the number of UK and US SMEs it works with four-fold.

Pilio has spent one year as part of the Isis Innovation Software Incubator, and has been supported by a £15,000 investment of working capital from the Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund, also managed by Isis. Companies can visit the Pilio website and get a free 30 day trial of sMeasure. No downloads or kit are necessary.

The company is named Pilio, after a small butterfly, and symbolises the positive effect that informed energy usage could have on the environment.

Screenshots from Pilio's sMeasure website follow: