As part of its 25-year anniversary celebrations, the National Energy Foundation has run a number of awards this year. The results were announced at a recent ceremony hosted by Dame Mary Archer.
The aim of the awards is to reward and recognise individuals, organisations, initiatives and projects for delivering sustainable energy at a local level and, as a result, bringing both social and environmental benefits.
The Foundation has worked in partnership with Ace (Academy of Champions for Energy) on three of the awards. Ace is funded by the INTERREG IVB NWE programme and is currently running in Ireland, Southern England, France, Belgium and Holland. It aims to promote renewable energy and energy transition, and hopes to achieve this through the development of the transnational academy, bringing together public and private agencies to champion sustainable energy. The winners of these three awards have been invited to join Ace and become Ace energy champions. Similar awards are being presented in other regions of Europe. Winners from across the area now qualify to enter the high-profile European Academy Awards, where the jury will be made up of representatives from each of the partner countries, and the finale will take place in one of the partner EU countries.
The fourth award was a special National Energy Foundation award for landlords of domestic or non-domestic properties from across the UK, and sought to recognise those who had helped their tenants save, manage and generate energy.
The winners in each category were exemplary projects and received a trophy and five days of FREE National Energy Foundation support.
Presenting the awards, Dame Mary Archer, President of the National Energy Foundation, commented:
“As someone whose interest in energy goes back to 1987, and having a deep appreciation of the importance of the use of energy in communities and buildings, I’m delighted to be able to present these awards. In particular, it’s encouraging to see so much innovation taking place in this area, and it’s a pleasure to recognise projects that make a significant impact locally and reward those who have had the inspiration and determination to put them into practice.”
Community Based Renewable Energy Project
Winner - Energy Alton. The judges felt that this project demonstrated a clear commitment to engaging the community and securing local support for the project. They started out with a community DIY insulation programme, distributing over 4,500 rolls of insulation, with the incentive of installing a solar PV array on a community building as a reward for the collective effort. The PV system not only generates income to support further community projects, but was installed on a building where it would have high visibility and educational benefits.
Highly Commended - Low Carbon Hub. The judges were impressed by the way the project partners with a wide range of local organisations to raise finance to install renewables via its innovative community benefit business model.
Climate Neutral Village
Nominated to go forward to the international awards for this category is Low Carbon Hook Norton. The judges noted that this initiative is working to become an exemplar of an environmentally sustainable community through reducing carbon footprints on an individual and local level. From renewable energy generation and low-carbon housing development, to running a rolling retrofit loan fund, setting up low-carbon car clubs and collecting waste-oil biodiesel; you name it, they’re doing it.
Energy Smart Initiative by a Local Authority
Winner – Cherwell District Council (for the Eco Bicester initiative)
This project was voted the winner by the attendees at the awards ceremony after representatives of each of the projects gave a presentation.
Two entries were highly commended:
Milton Keynes Council (for the Carbon Off-Set Fund project)
East Hampshire District Council (for Whitehill & Bordon Green Town)
Energy Champion Landlord
Winner - Alliance Homes housing association. The judges felt that Alliance Homes had taken action in relation to both its existing and new-build stock, installing energy efficiency improvements, setting up a PV framework and delivering Code 6 homes. It has tackled its own energy usage, achieving ISO 14001 in 2012. But most importantly, it has demonstrated the replicability of its approach and expanded its impact by developing framework contracts which have been accessed by over 20 other social landlords.
Highly Commended - Walsall Housing Group. The judges commended this project for its eco-improvement programme, which has taken a tenure-blind approach and involved the installation of a communal ground source heat pump and investment in a BREEAM-excellent head office.
Commended - London & Quadrant Housing Association. The judges admired this project’s EnergySave programme has equipped 20,000 vulnerable residents with tailored information and resources to help them deal with rising energy prices and tightening budgets.