Green energy award finalists show way to low-carbon economy
Post Date: 20 April 2012
Eight pioneering initiatives from across the UK have been chosen as finalists for this year’s Ashden Awards, all of which demonstrate how switching to local sustainable energy can help economic recovery as well as fighting climate change.
Sarah Butler-Sloss, founder director of Ashden, the world’s leading green energy awards, said that the finalists “offer a glimpse of what a thriving low-carbon economy will look like in the future. In these tough times they are creating green jobs, bringing communities together and reducing fuel bills in homes, schools, hospitals and historic buildings".
She said that the point of the awards was to share the lessons they have learned so they can be replicated far and wide.
Now in their 12th year, the Ashden Awards champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives in the UK and developing world.
The Ashden Award 2012 UK finalists are:
- Ellergreen Hydro, for building micro-hydro projects in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales by employing skilled local tradespeople and recycling 1930s Gilkes turbines. Over two years it has constructed five projects with a total capacity of 620 kW, and 17 more are in the pipeline.
- Energy4All in Cumbria, which manages eight co-operatives with 7,690 members, who collectively own over 20MW of capacity in UK wind farms, which in 2011 generated over 45 GWh of electricity, saving 19,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
- Perdiswell Primary School in Worcester, for its ‘Switch Off’ campaign, which has reduced electricity use by 18% since 2008 by using pupil power to check people are closing doors and switching off lights and computers. This is also mobilising parents to follow suit at home.
- The National Trust, which has cut energy use in its Wales region by 41% over just two years, demonstrating that even the most sensitive historic buildings can be made much more energy efficient. Its success is put down to a combination of efficiency measures, sustainable heating technologies and culture change.
- Parity Projects, a family-run company in the South West, which is helping home-owners and social housing providers gear up for the Green Deal by offering tailor-made advice by utilising home visits and its own specialised software to project costs and savings for different retrofitting options. So far over 700 households and 17 social housing providers covering 240,000 homes have been assisted.
- Selwood Academy secondary school in Frome is using boiler upgrades, new windows, better metering and changing behaviour to save energy. After installing an energy monitor at the school and explaining it to the pupils, over 40 youngsters have now also persuaded their parents to install them.
- Student Switch Off (Neil Jennings Associates CIC), which is harnessing student silliness to take simple steps to save energy, including wrapping up warm, switching off lights and using lids on saucepans, so helping participating UK universities to keep a lid on their fuel costs. Last year it helped participating universities cut electricity consumption by over 7%, saving £232,000. 43 universities and 18,000 students are involved so far.
- University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM), which has achieved cuts of 28% in CO2 emissions over the past five years, thereby freeing up funds for patient care. Biomass boilers, heating system upgrades, new lighting, windows and insulation combined with staff behaviour change have all been implemented in a model that is eminently replicable across the NHS.
On the day before the award ceremony (which is on 30 May 2012), on Tuesday 29 May, the Ashden Conference, Sustainable Energy for All, will take place at the Royal Geographical Society in London, where some of the UK and international finalists will speak about their work, along with a panel debate and discussions. Speakers will include Jonathan Porritt and Richendra Van Leeuween from the UN Foundation.
Story: David Thorpe, News Editor