Conserving energy and our heritage
The National Trust has cut energy use in its Wales region by a massive 41% over just two years, demonstrating that even the most sensitive buildings can be made much more energy efficient. Secrets of success include a combination of efficiency measures, sustainable heating technologies and culture change. As well as cutting down on energy use it has also installed renewable sources of energy, including solar PV and hydro power.
Winner – Gold Award
Communities take ownership of sustainable energy
Energy4All demonstrates how communities can be inspired to take ownership of sustainable energy. This Cumbria-based company manages 8 community-owned co-operatives with 7,690 members, who collectively own the equivalent of over 20 MW of capacity in UK wind farms. In 2011 the wind farms generated over 45 GWh of electricity, saving 19,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Award for sustainable energy finance supported by
A rational approach to retrofit advice
This South West London-based company is helping home-owners and social housing providers gear up for the Green Deal by offering tailor-made advice on how best to reduce their fuel bills while doing their bit to tackle climate change. The team first visits to properties to take measurements and find out how clients use their buildings, then inputs the information in to its own specialised software which projects costs and savings for different retrofitting options. So far Parity has given advice to over 700 households as well as 17 social housing providers covering upwards of 240,000 homes, as well as training over 500 people in retrofit.
Student Switch Off (Neil Jennings Associates CIC)
Keeping a lid on fuel costs
Student Switch Off 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. Through its inventive use of social media, peer-to-peer engagement and student-focused incentives, this exciting initiative last year helped participating universities cut their electricity consumption by over 7%. Some 43 universities and 18,000 students are involved so far.
University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM)
Energy savings release resources for frontline services
By investing money to save energy and winning the hearts and minds of staff, UHSM has achieved a reduction of more than 35% in electricity and gas use over the past five years, this year saving some £390,000 on fuel bills. With new technologies such as biomass boilers, heating system upgrades, new lighting, windows and insulation combined with staff behaviour change, the hospital’s logical approach to retrofit is eminently replicable across the NHS.
UK runners-up 2012
Creating a flourishing micro-hydro culture
Ellergreen Hydro is harnessing the natural resources of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales with a new approach to building micro-hydro installations. By employing skilled local tradespeople and recycling 1930s Gilkes turbines it’s keeping quality high and costs down, while avoiding harmful environmental impacts. Over the past two years it has constructed 5 hydro projects with a total capacity of 620 kW, with a further 17 due for completion over the next three years.
Perdiswell Primary School
Using pester power to cut carbon
Since its inception in 2008, Worcester-based Perdiswell Primary school’s ‘Switch Off’ campaign has achieved an impressive 18% cut in electricity use. Policed by pupils, who check people are closing doors and switching off lights and computers, this forward-thinking school is also mobilising parents to save energy in their own homes.
New technology, changing behaviour
Selwood Academy in Frome is halfway through a ten-year plan to improve sustainability, with key steps including boiler upgrades, new windows, better metering and changing behaviour to save energy. After installing an energy monitor at school and explaining it to the pupils, over 40 youngsters have now also persuaded their parents to install them. The school has also fitted solar PV panels, with several pupils’ households following suit here too.