Sustainable Energy Academy/United House
UK Gold Award
Breaking down barriers to insulating hard-to-treat homes
One in three homes in the UK have solid walls, the majority of which can’t be fitted with external insulation for either practical or planning reasons. Yet installing internal wall insulation is expensive and disruptive for residents.
The Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA) has teamed up with social housing contractor and developer United House to offer a safe, low-fuss measurement and installation process that allows solid-walled properties to be rapidly insulated. Using laser scanning and other standard building trade technologies in a novel way, costs are reduced by at least a fifth. With rooms insulated in a matter of hours, residents usually don’t even have to move out to allow the work to happen.
IMPAX Ashden Award for Energy Innovation
Innovative ventilation and cooling system
Cooling and ventilating commercial buildings is a major money- and energy-drainer. Buckinghamshire-based Monodraught’s COOL-PHASE® low-energy cooling and ventilation system reduces the running costs of buildings and creates a fresh and healthy indoor environment.
Through its novel application of phase-change material (PCM) technology in a thermal energy store, temperatures are maintained within a comfort zone, while energy consumption is reduced by up to 90% compared to conventional cooling systems. Indoor air quality is also improved as the system monitors and responds to CO2 and humidity levels.
To add to those benefits, COOL-PHASE® also removes the need for energy-intensive compressors or outdoor machinery used in traditional air conditioning units.
National Energy Action
Award for Training and Capacity Building
Training the foot soldiers of the green energy revolution
National Energy Action has set the quality benchmark for training in the kind of jobs that will be increasingly in demand as we make progress towards our low-carbon future. As well as offering short courses and tailored training in renewable energy and energy efficiency advice, by working with leading accreditation organisations such as City & Guilds, NEA has played a pioneering role in professionalising the sector. So far more than 16,000 people have gained City & Guilds qualifications through NEA in renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1989, some of whom have gone on to become leading experts in the field.
And with train-the-trainer courses, online learning and graduate trainee schemes being developed and launched, NEA continues to develop new approaches to spreading skills even further.
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network
Award for Community Energy
Creating an energy-smart town
Cornwall has some of the best renewable resources in Europe, including sun, wind, tide, wave, geothermal and biomass – and yet most of the energy that towns like Wadebridge use comes from centralised energy companies.
Since its creation in 2011 this co-operatively owned social enterprise has rapidly galvanised residents and businesses in the 8,000-strong Cornish market town to get involved in generating their own energy – and saving energy.
With one in ten people in Wadebridge now members of WREN and small business from bike shops to laundrettes installing renewable energy, the town provides a shining example of how people can take back control of their energy, increase self-reliance and tackle climate change – and save money to boot.
Innovative ventilation cuts fuel bills
Cold draughts in heated buildings contribute to rising fuel bills as occupants rush to turn up their heating. Cambridge University spin-off Breathing Buildings has solved the problem by expertly designing a natural ventilation system that minimises energy use and improves air quality inside buildings. Cooling buildings in summer, in winter the systems mix incoming cold air with warm indoor air to create a comfortable environment to work in. Close monitoring of air quality and temperature also enables the system to respond automatically to keep occupants comfortable.
Since its commercial launch in 2007, Breathing Buildings has installed over 1,000 systems in buildings ranging from schools to supermarkets, helping them keep a lid on fuel costs and CO2 emissions.
Managing variability in energy demand
Around a tenth of the UK’s electricity capacity comes from highly polluting and expensive ‘peaking power stations’, used by National Grid to ensure blackouts don’t happen during times of peak energy demand.
KiWi Power works with clients to enable them to benefit from a National Grid scheme which pays companies to turn down non-essential power during spikes in demand. This helps reduce strain on the national electricity supply while potentially reducing CO2 emissions by reducing the use of carbon-intensive peaking power stations.
As well as helping clients work out where their power can be safely reduced at times of peak demand, KiWi Power provides detailed energy use monitoring, which helps show where energy consumption could be reduced.
Winning hearts and minds for community power
The community energy company Ouse Valley Energy Services Co. (OVESCO) is offering local residents the chance to invest in a naturally abundant local resource: the sun. So far it has installed community-owned solar PV installations on the roofs of a school, a farm, a nursery – and the town’s local brewery. With a minimum threshold for investment of just £250, OVESCO has made investment in renewable energy accessible to the many, rather than the few: nearly 250 proud share-owners in the East Sussex town now stand to benefit financially from their investments, while developing a deeper relationship with their energy use.
As well as helping several other communities follow in its footsteps, OVESCO is also developing a larger solar PV installation in the area.
This year our UK Awards included the Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation