2014 Ashden UK Award winners
UK Gold Award and Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation
Abundance Generation is revolutionising the way people invest for their long-term future. Its user-friendly crowdfunding platform lets people take control of where their money is invested by allowing them to put it directly into sustainable energy projects of their choosing. With a minimum investment of just £5, investors get a financial return and the feel-good factor of joining the growing renewable energy movement in the UK. Abundance is also plugging a gap in access to finance to small-scale renewable energy developers, so they can build more projects. So far this pioneering FCA-regulated company has helped over 1,000 people invest more than £5 million in renewable energy projects across the UK, with many more in the pipeline.
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Ashden Award for Reducing Fuel Poverty
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is on a mission to eradicate fuel poverty from the UK. As well as providing direct assistance to people at risk of fuel poverty in Avon and Somerset, it insulates large numbers of properties as well as offering advice and help in accessing funding and support. So far almost 100,000 fuel poor households have been assisted through this service. It also helps other organisations to tackle fuel poverty in their own spheres of influence with a range of freely available resources. Most impressively, CSE has been instrumental in driving forward the government’s fuel poverty agenda: amongst other successes, its model for assessing the impact of energy levies on the poorest customers has been adopted by government.
Global Action Plan: Operation TLC
Ashden Award for Behaviour Change
Improving patient care is the focus of this sophisticated behaviour change programme at Barts Health NHS Trust in London, designed to help staff use hospital buildings as efficiently as possible. Operation TLC has embedded an energy-saving ethos into hospital culture by incentivising staff to “Turn off equipment, Switch off Lights and Close doors”. The result: closed doors maintain privacy and lowered lights help patients sleep, while vital NHS funds are saved. With a proven business case for action, there’s huge potential to roll out the model across the NHS, with accompanying benefits for patients, planet and the public purse.
Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings
Hemcrete Projects is bringing the dream of zero-carbon buildings closer to reality with its mess-free, speedily installed, sustainable building panels made with hempcrete. With its fantastic thermal properties and ability to stabilise humidity, hemp has been used in sustainable building construction for many years, where it’s mixed with lime to create hempcrete. But until now, hempcrete has always been cast on-site, giving it limited commercial appeal. ‘Hembuild’ panels are made-to-measure off site, then arrive at building sites ready to be slotted together like a jigsaw puzzle to form the building’s walls. Aside from making the use of hempcrete economically viable for builders, building users can revel in their superior eco-credentials, a comfortable environment – and lower bills. The potential for expanding its use across the commercial and domestic building sector is boundless.
Armstrong Ashden Award for Community Energy
The community energy company Ouse Valley Energy Services Co. (OVESCO) in Lewes is at the vanguard of a community energy revolution, giving local residents the opportunity to take a stake in locally generated renewable energy and helping similar groups start up across the country. Formed by members of Transition Town Lewes in 2007, the company has installed solar panels on the roofs of two schools, a farm, a nursery and the town’s local brewery, with more than 250 shareholders benefitting. With dramatic plans for expansion, OVESCO is also dedicated to passing its know-how on to other community energy groups across Southern England, and is now a member of the Government’s Community Energy Peer Mentoring Scheme.