2017 Ashden UK Award finalists
Big Birmingham Bikes (BBB)
Improving the health of Britain’s second biggest city
Birmingham City Council has provided more than four thousand free bikes and cycle training to residents living in deprived areas in order to improve peoples’ mobility, health and wellbeing, as well as to increase access to workplaces, education and training.
The scheme was also designed to bring about behaviour change by encouraging people to travel by bicycle rather than private car, thereby reducing congestion – and pollution – on roads. BBB has linked up with over 50 community groups including homeless and mental health charities, and GPS tracking is used to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme and provide data to guide planning and policy to support cycling.
Everybody needs good neighbours!
This community benefit society in the Greater Manchester area is helping its members to achieve major energy and CO2 savings through retrofitting their homes. A group of more than 100 householders have teamed up with technical experts to look at how best to implement changes to improve comfort, cut energy bills and reduce CO2 emissions by a significant amount.
For a nominal fee of £35 a year, members get discounts on training events, home energy surveys and can purchase works and materials at a discount to reduce the cost of retrofitting their homes. In a recent deep retrofit programme carried out by Carbon Co-op, average savings per property are in the region of £1,000 a year.
Nottingham City Council
Robin Hood would approve…
To tackle traffic congestion and associated air pollution, Nottingham City Council has introduced a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) which places a modest charge on employers providing 11 or more parking places, and invests the revenue back into sustainable transport measures such as electric buses, cycling, trams and a public transport smartcard.
It’s the first local authority in the UK to implement such a scheme, which is increasingly being recognised as an innovative solution, especially in the difficult financial environment that public sector organisations operate in. The WPL is already encouraging more sustainable travel behaviour across the city and reducing the number of car journeys, as commuters switch to the efficient public transport that is being paid for by the levy.
Warmer homes and better air quality – what’s not to love?
Passivhaus is the leading international low-energy design standard and the Passivhaus Trust is at the forefront of the movement in the UK, providing advice, training, conferences and certification to Passivhaus architects, engineers, suppliers and builders across the UK. More than 100 Passivhaus projects have been completed to date, representing over 500 certified buildings and this is predicted to exceed 1,000 by the end of 2017.
Passivhaus buildings achieve significant energy savings compared to building regulations whilst simultaneously providing high levels of comfort and health. Main features include enhanced insulation, high quality windows, air tightness and controlled ventilation. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction principles which are certified through an exacting quality assurance process.
Redefining how we think about energy storage
Large-scale energy storage is an emerging technology for the UK, but Hertfordshire-based RES has built itself a strong reputation in the sector, with 147 MW of capacity constructed or under development around the world. It has now built its first battery storage system in the UK, for Western Power Distribution (WPD), co-located with a solar farm in Somerset.
Using its pioneering RESolve software, RES is enabling WPD to trial a range of different functions that can improve solar farm economics, smooth out local supply and demand, and stabilise voltage and frequency on the grid. Having completed the 0.3 MW storage site for WPD, RES is now in the process of developing a further 55 MW of storage in the UK, to be brought online by early 2018.
Smarter Grid Solutions
Helping to balance the grid
This technology business is providing essential monitoring, control and management infrastructure for balancing the electricity distribution gridnetwork, delivering world-leading distributed energy resources (DER) integration products.
Smarter Grid Solutions’ real-time control technology enables its customers – Distribution Network Operators and renewable energy operators – to make the most of existing grid network infrastructure, quickly connect renewable energy to areas where the grid network was considered full and deliver increasingly required system flexibility. Their Active Network Management technology has been deployed across the UK and North America.
Delivering heat and hot water the low carbon way
A world leader in thermal energy storage, Sunamp designs, produces and sells compact heat batteries that can be used to store heat from a range of different sources in order to supply domestic hot water and space heating. The heat batteries take up much less space than a hot water tank, can store heat for longer and are more efficient.
The Sunamp system loses much less heat than a water tank, saving a household up to £100 a year straight away, and up to another £200 can be saved annually by diverting excess electricity from a solar photovoltaic system.
Helping social landlords cut costs and fight fuel poverty
Switchee is the first smart thermostat designed specifically for social housing. It monitors temperature, humidity, light levels, motion and air pressure to learn when a home needs heating and when it can be allowed to cool down, cutting energy use and carbon emissions by up to 15%. The data gathered allows social landlords to pinpoint properties that are at risk of mould forming or may have tenants in fuel poverty, enabling them to target insulation upgrades, boiler maintenance and other practical help.
Switchee is a win-win solution, helping landlords cut costs at a time when regulated rents are being reduced, while also meeting their obligation to help their tenants, who benefit from reduced energy bills and more affordable warmth.