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Monday, 9 January 2012

2011: a year of milestones for Ashden winners

It seems only a few short months ago that I was recapping the progress of Ashden winners in 2010, but somehow we’ve reached the end of another year! During 2011, Ashden winners have been just as successful. They’ve reached major milestones and continued to take their work in new directions as they promote sustainable energy.

Two big achievements occurred early in the year when Rahimafrooz announced it had installed more than 200,000 solar systems in Bangladesh and Vietnam’s biogas programme run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and SNV built its 100,000th digester.

We celebrated the completion of Kirklees Council’s Warm Zone scheme which successfully carried out 64,472 insulation measures, and the tenth birthday of ENWORKS which is continuing to help businesses achieve significant reductions in resource use in the NorthWest. In September, ENWORKS reached the outstanding milestone of having saved businesses £100m in cost reductions and 476,500 tonnes of CO2.

In Africa, several of our winners took  important steps: the Gaia Association started using locally produced ethanol for its cookstoves; Fruits of the Nile achieved organic certification for 90% of produce in Uganda; and  in the same country, the Rural Energy Foundation launched a new social enterprise for solar home systems.

Back in the British Isles, Isle of Eigg continued to boost its capacity by installing 20 Kw of solar panels (in the sleet and snow!); and Okehampton College achieved another 25% drop in its gas use.

In 2011, Ashden winners were also out promoting clean energy. Indian winners met with government ministers as part of the Ashden India Collective to advocate for better regulation for renewables, whilst ARTI attended the Durban UN Climate Change negotiations to push for action on cleaner energy.  UK schools, St Columb Minor and Okehampton College were at the forefront of a new initiative in the SouthWest, the Ashden LESS CO2 programme, supporting schools to reduce their energy, with two out of  four workshops completed. And in April, St Columb Minor School’s Gill Harper brought back a wealth of knowledge from across the pond in California through an IPPR learning exchange on green jobs.

2011 was studded with recognition for our winners. The Financial Times ArcelorMittal "Boldness in Business" Award shortlisted D.light design. D.light’s founders, Sam Goldman and Ned Tozun, also made it onto the Forbes Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs list. TIDE’s Svati Bogle became a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, whilst AIDFI and SELCO’s Harish Hande received the prestigious Magasaysay Award. After being shortlisted in the spring, the Isle of Eigg went on to win the Renewable Energy  Awards under the Community  category. Meanwhile, Architype picked up three awards at the 2012 British Council for School Environments Awards, Best Special Educational Needs School, Best Independent School and Best School Architect.

What a year!