UK winners 2007
First prize winner
Wood Energy is one of the UK's leading wood-fuel heating businesses, providing over a third of the country's total wood heat capacity and saving almost 12,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year through its boiler installations. Based in Devon, the company helped to set up the UK's only accredited wood-fuel training course for the industry to help raise standards. It has also worked hard to ensure a reliable supply of fuel for the heating systems it installs, by supporting local wood-fuel supply businesses and pellet mills. Benefiting from the growing demand for wood-fuel – which is now cheaper than fossil fuels – the business is helping the UK meet its carbon reduction targets.
Second prize winner
Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council is pioneering a scheme to heat its local schools with sustainable wood pellets instead of coal, helping the environment as well as saving costs. So far 17 schools have benefited with a total of 21 boilers installed and 27 more schools will be reached by the end of 2008. Already, CO2 emissions have been reduced by an impressive 2,400 tonnes a year, providing a model for local authorities around the country. The pupils and teachers in these schools now enjoy a cleaner, smoke-free environment. Importantly, the Council's initiative is also boosting the local supply and use of wood pellets and has even created new jobs in this ex-coal mining area. To help protect jobs, the Council now uses only locally manufactured boilers which can run at impressive efficiencies of over 90%.
Cumbria Energy Efficiency Advice Centre
Cumbria Energy Efficiency Advice Centre is scaling up simple energy efficiency measures throughout Cumbria with an integrated and highly professional service offering advice, funding and insulation. In just two years it has insulated the cavity walls of over 9,000 homes and provided loft insulation for over 5,000 homes, saving 12,500 tonnes of CO2 a year and reducing fuel bills by over £1.6 million a year. CEEAC helps local people who are faced with a bewildering array of grants to make sense of the options and access the right funds for them. One of CEEAC's greatest strengths is the stringent management controls it has developed which ensure that contractors carry out work to consistently high standards.
ENWORKS based in Greater Manchester is helping businesses in the North-West reduce their use of resources, cut their waste production – and make huge cost savings. Almost 1,000 businesses are participating in the programme, saving them about £12 million a year from a total capital investment of only £5.5 million. The ENWORKS scheme is reducing CO2 emissions by an impressive 18,000 tonnes a year. An innovative online programme – the ENWORKS Online Resource Efficiency Toolkit – is used to identify ways each business can save resources and compare the savings, payback period and environmental benefits of each option. ENWORKS allocates specialist advisors to support each business through the process of making the appropriate behavioural and technical changes. The concept is now inspiring similar programmes in other parts of the country.
First prize winner
Ecotricity is an electricity supply company rapidly making wind power a more popular and effective renewable energy option in the UK. Its success is largely down to working in close consultation with local communities, careful selection of wind farm sites and using the most efficient and reliable turbines. With this unique approach, Ecotricity has achieved an impressive 90% success rate with wind farm planning applications and currently generates 27 MW of power on its 11 wind farms. This fast-growing company, with more than 30,000 customers, invests its profits back into the development of wind power as part of its long-standing commitment to the environment. Its Merchant Wind Power scheme also encourages business customers to buy electricity at below market rate in return for providing Ecotricity with wind turbine sites.
Second prize winner
Solarcentury is a beacon for the UK's solar power market, showing how attractive, flexible and easy to install solar PV can be, even in crowded urban areas. The company has used innovative design to develop a range of excellent solar products – mainly solar PV panels and some solar water heating – and mounting systems to fit a wide range of buildings, including industrial estates. It has designed and installed 550 solar systems across the country, meeting the rigorous standards of planners as well as clients.
Solarcentury's total installed capacity is around 3.3 MWp generating around 2,370 MWh/year which prevents the emission of about 1,350 tonnes of CO2 a year. One of its best known installations is the CIS tower in Manchester with the largest commercial solar façade in Europe.