Wednesday, 26 November 2008

10,000 jobs to be created by insulating homes

The Guardian reports:

A plan to create more than 10,000 jobs in the construction industry by insulating homes in the private and public sectors will be announced by Alistair Darling in today's pre-budget report.

The government will bring forward future capital spending in an attempt to reduce energy bills this winter and to employ some of those laid off during the worst downturn in the property market for two decades.

While the main thrust of the report will be emergency measures to prompt a pre-Christmas consumer spending spree, Darling will today emphasise that Labour remains committed to its goals for the environment. Some of the increased spending will be used to upgrade social housing to make it more fuel-efficient, and there will be a small boost to spending on flood protection schemes. Read the full story here

Several past Ashden award winners have worked with insulation, click here to see a list of them, including documentary videos and case studies.

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Monday, 17 November 2008

Trewin Restorick writes for the Guardian

Trewin Restorick (pictured below), in a recent article in the Guardian, comments that some retailer-led sustainability initiatives contain an element of 'greenwashing' and end up confusing consumers. However, it's not all bad, Sainsbury, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and B&Q are credited for schemes they have run. He says:

"To really push forward change, retailers are going to have to brave more controversial territory. One such area is "choice editing", where retailers offering competing products at similar cost opt to edit out of their range the brands deemed to be most environmentally damaging. This has begun in furniture retailing where there is now considerable pressure on retailers not to stock brands using wood that can't be traced to sustainable sources. B&Q has also done this by opting not to continue selling patio heaters once their existing stock is sold. This could go a lot further should retailers be brave enough to take a stand against the holy grail of unlimited consumer choice."
Trewin is chief executive of Global Action Plan, who won an Ashden Award in 2008 for their work in helping businesses reduce energy consumption and waste production.

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Sustainable housing awards 2008

Inside Housing has announced the 2008 winners of their Sustainable Housing awards. The categories range from biodiversity and social housing to water conservation and sustainable energy. Good Energy, a past Ashden Award winner, won the "Green energy supplier" award.

Full details on the winner projects are available on the Inside Housing website: Sustainable housing awards 2008

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Friday, 14 November 2008

Grameen Shakti article in the FT

The Financial Times has published an article about Grameen Shakti and other sustainable energy companies. Grameen Shakti won Ashden Awards for their work in 2006 and 2008.
The article says:

Faroukh lives miles from the nearest mains power. His mobile, like the lights in his home and in his wife’s sewing workshop, are charged by solar electricity, courtesy of a small photovoltaic (PV) panel attached to the roof of his house. It was sold to him by Grameen Shakti (‘village energy’), an offshoot of the hugely successful Grameen Bank.

Thanks to a simple micro-credit system, even poor families like Faroukh’s can afford the panels. Savings on the smoky, unreliable kerosene lanterns easily cover the monthly repayments. The solar lamps mean Faroukh’s family can work into the evenings, more than doubling their income, while the phone plugs them into the wider economy in a way that would have been unimaginable ten years ago.

Grameen Shakti – winner of an outstanding achievement prize in the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy – has now installed nearly 200,000 solar home systems across Bangladesh, and confidently expects to hit one million by 2015. With over 30 million families marooned ‘off grid’ in Bangladesh alone, the potential for future growth is enormous.

read the rest of the article here

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Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Biomass district heating demo at Wood Energy site

On 27th January 2009 Regen SW is running a biomass district heating demonstration at Park 25, a site installed by Wood Energy. Details of the event are here.

Wood Energy won an Ashden Award in 2008 for their work installing biomass boilers and starting wood-fuel supply chains across the the UK. Information on the whole range of district heating schemes they have installed is available on their website.

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