Monday, 25 October 2010

Energy Saving Week: how Ashden winners tackle energy saving in communities

Marches Energy Agency - 2009 Ashden Award winner
This week is Energy Saving Week, so it's a good time to ask the question: how do you stimulate change across communities and businesses to make real reductions in energy use?

Ashden winners have been grappling with this issue and producing innovative results. Take the 2010 winner Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, an impressive example of community-led change. The Trust was bought out by the community in 1997, and its efforts have led to a staggering 47% reduction in energy use.

They’ve achieved this by producing about 90% of their own electricity through renewables, offering incentives to install insulation and other energy-saving measures in the home, and, crucially, getting the community to monitor and keep their energy use below 5kW in homes and 10kW in businesses.

Communities also play a big role in the work of 2009 winner Marches Energy Agency (pic). They followed the Low Carbon Communities programme which helps communities to understand the issues (through fairs and presentations), and then to pursue, with access to grants and technical assistance, clear carbon-reduction targets. This has led to 1,400 technical installations in homes, businesses and community buildings across six local areas saving around 1,715 tonnes of CO2 (about 5% of the overall community use).

Tomorrow we profile two Ashden winners who work to reduce the energy use of businesses. Over the rest of this week, we’ll be writing more about the experiences of members of the Ashden awards team who are retrofitting their homes.

See also:
A trip to the Isle of Eigg

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