Eigg wins UK Gold Award!!

Ashden Awards 2010: World’s leading green energy awards announce UK winners

 Tonight (1st July) at the Royal Geographical Society, low carbon energy champions from all over the globe were recognised at the 10th annual Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, the world’s leading green energy awards. Businesses, schools, local authorities and charities were among the UK winners, all of whom have made significant carbon savings through the use of renewable energy or energy efficiency measures. The overall UK Gold Award winner is the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust for their outstanding achievements in cutting energy consumption and devising a unique electricity capping system, dramatically reducing household carbon emissions by nearly 50 percent.

The Ashden Awards champion and reward life-changing ideas: from smokeless stoves in Ethiopia, to green schools in the UK, to solar powered education in Bangladesh. Six UK and six international projects were chosen as winners and received their awards from internationally renowned natural history filmmaker Sir David Attenborough. Award winners received £10,000 or £20,000 to invest in future sustainable energy work.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of the Ashden Awards, said: “Our UK winners demonstrate how local sustainable energy can not only help save the planet, but also transform communities across the UK by creating jobs, regenerating communities, tackling fuel poverty and educating our future citizens to live sustainably”.

David Attenborough said: “These award-winners are champions at delivering practical ways of protecting our planet and its precious biodiversity through the use of sustainable energy. They are reducing carbon emissions and protecting local eco-systems, whilst improving the lives of the people they touch. They deserve to be celebrated for their important role in tackling both climate change and poverty. ”

Six UK organisations won the awards following a rigorous judging process by nine leading experts in the field:

UK Gold Award winner: The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, Scotland

This is an island community that has embraced self sufficiency and a radical green lifestyle by carefully managing its energy use, actively encouraging energy-saving in everyone’s daily life and generating 90 percent of its electricity through renewable energy. Using hydro, wind and solar energy, the island’s system is unique, as is their electricity capping scheme that ensures households and businesses keep a constant watch on energy consumption.

Northwards Housing, Manchester

A scheme that has given 70 percent of North Manchester’s social housing a top-to-toe energy efficiency overhaul, bringing tenants real comfort and lower fuel bills, and resulting in serious carbon reductions. The scheme has gone further than most, and beyond the government’s ‘decent home’ standards, particularly impressive for its work on hard-to-treat properties, where CO2 emissions have fallen by up to 60 percent.

Suffolk County Council, Ipswich

This forward-looking Council is making big strides towards sustainability by helping local schools switch their oil-fired boilers to greener wood-fired boilers and boosting Suffolk’s supply chain for biomass fuel through sustainable forestry. The County Council is creating local jobs in recession-hit times, and boosting the potential for biomass in the region.

Willis Renewable Energy Systems, Belfast

 The Solasyphon is a plumbing innovation that speeds up and simplifies the retro-fitting of solar water heating in existing homes, saving the cost of buying a new water tank. 2,500 have been sold, with installations going ahead in many overseas markets as well as the UK.

Okehampton College, Okehampton, Devon

Students, staff and governors of this dynamic secondary school in Devon are heading towards carbon neutrality with an exciting array of energy-saving activities both inside and outside the college gates, while inspiring and supporting their eleven feeder primary schools to follow suit.

St Columb Minor, Newquay, Cornwall

 The Eco Team and staff at this primary school are taking a practical but fun-packed approach to driving energy use down by making eco pledges in class and at home, generating energy with wind and solar, and giving their building a green overhaul with £120,000-worth of funding.

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3 thoughts on “Eigg wins UK Gold Award!!

  1. I visited Eigg on 25th June to have another look at the Eigg Green exercise. Unfortunately my main interest was not fulfilled due to Maintenance work at the 100Kw Hydro plant and an uncharacteristic shortage of water. My impression was that they have not enough water capacity in all three of their supplies.The main hydro lacks reserve capacity but I understand measures are afoot to connect to the higher lochs on the An Sgurr plateau where clouds are frequent. The two much smaller Hydro units are similarly drout afflicted and some thought perhaps could be given to catchment improvement. The solar capacity could also do with an increase. Finally the wind farm has been recognised as being too small and I understand upgrading is being considered.
    My other interest was to introduce the Segway Personal Transporter to Eigg but the policy of forbidding motor vehicles on the island was extended to Segways unless a blue invalid pass could be obtained. The mainland authorities did not know what a Segway was so they played safe and banned it. So perhaps the islanders could review?
    May I forward two other possible sources of power? The first is underground heating ie. Tapping underground temperature difference. Fintry practises this I believe. The second is tidal power. There is an ideal bay situation at the Pier and Kildonnan areas whereby building a low dam would trap incoming sea water and release it release it through a Hydro Unit. The tide NEVER fails night and day. Large schemes are already in operationn wordwide and more are planned. What a first it would be for Eigg to introduce a small workable scheme! I wish fair winds all day sunshine and nightly rain for Eigg. Thanks for a nice visit.

    • Thank you for your interest and comments. At the time of your visit Eigg was experiencing exceptional water shortage issues which I am glad to say are now no longer an issue as we have had substantial amounts of rain. Currently we have no plans to alter the water catchments for any of the hydros for two reasons. Firstly the water shortages were exceptional and relatively short lived, the majority of the year we don’t suffer with the same problem so to alter water catchments is perhaps a rather extreme measure to take. We are going to increase the solar PV capacity to cushion any future water shortage issues we might experience, this is something we planned to do prior even to this years lack of rain. The second reason we won’t be considering altering water catchment is that Eiggs natural environment and wildlife is of tremendous importance to us and rather than mould the environment to fit our requirements and potentially damage it, including a number of important SSSIs, we prefer to work with the resources as they are, hence why the hydro schemes are run of river and not dam storage.

      We have no plans to upgrade the windfarm and don’t consider it to be too small in fact it fits well into the scheme and the landscape. We must consider the environment in terms of scenic quality particularly given that Eigg is within the Small Isles NSA and larger or more turbines would have a greater impact of the landscape.

      Ground Source Heat Pumps have been considered but they require a large electrical start-up load and then have a lower but constant electrical load which given the 5kW and 10kW caps in place on Eigg make it unfeasible. We are developing a woodfuel supply business that will encourage and stimulate greater use of wood for heating homes and water. We are also piloting solar water heating which has proved successful so we will be encouraging and assisting further installations across the island. We believe this is the way to go rather than GSHP.

      Marine renewables including tidal power are expensive and of a scale larger than we require. Once again we have considered marine renewable options and continue to monitor advances in the development of marine renewables. You specifically mention the construction of a dam or barrage to impound water and release through a turbine of some description. The causeway has potentially useful ‘drains’ in place that we have considered utilizing and may in future however to construct a new barrage on either bay is not something we would consider as it could potentially damage and alter the intertidal zones and as previously mentioned we prefer to work with the natural resources not change them to suit our needs.

      We have also looked into green transport options in terms of electric vehicles for community transport. The Segway is designed for single person use and therefore would be something for an individual to consider.

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