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Global Winners Honoured for Sustainable Energy Innovation



The Ashden Awards, a celebration of international innovation and creativity in the sustainable energy industry. At this year’s Ashden Awards twelve organisations from across the globe have been announced as winners. Winners were presented with their Award at a ceremony hosted by BBC journalist Mishal Husain at the Royal Geographical Society in London last week.

This year’s winners are all at the forefront of innovation when it comes to excellence in sustainable energy.  Included are forward thinking businesses using smart technology to influence how energy is managed in the UK to a Chinese green buildings specialist to a global solar light manufacturer that has reached more than five million households.

The winners of the 2016 Ashden Awards are:

UK Award winners

Cosy Homes in Lancashire (CHiL), a partnership between 14 local authorities  helping to prevent fuel poverty in some of the most deprived areas of the county,  wins the Ashden Award for Sustainable Homes, supported by the Berkeley Group.

Low Carbon Hub in Oxfordshire is a plucky social enterprise determined to put renewable energy in the hands of local people.  The organisation is a joint winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Communities, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Open Energi – winner of the Impax Ashden Award for Energy Innovation – works with large power-hungry clients to shift their demand for energy in real time, reducing stress on the national grid and helping create the right environment for renewable energy.

The Mayor of London’s highly successful RE:FIT London programme has so far supported the energy efficiency retrofit of more than 600 public sector buildings in London, making huge cost and carbon savings. RE:FIT London wins the Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Repowering London works with communities living in social housing in Brixton and Hackney to support them to install and manage their own solar installations Repowering also offers training and employment opportunities to young residents and is a joint winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Communities.

Tempus Energy aims to change the way the world buys and uses electricity, using smart equipment to connect customers with the cheapest available energy prices.  Tempus wins the Ashden Award for Smart Energy.

International Award winners

Bridges to Prosperity not only builds bridges but also teaches communities how to build and maintain these connections to healthcare, education and employment.  In total the organisation has completed 180 bridges in the past 14 years, serving more than 800,000 users, and wins the Eurostar Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel.

In India Frontier Markets provide high quality solar lamps and systems to hard-to-reach villages, using a network of trained women called Solar Sahelis. The organisation has sold over 100,000 in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, and wins the Ashden Award for Clean Energy for Women and Girls, supported by UK aid.

Greenlight Planet has reached more than four million households in remote regions of the world with its reliable solar products and are well on their way in their mission to deliver light that everyone can afford.  Greenlight Planet wins the Ashden Award for Increasing Energy Access, supported by the IKEA Foundation.

Nazava water filters – winner of the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and Water, supported by the Waterloo Foundation – enable lower income households in Indonesia to purify their well or tap water without the need to boil it by burning wood or using electricity. This reduces disease and sickness, lowers household costs and reduces CO2 emissions.

Shanghai Landsea Planning & Architectural Design Co.Ltd is a leading practitioner of green buildings in China, boasting more than 40 projects totalling 2.5 million m2. Landsea wins the Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, supported by Grosvenor.

SunFunder in Tanzania is unlocking reliable continuous capital for beyond-the-grid solar companies by providing investors the opportunity to lend to a carefully selected portfolio of solar businesses and has so far provided over $8 million of finance in ten countries. SunFunder wins the Ashden Award for Innovative Finance, supported by Citi.

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Ashden’s Founder Director, said: “The winners of this year’s Ashden Awards are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to innovation, being ahead of the curve and working towards our vision of a world where everyone has access to affordable clean energy.  We are proud to have the opportunity to support their game-changing work.”

The Ashden Awards were established in 2001 to reward and promote sustainable energy trailblazers and help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world.  Each winner receives prize money as well as tailored support to scale up their work.


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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