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Energy Institute announces its 2015 shortlist for energy industry awards



The Energy Institute (EI) Awards’ judging panel, made up of 20 energy professionals representing a variety of sectors and specialisms, have shortlisted the entries for this year’s EI Awards competition.

The EI Awards promote excellence and innovation in energy and acknowledge the important contribution made to society by those working in the sector. The awards will be presented to the winners by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, former paralympic athlete, on 12 November at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel, London.

Lynda Armstrong OBE FEI, Chair of Trustees, British Safety Council, and Chair of the EI Awards’ judging panel, says, ‘The EI Awards recognise and celebrate the best of the global energy sector. Having worked in energy for more than 35 years, I was honoured to support this competition as chair of the judging panel. The number, quality and diversity of submissions each year continue to impress me and my fellow judges. The entries show a real commitment to the profession, and demonstrate how the energy sector can be a force for positive change in what is a challenging environment to work in. We have a fantastic shortlist of projects that showcase a wide range of technologies and innovation across varied industries and I look forward to joining the EI on 12 November to announce this year’s winners.’

This year’s shortlisted entries are:

Communication, sponsored by thirdperson

·         BP for BP Helios – illuminating the inspiring stories of over 100,000 energy specialists

·         Shell for Achieving Goal Zero with Safety day

·         Step Change in Safety for Tea Shack News

·         SSE for its War on Watts internal employee engagement and behavioural change campaign 

Community Initiative, sponsored by Nexen

·         Borough of Poole for its Green Positive Environmental Action (PEA) scheme

·         Cenergist for the Hackney Homes Communal Heating project

·         Community Energy Scotland for is Community Energy Development programme in Malawi

·         FNS for Bootle2020 – using sustainable energy to breathe new life into Bootle for future generations

Energy Champion

·         Mark Burrows CEnv CEng FEI Chartered Energy Manager, Energy Solutions Specialist, Siemens

·         Eur Ing Robert Diamond CEnv CEng FEI Chartered Energy Engineer, Sustainability Associate, Ingleton Wood

·         Kate Simpson, Assistant Carbon Management Consultant, Grontmij

Energy Excellence

·         Bouygues Energies and Services UK FM for Energy Interaction – Optimum Performance Toolkit

·         Keysource for ecofris – the highly efficient cooling solution

·         National Grid for its International Excellence project

·         National Grid for the T-pylon – a new radical design of high voltage electricity pylons for the UK

·         UK Power Networks for its Smarter Network Storage project

Environment, sponsored by Certas Energy

·         Aggreko for helping Sibanye Gold’s Beatrix Mine utilise clean energy

·         Anglian Water @one Alliance for its Sustainability in Design initiative

·         Walsh Ecuador and Petroamazonas for their Artificial Canopy Bridges mitigating fragmentation of arboreal habitat in petroleum fields in Ecuador

Innovation, sponsored by Plant Integrity Management

·         RJM International for its new Coal and Biomass-fired ultra-low NOx burner

·         SGS for its Advanced Wet Gas Metering System utilising cyclonic separation and 3-phase tracer flow technology

·         Victaulic for its Victaulic Vortex™ Hybrid Fire Suppression System

Safety, sponsored by Shell

·         BG Group for Enabling better process safety performance through improved human factors

·         Critical Team Performance for the Introduction of Well Operations Crew Resource Management training and coaching

·         Karen McCombie for her Safety Representative Revival Project at Sodexo

·         National Grid Grain LNG for Always prepared – emergency incident management system

·         UK Petroleum Industry Association for its Safe Loading Pass Scheme


·         Airedale International Air Conditioning for its Energy-saving computer room air conditioning retrofit programme

·         Churchill Drilling Tools for its HyPR HoleSaver tool

·         Flow for its Flow boiler

·         Meta Downhole for Meta MorphPackers

Young Energy Professional of the Year, sponsored by Aramco

·         Vera Karpushenko, Process Safety Engineer, KBR

·         Dr Marek Kubik GradEI, Customer Solutions & Commercial Projects Manager, AES

·         Rory O’Sullivan GradEI, Founder, Energy Process Developments

·         Prashant Thapar MEI, Lead Power Engineer, Parsons Brinckerhoff

To book tickets to attend the EI Awards ceremony and for more information, visit

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Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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