Innovative HVAC system wins Ashden award

21st June 2013

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The UK firm behind a ventilation system that cuts energy use by up to 90% and a school that has cut CO2 emissions by 60 tonnes a year are among winners of the 2013 Ashden awards

Fourteen awards were presented to organisations at this year’s ceremony. The accolades, which honour products or services that boost uptake of renewables or help to improve energy efficiency, were evenly split between UK and overseas organisations.

Buckinghamshire-based Monodraught was named a UK winner for its COOL-PHASE system, which uses natural ventilation to provide low-energy cooling.

The system was praised by the Ashden’s judging panel as a groundbreaking innovation to improve the sustainability of the UK’s commercial building stock, which accounts for 18% of the country’s total carbon footprint.

“It is no exaggeration to say this could potentially change the whole ventilation and cooling market,” confirmed the judges.

The system uses a “thermal battery” to absorb and release cool air, utilising the difference between night-time and day-time temperatures. Replacing a traditional split air conditioner and ventilation system in a 20-person room with the COOL-PHASE equipment saves about 1.8MWh of electricity and 1 tonne of CO2 a year.

Other UK winners include the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, a community cooperative that promotes the uptake of local renewables. More than 10% of the 8,000 residents in the area have joined the scheme alongside local businesses. Hollybush Primary School in Derry, Northern Ireland, was another winner, having cut its annual carbon emissions by 60 tonnes by engaging staff and pupils with saving energy and installing a biomass boiler.

The top UK prize was presented to a partnership between the Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA) and social-housing developer, United House, which has developed more efficient ways to install insulation. The scheme reduces installation times, cutting costs by 20%.

“SEA’s creativity and United House’s experience in delivery have combined to create an affordable, easy-to-install insulation solution that is breaking down the barriers to making the UK’s housing stock more energy-efficient,” said judges.

In the international categories, charity Solar Aid was presented with the top £40,000 prize for its work distributing more than 500,000 solar lanterns to people in East Africa since 2010.

The £30,000 Ashden prize for sustainable travel, now in its second year, was split between UK cycling charity Sustrans and Belgian transport provider De Lijn. Sustrans has created 84 cycling schemes in UK towns and cities, which are estimated to be save more than 70,000 tonnes CO2 annually, while De Lijn has transformed the heating and ventilation of its 41 electric trams, cutting energy use by 20% and saving €200,000 each year.

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