Cherwell District Council has won a prestigious European energy award after being nominated by the National Energy Foundation earlier this year. The council scooped the ACE Award Overall Winner in the category Energy Smart Municipalities.
The award went to Cherwell’s Eco Bicester initiative, which combines a town-wide energy efficiency programme with the building of a new 6000 home eco town – the only true zero carbon large scale housing development in the UK.
The energy efficiency programme has successfully engaged over 30,000 residents through discounted insulation and boiler replacements, energy saving workshops and six demonstration sites, including a PassivHauss home and a leisure centre powered by a biomass boiler and solar panels.
The awards were announced in the Netherlands at the Ace Awards Finale, one of Europe’s most high-profile events that recognises achievements in renewable and sustainable energy.
Cherwell District Council competed in the category of Energy Smart Municipalities against other European local authorities who have developed pioneering or innovative approaches to promoting sustainable energy.
Leader of Cherwell District Council, Cllr Barry Wood, said: “The Eco Bicester initiative is using zero carbon development to change people’s behaviour, ensuring the entire Bicester community benefits from the changes that are taking place. We hope that through this award we can inspire other councils to see energy transition as a means to create better places to live and work in an eco-friendly way.”
The award evening was a double success for Cherwell district as Hook Norton Low Carbon, also nominated by the National Energy Foundation, won in the Energy Neutral Village category. Hook Norton Low Carbon is a co-operative of residents from the village formed in 2010 with the main aim of providing low-cost funding for energy saving measures in the home. Their projects include a community biodiesel supply, a low carbon car club, solar PV installations, a community smallholding and feasibility studies for generating clean energy from wind and waste.
Founding member Tim Lunel said: “We are delighted to receive this recognition and hope that through this award we can inspire other communities to develop their own innovative approaches to transition to a sustainable energy future.”
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