Sustainable buildings organisations working in UK and Uganda win prestigious Ashden Awards

Two organisations working at the forefront of sustainable building practices in the UK and in Uganda have both won a 2017 Ashden Award.

Winner of the 2017 UK Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Passivhaus Trust is blazing a trail for the Passivhaus design standard in the UK, providing advice, training, conferences and quality control to architects, engineers, suppliers and builders across the UK. More than 100 Passivhaus projects have been completed to date, representing over 500 certified buildings and it’s anticipated that the number will exceed 1,000 by the end of 2017.

Passivhaus buildings achieve significant energy savings compared to building regulations whilst simultaneously providing high levels of comfort and health. Main features include enhanced insulation, high quality windows, air tightness and controlled ventilation. They are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction principles which are certified through an exacting quality assurance process.

The Passivhaus Trust’s Chief Executive Jon Bootland said:

“We are delighted that the UK’s Passivhaus community has been recognised for their work in promoting and delivering cutting edge, high comfort, energy-efficient construction within the UK.

“There are over 65,000 projects certified to the Passivhaus standard globally and awareness is growing rapidly here in the UK. We hope that by winning the highly regarded Ashden Award, it will help the Passivhaus standard extend its reach into the mainstream construction industry.”

The Ashden judges said:

“The Passivhaus Trust’s approach is one of rigour and quality assurance, and by acting as a bridge to a globally recognised international standard, the Trust is both changing mindsets and enabling the building community when it comes to sustainable building practices.”

Winner of the 2017 International Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings, supported by the Grosvenor Group, Haileybury Youth Trust (HYT) is a charity training young people in Uganda to build sustainable buildings using interlocking blocks made of compressed earth, a low-cost, carbon-saving alternative to the environmentally damaging fired brick.

As well as preventing deforestation and drastically reducing CO2 emissions, the buildings are transforming communities, including sanitation facilities, housing and new schools, whilst simultaneously being sympathetic to the surrounding landscape. The skills that the young people are learning are helping create employment opportunities in one of the fastest growing populations in Africa.

Haileybury Youth Trust’s Russell Matcham said:

“The Ashden Award recognises the work of the team in Uganda, promoting sustainable training and construction programmes among some of Africa’s poorest communities, in a way that preserves the beautiful but fragile environment.”

According to the Ashden judges: “The benefits of HYT’s work go way beyond the environmental impact and encompass health, training and employment opportunities, even access to education. Their model is a simple one but scalable and robust.”

The Passivhaus Trust and Haileybury Youth Trust will each receive their Ashden Award on Thursday 15 June at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Former Vice-President of the US Al Gore is the keynote speaker and Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy is hosting the Awards.

The Ashden Awards are a globally recognised measure of excellence in the field of sustainable energy and winners receive up to £20,000 prize money as well as tailored business support to scale up their work.