The National Trust has been awarded this year’s Gold Award at the annual Ashden Awards. Now in its twelfth year, the Ashden Awards are designed to champion practical, local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, boost economies and improve people’s lives in the UK and developing world.

Speaking about the Awards, the event’s host, Kevin McCloud said: “Among all the weapons in our armoury in the fight against climate change, the Ashden Awards is a powerful one. By celebrating human change – in how we live, how we travel, how we build and maintain our homes, how we invest – it shows us what’s possible for us all to achieve.”

The National Trust received the top award in recognition of its ongoing efforts to significantly reduce the energy consumption and therefore CO2 emissions of its Welsh properties.

As the majority of National Trust properties are large, leaky Grade I listed buildings installing necessary efficiency measures provides a particular challenge. Nevertheless, the National Trust was able to achieve cuts of 41 percent in just two years, saving £280,000 a year in energy costs as well as negating the emission of 1,700 tonnes of CO2. In order to achieve these figures the National Trust implemented a combination of efficiency measures, sustainable heating technologies and a culture change in how energy is managed. As well as cutting down on energy use it has installed renewable sources of energy, including solar PV and hydro power.

Ashden Founder-Director Sarah Butler-Sloss said: “The National Trust’s work stood out for its strategic vision, its thorough approach, its expertise, and for getting everyone on board, from cleaners through to senior management. Most impressive of all, it has shown that if huge energy savings can be made in historic listed buildings, they can be made in any building”. 

Other winners on the night included, Energy4All, Parity Projects, Student Switch Off (Neil Jennings Associates CIC), and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM). Each was presented with £10,000 to be spent on expanding their sustainable energy work.