MASS builders learning how to bend steel

Tickets to the Awards Ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society on 14 June are available here.

Winners receive a prize of up to £20,000 and tailored support to help scale up their work.

Sustainable Cities

This year, we have placed a particular focus on the sustainable future of cities – creating healthy, liveable cities where people want to live and work. Our shortlist reflects this theme. The following organisations are the finalists for the International Sustainable Buildings, UK Sustainable Buildings, UK Clean Air, and International Sustainable Transport and Mobility Awards.

Association la Voûte Nubienne is a charity working in West Africa to preserve the Nubian Vault building technique which is both environmentally friendly and sustainable as it uses pure earth with no need for timber. 

Chargemaster plc has installed domestic and commercial electric vehicle charging points around the UK, including over 30,000 home charge units. The company also runs an Electric Vehicle Experience Centre in Milton Keynes. 

Donkey Republic is an automated self-service bike rental company that offers remote locking. Its partner-driven model means that the company can develop sustainable schemes that fit a city’s context and challenges.

Bainton Bikes rental bikes in Oxford, equipped with Donkey Republic locks

MASS Design Group is at the forefront of Africa’s homegrown architecture movement and design innovative buildings, using local materials, that promote health and dignity, and share their knowledge and approach with the next generation of architects. 

Passivhaus Homes has simplified and standardised the technical aspects of building new Passivhaus homes by providing all the component parts and technical support needed to build to the standard, resulting in reliable and lasting energy performance as well as high internal thermal comfort levels. 

Q-Bot is able to insulate cold and draughty suspended floors using a robotic device that can apply insulation without needing to lift all the floorboards, thus significantly reducing the cost of installation.

Q-Bot: the remote-controlled robot providing home insulation

Safetipin has developed a mobile app to encourage the uptake of cycling, walking and public transport in 35 cities across ten countries. The app is designed to address the safety of women in particular and the data collected helps customers to get home safely and the relevant local authorities to make planning improvements.

Shuttl crowdsources demand for, and creates, bus routes in Indian cities, especially along commuter routes, providing some 35,000 journeys a day. Using their app, customers can view timetables, track buses in real time and book seats.

Ravi Devkar, who grows roses and gerberas, has bought 3 Ecofrost solar cold rooms

Powering Business

Innovative business models and efficiency play a key role in unlocking SDG7’s full potential. The following two finalists are shortlisted for the International Powering Business Award.

Ecozen Solutions specialises in portable solar cold rooms which have thermal energy storage and are designed to work even in low sunlight. The farmers using the cold rooms usually break even after two years, and have seen as much as a 40% increase in their profits.    

In East Africa, Lean Energy Solutions manufactures briquettes using agricultural waste to power boilers in factories producing consumer goods. Boilers using briquettes are cheaper to run and have a lower carbon footprint than diesel-fired boilers.  

Finance

Finance is one of the greatest barriers to energy access and our shortlisted organisations are at the forefront of financial innovation, making clean energy and health benefits affordable to those with lower incomes. The following two organisations are finalists for the International Financial and Business Model Innovation Award.

Angaza’s expertise in integrating Pay As You Go technology with clean energy products is helping manufacturers and distributors to make energy products affordable to the world’s one billion off-grid customers. 

KopaGas has developed the world's first smart liquid petroleum gas (LPG) meter designed to remove barriers to clean cooking in Sub-Saharan Africa. The technology will enable medium and low-income households to switch from dirty and expensive charcoal to much cleaner LPG. 

Outside kiosk selling KopaGas in Dar es Salaam

Health

Sustainable energy and health is another focal point of the Awards this year, with organisations working with health centres to provide crucial clean energy. The finalists for the International Sustainable Energy and Health Award are:

Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) is the result of the state energy agency and rural health agency joining forces to install and maintain solar PV systems in almost 900 health centres in eastern India.

The Sure Chill Company, working in 46 countries, uses cooling technology in solar powered medical fridges which are ideal for use in off-grid and emergency settings. No battery is required and the fridges only need four hours’ electricity a day to be able to maintain a safe temperature. 

CREDA provides health centres with reliable renewable energy ensuring that vaccines don't go off

Disrupting the UK Energy Market

In the UK, the energy market is facing imminent change to keep up with the shift to renewables. Four organisations are leaders in innovation and in this energy transition, working towards balancing the overwhelmed grid. The organisations shortlisted for the UK Innovation and UK Energy Market Disruptors Awards are:

Energy Local CIC is helping communities across the UK to get more value from small-scale renewable generation by creating local electricity markets for local residents.

Powervault, which has designed a smart energy storage system for the home which helps households to store solar energy and off-peak electricity in order to reduce household energy bills and provide flexibility services to the grid.

Upside Energy Ltd., which has created a Virtual Energy Store™ that enables households and commercial clients to provide flexibility services to National Grid, network operators and energy suppliers, enabling increased renewable energy capacity to be built and infrastructure costs to be minimised.

VCharge, Ovo Smart Heat, which is retrofitting storage heaters to make them smart so that they can provide the right amount of heat at the right time, improving comfort for residents while saving them money. The upgraded heaters can also offer flexibility services in response to changing grid and market conditions.

Upside Energy hardware

Sustainable Energy Access

Internationally, organisations are pushing the boundaries of energy access through effective teamwork. Finalists for the Award for Energy Access Frontiers are:

Lumos Global is the largest provider of off-grid solar in Nigeria, offering homes and small businesses a simple, affordable way to pay for solar energy in small instalments. The company is currently prioritising the marginalised Niger Delta region and partnering with the largest mobile network operator in the country.

Power for All is working with the public and private sector to deliver access to energy to the 1.1 billion people in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa without reliable power. It is focused on encouraging investment in, and promoting, decentralised renewables as part of energy policy, building sustainable markets and encouraging consumers to use renewable power. 

Funders for this year's Awards include Citi, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Grosvenor, HSBC, Impax Asset Management, and the Waterloo Foundation.