THE National Trust in Northern Ireland has won the top award for ‘Best Use of Renewable Energy Sources’ at the annual Sustainable Ireland Awards held last week.
Local representatives of the charity were presented with the much coveted award, sponsored by Aircore, at a glittering ceremony at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast.
Accepting the award, Kate Noble, National Trust Environmental Practices Advisor said: “The National Trust is aiming to reduce its overall energy demand by 20% by 2020 by being more energy efficient in all its buildings and operations here.
“We have ‘green champions’ at all our properties, trained staff, held switch-off campaigns, installed movement sensors on lighting and timers on immersions, installed chimney balloons in all open fireplaces, improved insulation in boiler houses and draught-proofed windows and doors. This has resulted in a 12% reduction in energy use to date.”
The National Trust in Northern Ireland is also currently rolling out a programme to install medium scale renewable energy systems across all of its sites to increase electricity production and heat in a sustainable way from local resources. Its largest oil heating systems, which are expensive to run, and can be highly polluting, are presently being decommissioned in favour of low fossil carbon alternatives such as woodfuel heating and heat pumps.
Currently at 18%, it is anticipated that the Trust in Northern Ireland will be generating 50% of its heating and electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2020.
At the same event the National Trust’s Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre won the ‘Sustainable Building Project of the Year 2012’ .
Representatives from the National Trust were presented with the prestigious award, which was sponsored by Constructing Excellence in Northern Ireland (CEni) and the Centre for Sustainable Technologies.
The Visitor Centre, built on a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has already achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ award, which measures overall sustainability in design, materials, energy, construction management and ecology.
The annual Awards are organised by the Hillsborough based publishers of Sustainable Ireland, 4Square Media, and is now widely regarded as the premier event in the Irish Environmental, Waste Management and Energy sectors, attracting entries, support and sponsorship from all the leading players across the industry.