A town council in Latvia, an office building in Austria and a school in Germany are among the winners of this year's EU GreenLight and GreenBuilding energy efficiency awards after making remarkable energy savings of up to 85% in 2009. The award ceremonies were held at the Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, on 13 and 14 April. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) launched the GreenLight and GreenBuilding awards in 2000 and 2005, respectively, to promote energy efficiency in public organisations and private homes as part of the drive to transform the EU into an energy-efficient economy. A total of 24 participants were honoured in this year's awards for achieving top energy saving results or for carrying out innovative schemes. The judges based their decisions on the amount of energy saved, the technologies used and the sector that the participants belong to. Over 700 participants from all over Europe are involved in the GreenLight and GreenBuilding schemes and are jointly saving up to 545 GWh (gigawatt hour) a year - equivalent to the energy used by 2 medium-sized European cities in the same period of time. They are achieving this by installing energy-efficient equipment such as solar panels, thermal insulation, low-energy lighting, efficient heating and cooling methods, and intelligent control systems. In a joint statement, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy, said: 'We congratulate the winners of these awards. Whether public or private sector, they are all living proof that organisations which invest and innovate in energy efficiency can bring immense benefits to themselves while making a leading-edge contribution to a more sustainable Europe. 'Spreading this kind of best practice, including through award schemes like this, will be a key factor in the economic and environmental success of the Europe 2020 Strategy.' Since its launch in 2000, the GreenLight scheme has recruited more than 500 partners throughout Europe that have successfully replaced old-fashioned, high-energy lighting with low-energy lamps. By doing this and carefully controlling their lighting use they are jointly saving 241 GWh a year which corresponds to annual savings of around EUR 24 million in running costs and more than 94 million kilograms of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. Winners of the GreenLight awards were companies in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia. The GreenBuilding scheme was created in 2005 following the success of GreenLight and now has 185 partners whose buildings are saving an average of 304 GWh per year in electricity, gas and oil which is the equivalent of a 41% average saving. These results have been achieved by a combination of more efficient heating and air conditioning systems installations, better insulation of buildings, more efficient lighting, and solar and geothermal energy use. The GreenBuilding awards went to participants from Austria, Croatia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden. A detailed report by the JRC summarising the results of both schemes will be published in early June during the EU's 'Green Week', the EU's largest annual conference on environment policy.
Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia