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Bristol Energy Experts Win £40,000 Prize


A Bristol-based team has won the UK’s Energy and Environment Open Data Challenge.

The project, called Community Energy Manager, was designed by energy experts Matt Wood and Mark Corbin. It is an online platform designed to help communities cut down on energy bills. It does this by sharing information about energy use, energy efficiency needs and ideas for energy generation.

Teams and individuals taking part in the Energy and Environment Open Data Challenge – which was run by Nesta and the Open Data Institute (ODI) in partnership with Bristol City Council – had to show how they could use freely available data to help people and communities save or generate energy. Community Energy Manager beat 15 other shortlisted projects to win the challenge and the £40,000 prize money.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This is great news for the city, adding to our credentials as the European Green Capital in 2015. Matt and Mark from Community Energy Manager are showing that by innovating we can tackle the energy crisis people face. Their project is encouraging residents in Bristol to insulate their homes via an online platform. This will reduce their energy bills and improve the comfort of their homes.

“I am particularly pleased that Bristol is a test bed for this type of business initiative as it is predicted that the digital and green industries will grow immensely over the next couple of years with large potential for Bristol business to tap into this. Congratulations to both winners! ”

Matt Wood said: “At the moment many private households are left out of energy efficiency improvement schemes because the prices can be too high for installers to engage with individuals. Bringing together communities to work at a larger scale reduces costs and means everyone can benefit.”

Mark Corbin added: “Community Energy Manager provides a way for people to collaborate, build up knowledge and to learn from other communities so they don’t reinvent the wheel. This helps speed things up, keeps the costs down and means people get the right kind of energy efficiency improvements for their type of homes.”

“Community Energy Manager scored highly on its innovative approach to meeting community energy needs,” said Tris Dyson, director of Nesta’s centre for challenge prizes. “We were also impressed by the team’s understanding of the benefits that it could deliver for communities and of the wider energy market to ensure the scheme would be truly efficient and sustainable.”

The £40,000 prize will allow the team to get the Community Energy Manager scheme up and running, which will involve striking deals with those companies providing Green Deal services, convincing retailers to bulk-sell energy saving products and working with energy service providers to get income from people switching suppliers.

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