Energy saving innovations dominate Scottish Environment Business Awards

VIBES awards 2022

There were 12 winners at the annual “VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards” in Glasgow on Tuesday 1 November, recognising innovations including a system for using treated wastewater to provide heating, and a solution that empowers homeowners in striving for net zero.

From a record breaking 422 applicants, the entries were whittled down to 45 finalists. More than half of the winners cited energy saving as key to their plans for success and a third were named winners for their innovation in becoming more efficient. A new Energy Transition Scotland Award was also added to the categories this year.

VIBES is a partnership between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), The Scottish Government, Energy Saving Trust, Highland & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland and NatureScot.

The winners of the 2022 VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards are:

  • Adapting Scotland Award – Highlands Rewilding Ltd, based in Drumnodrochit, aims to help rewild, re-people and upskill the Scottish Highlands. It has increased carbon capture and storage, biodiversity, and green jobs through work at its two estates – Bunloit and Beldorney.
  • Circular Scotland Award – Kenoteq, based in Edinburgh, is a building materials supplier and has created the K-briq®, which contains more than 90% recycled construction and demolition waste, uses a tenth of the energy in its production compared to a traditional brick and has a 90% lower carbon footprint. It is also now targeting becoming a net carbon neutral business.
  • Engaging Scotland Award – The Highland Council. After declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the local authority developed the Hydro Ness project to use historical infrastructure to create renewable energy, a STEM learning hub and tourist destination. It has also reused waste materials to landscape and create community spaces.
  • Hydro Nation Scotland Award – Green Action Trust, based in Shotts, is an environmental regeneration charity and is responsible for the Central Scotland Green Network, the largest green infrastructure project in Europe. It is undertaking work on derelict land, helping to show what is possible in areas facing socio-economic challenges. Initiatives include promoting the development of 10,000 rain gardens across Scotland, specially designed features in our urban landscape which capture and store rainfall. It also aims to become Net Zero by 2030.
  • Innovating Scotland Award – Innovatium Group is a micro business in Glasgow developing technology solutions for industrial decarbonisation and energy resilience. Its primary project, PRISMA, provides a 20.5% improvement on energy storage, leading to significant carbon savings.
  • Leadership Scotland Award – Bruichladdich Distillery Co Ltd is a whisky and gin distiller based on the Isle of Islay. The company monitors environmental impacts across all aspects of the business, having already switched to 100% green electricity and making additional packaging optional for customers. It also aims to decarbonise distillation by 2025 and be Net Zero by 2050.
  • Moving Scotland Award – Arran Dairies Ltd is a family run business supplying food and drink products across the island. It is carbon neutral and managed to cut 10,000 food miles through use of local production and transport logistics. It has also achieved significant reductions in water use and plastic waste.
  • Partnership Scotland Award – Renfrewshire Council worked on a project to develop a low-carbon energy network. The first of its kind in Scotland, it converts treated wastewater to provide heating and hot water to nearby facilities.
  • Product or Service Scotland Award – ThermaFY Eco, based in Kelso, is a company identifying innovative ways to maximise energy efficiency of homes, producing a service using thermal imaging and a mobile app to empower homeowners to begin their own Net Zero journey.
  • Energy Transition Scotland Award – Multiplex Construction Europe recently completed work on the University of Glasgow’s Advance Research Centre. The building project outperformed the building regulations CO2 emission rate by around 40%, saving 1,300 tCO2 over the next decade.
  • Nature Rich Scotland Award – SRUC Elmwood Golf in Cupar, Fife, has used innovative greenkeeping practices to create a high-quality golf course, rich in biodiversity. The number of moth species at the course has increased, the use of pesticides has seen a 100% reduction, along with reductions in landfill, paper and cardboard waste.
  • Small Business Scotland Award – EGG Lighting, based in Glasgow, helps businesses plan and install LED lighting and sensors, aiming to make lighting circular by using a remanufacturing model to save money and energy whilst providing sustainable, long-term lighting solutions, reducing client lighting costs as well as CO2 emissions.

The following businesses were commended at the VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards 2022:

  • Commended – Product or Service Scotland – Trade Right International – Redeem Exchange, based in Greenock, offers an innovative, cost-saving and environmentally friendly solution to reduce plastic waste going to landfill through a collect, wash, refill, and return service for plastic hand sanitiser bottles. By introducing a circular economy approach, they can extend the life cycle of the plastic bottles by up to 50 times.
  • Commended – Moving Scotland – Recycke-a-Bike, based in Stirling, is a bicycling and training organisation focused on helping people by repairing old bikes and selling them. 50,000 bikes have been saved from landfill and 1,300 pre-loved and repurposed sold in the last year.

Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work addressed the Awards and presented the Leadership Scotland Award. Mr Lochhead said: “The VIBES awards are a fantastic demonstration of the work that businesses all across Scotland are doing to protect our environment and tackle the climate crisis. I would like to congratulate all the winners and I hope they will offer inspiration and ideas to other businesses looking to make their work more sustainable.”