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Solar Laundromat Cleans up at Bremen Partnership Awards

Canada’s Beach Solar Laundromat has won first prize in the 2004 Bremen Partnership Awards, which were opened up to international competitors for the first time this year. Prof. Klaus Töpfer, director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and Jens Eckhoff, Bremen’s senator of the environment, presented the top award to Alex Winch for the project.

Second and third place with total prize money of €35,000 went to the Ukrainian Network for Local Environmental Sustainability project from the municipality of Nikolaev and to EcoMTex Ecological Textiles for the Mass Market by the German company Otto, respectively. A special prize of recognition was awarded to U.K. entrant BedZED by Bremen’s Senator for Construction, Environment, and Transport.

These awards are aimed at projects which feature cooperation between business partners and ones from the fields of science, politics, local government or NGOs. Senator Jens Eckhoff explained “The 168 entries for the competition completely exceeded all our expectations. The awards go to three projects which are highly committed to the environment and set examples for sustainable economic activity. A fourth project has been awarded a special prize of recognition for its outstanding success.”

The jury did not have an easy time picking a winner from the seven finalists. Harald Emigholz, chairman of the German Center for Productivity and Innovation and organizer of the award said, “We would have liked to have given every finalist a prize, since they all showed business vision and responsibility for the environment.” Johann Färber, managing director of the Bremer Aufbau-Bank GmbH, who this year again donated the prize money, added, “I congratulate the winners and I am confident that our recognition for commitment to the environment will set an example that motivates others in Bremen and the wider world to get involved in sustainable development.”

Prof. Klaus Töpfer praised not only the winners, but also Bremen’s outstanding commitment to sustainability. Bremen leads the way in the area of innovative environmental technology. Following the award ceremony, around 300 guests seized the opportunity to exchange ideas.

The 2004 Bremen Partnership Award winners are:
  • First Prize: €20,000
    The jury chose the Canadian solar-powered laundrette “Beach Solar Laundromat Wash and Fold“ for its sustainability. On the one hand, the use of solar energy reduces CO2 emissions by 40%; on the other hand, laundrette owner Alex Winch, has created jobs for immigrants. This has been in cooperation with a community initiative to facilitate their integration and language acquisition.

  • Second Prize: €10,000
    The Ukrainian Network for Local Environmental Sustainability, managed by Dr. Yuriy Kerbunov, environmental consultant for the municipality of Nikolaev, was chosen by the jury as a successful example of international sustainable cooperation. In partnership with British company Global to Local, environment management systems were successfully introduced to the municipality of Nikolaev. This led to a significant reduction in SO2 emissions, water pollution and fresh water consumption. Coal was replaced by natural gas. So far, 23 other towns have followed this example.

  • Third Prize: €5,000
    The jury felt that the company Otto has set new standards with its EcoMTex project in the field of production and sale of ecological textiles for the mass market. An entire production and supply chain has been set up by Dr. Johannes Merck, director of Environment and Social Policy with his team at Otto. This utilizes organically grown cotton, biocompatible additives and environment friendly production methods. Consumer awareness has been raised regarding sustainability and environmentally friendly harvesting and production.

  • Special Prize of Recognition: €2,500
    Awarded to U.K. entrant BedZED by Bremen’s Senator for Construction,
    Environment, and Transport.
    The BedZED project (Beddington Zero Energy Development) is the U.K.´s largest eco-village, with 82 homes and office spaces. Electricity and heat is supplied by on-site renewable energy, and ventilation is wind powered. Rainwater tanks reduce water consumption. Green transport includes a car club in which 40 members share 3 cars. The jury sees this as a perfect example of sustainable home-building and a way of life for the future. The project illustrates the high potential for reducing the consumption of resources. A special prize was also awarded to the BioRegional Development Group in Johannesburg.
Other finalists included a technology transfer project for sustainable village development from Kerala in India; and the E+Co company from Bloomfield, U.S., which develops renewable energy systems in rural areas in Brazil and promotes sustainable business opportunities for farmers. A Bremen project qualified with the Waterman company and its “dip stick,” a unique self-regulating irrigation drip emitter for large-scale agricultural use as well as at home in the garden.

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