The John Chesshire Award, in honour of the late John Chesshire, has been created to recognise an outstanding contributor to the improvement of energy efficiency in the UK.
The inaugural winner is Peter Thom, managing director of Cambridge-based Green Heat, described in his nomination as 'a dedicated environmentalist who has worked consistently over the past two decades to raise awareness of energy efficiency within the domestic sector'.
Thom's outstanding achievements include having been a pioneer of both condensing boilers and the concept of home energy audits, each of which has made a significant contribution to bringing heating and energy efficiency to our homes. He was also active in the consultation that led to the specification of boiler efficiencies being incorporated in building regulations.
He began promoting and installing energy-efficient gas condensing boilers over 20 years ago, long before this was common practice, and in 2009 was the person who came up with the idea of introducing a boiler scrappage scheme, loosely modelled on the Government's car scrappage scheme. Thom lobbied ministers, civil servants and his colleagues, and the £50m scheme was launched in January. On a wider front, he has become a leading advocate of renewable energy options, as well as recoverables such as mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, flue heat recovery systems and solar thermal.
Thom has given his time to many industry and environmental groups, among others, the executive council of the Institute of Domestic Heating & Environmental Engineers and the Heating & Hot Water Task Force. He developed the Heating Installer energy efficiency course and trained over 400 trainers who then delivered this training to over 65,000 heating installers to prepare them for the requirement to instal condensing boilers.
His company, Green Heat, has helped save nearly 400,000 tonnes of CO2 since it was formed in 1990. The judges praised Thom's 'proven commitment to energy efficiency' and commented: 'The introduction of the boiler scrappage scheme was a clear example of innovative policy thinking driving a successful environmental change.'
Supported by Eaga
Professor John Chesshire OBE was a leading voice for greater energy efficiency (and founding chairman of the Green Business Awards judging panel) until his untimely death in 2009. This special award, created in association with Green Business Awards sponsor Eaga in John's memory, recognises the individual who has contributed most to improved energy efficiency over the two years to May 2010.