The winners of the 2018 Gill Owen Essay Prize were announced this morning at the Energy Consumers Australia Foresighting Forum at UTS.
Joel Dignam was awarded first place for his essay “Now more than ever: the urgent need for minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties”. Joel’s essay has been published in Renew Economy.
The Gill Owen Essay Prize honours the life and work of Dr Gill Owen, who was a tireless campaigner in the fields of energy efficiency and social equity in the UK and Australia before her death in 2016.
Her memory and the legacy of her work is honoured by the essay competition, in which participants up to 35 years of age submit an essay on the theme of energy efficiency and social equity, with reference to Gill’s research or publications.
Runners up for the prize were Nancy Xie, whose essay was on the root causes of energy inequity and Jacob Fry who wrote about the need for equal access to energy services. Each will receive $1,000, while winner Joel takes home $3,000.
Chris Dunstan, Research Director at UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, and judging panel convenor said: “Gill Owen is fondly remembered for her no-nonsense advocacy for smart policy to support vulnerable energy consumers. Today’s winners, Joel, Nancy and Jacob, continue that tradition.”
Joel Dignam, who is the founder and Executive Director of the Better Renting network, said he was humbled to receive the award.
“I’m also really excited that the competition draws attention to the issues in the essay so that more people can benefit from energy efficiency. By putting my ideas on paper and having them published I hope that I can play a role in influencing policy change,” he said.
The Gill Owen Essay Prize was established by UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures. UTS gratefully acknowledges the support of AGL Energy, the Association for Environmental and Energy Equity, Uniting Communities, RenewEconomy, competition coordinator Erika Wagner and Gill’s husband David Green.
UTS also congratulates Ash Salardini, the winner of the Gill Owen International Scholarship, which was also announced today.
Entries for the 2019 Gill Owen Essay Prize will open in August 2019.