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European Sustainable Energy Award for Prisons (E-SEAP)

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E-seaP is an award scheme that aims to recognise prison establishments and their staff for all of their efforts towards energy sustainability. Rather than focusing exclusively on levels of consumption and carbon emissions (which is extremely challenging and demotivating for a financially strained sector with enormous energy challenges in its building stock and processes), there is a focus on behavioural change, policy and practice within the prison.The focus was on three areas of intervention:
  • Buildings and Management - to address the problem of a solely departmental approach to energy management through steps such as; energy policy, management committees and staff training;
  • Education and Training – recognises the need to raise basic skills and the link to reducing reoffending. Education improves staff and offenders’ energy related skills, and can be the incentive for behaviour change;
  • Prison Communities- works with prisoners’ families (many of which are in high risk groups with regards to fuel poverty) and the local community to extend the impact of E-seaP benefits beyond the prison walls.
The first awards were developed and achieved via a very close collaboration with the first participant prisons that helped develop the assessment criteria and support tools of the final framework.


  • E-SEAP award framework developed (available in 5 languages and 7 partner regions) and established (14 prisons assessed by E-SEAP and achieved awards) including; matrices, assessment criteria and supporting specifications and tools developed that assess the energy performance and level of energy intelligent practice at Prisons (3 elements - Buildings, Education/Training, Communities)
  • Key actors and target groups have been fully engaged to shape the action and final E-SEAP 14 Participant prisons: • Central Advisory Panels established) • 7 Wider Implementation Strategies on National levels • Positive participant feedback evidenced in evaluation report
  • Awareness and intelligent energy use exceeding requirements of EPBD in participant prisons through supported practical action to further progress at each participant prison in each of the 3 elements. • 14 prisons with 15% energy saving (16.94Gwh) • 470 hours education and training delivered across staff and prisoners (317 people) • 1050 Domestic information packs distributed • 25% increase on practical action levels for each element of E-SEAP
  • Evaluation reports evidencing improvement from baseline for; energy savings, practical action, increase in available support material and participant perception and 14 prisons achieving at least bronze level awards.
  • To generate international interest and initiate strategic objectives towards full European implementation: • 1 European Wide Implementation Strategy • 826 dissemination contacts receiving information, including 126 identified persons in non participant countries • 1 film • Transnational dissemination material in 39% of official EU languages • 7 National Prison Energy Manager Conferences

Lessons learned

  • Lesson 1: E-seaP provides clear evidence of the positive impacts of a holistic approach that supplements the technical fix with wider engagement and action on the issues. It has given the real practice examples of how cross-cutting action can be achieved even in difficult environments.
  • Lesson 2: Previous to E-seaP, for many people, prisons had been perceived as a completely ‘closed door’ in more than one sense! It has been encouraging to experience the interest levels in this work and the recognition of sustainability as important. Not only have we found many examples of prison managers and staff who are keen to support efforts to improve environmental performance there are also a high proportion of individuals who can see the relevance of sustainability and energy management to the wider aspects of their work that focus on reducing reoffending, supporting prisoner rehabilitation, raising skills and improving conditions and efficiency.
  • Lesson 3: A comparison of consumption over time, establishment by establishment, is a better solution than comparing prisons, or establishing benchmarking figures.

Partners and coordinator

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Severn Wye Energy Agency Limited
United Kingdom
Contact point: 
Rachel Close
0001594 545 369


Key documents

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In brief

20/04/2011 to 20/01/2014
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