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Army triple win at the prestigious Sanctuary Awards

The Army’s outstanding contributions to conservation and sustainability have been recognised with three top accolades at the Ministry of Defence Sanctuary Awards.

The Sustainable Procurement and Conservation Award

The Sustainable Procurement and Conservation Award has been presented to a team of military and civilian personnel who hit the right note by transforming a former Royal Navy prison block into The Alford School of Military Music.

Built in 1834, the Grade Two listed building was the main cell block of the detention quarters in HMS Nelson, Portsmouth. It underwent a complete redesign and extensive refurbishment to become a centre of military musical excellence, providing training and rehearsal space for both the Corps of Army Music and the Royal Marines Band.

The prison cell blocks are now used as individual and small ensemble practice rooms and are fitted with acoustic panelling soundproofing.

Many of the historic fixtures and fittings have been kept. The authentic oak cell doors were stripped back to their original state, having internal door handles added which were not originally required. 

During the refurbishment, a stash of contraband, including cigarettes, books, and metal polish, was found concealed behind the window of one cell. Graffiti dating back to 1864 was also uncovered. These discoveries are exhibited in the school behind clear screens to protect and preserve the heritage.

The project was enabled by the disposal of the previous home of Army music at Kneller Hall. The Army oversaw the project with support from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).

Net Zero and Resource Efficiency Award

The Army was also awarded the coveted Net Zero and Resource Efficiency Award for its Energy Efficiency Incentivisation Award (EEIA) Scheme - a competition between Army units to reduce energy use.

The Army-wide scheme received over 100 entries which collectively reduced energy consumption by seven percent compared to the baseline year. It saved £3.7M and reduced carbon emissions by the equivalent of taking 4,000 cars off the road for a year. 

The scheme ran for a year and the EEIA team analyzed the results and submitted them to an Army and DIO panel. Each entry was classified, and local infrastructure Improvement Grants were awarded ranging from £5k to £25k.

In 2024 the scheme has been extended to include water conservation.

Sustainable Business Award

The Sanctuary Awards have been recognising outstanding sustainability and conservation efforts across the MOD since 1991. Now in its 33rd year, the awards celebrate group and individual-led projects across 12 categories.

All the winners are considered for the Sustainable Business Award. This award is for the best larger scale or commercial projects which deliver sustainable solutions enabling the Armed Forces to live, work or train.

This year’s winner was the Energy Efficiency Incentivisation Award (EEIA) Scheme.

The awards are run by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). Richard Brooks, the Principal Environmental Manager said: “Well done to all of the winners and thank you for your contribution to making Defence greener.”