• 2009 Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Awards Criteria

  • Criteria for the Corporate, Government, and NGO, Awards

    1. Evidence of disruptive innovation. This is the single most important criterion. It focuses on evidence that the innovation disrupts the status quo way of addressing the problem, and offers a compelling and game changing solution. An example might be a new microorganism that can convert sunlight directly to ethanol at a market disrupting price. Applications should not just make the claim of disruptive innovation, but spell out how the candidate project, application, or program product truly is disruptive – and why it has game changing potential.

    2. Tangible application potential or implementation results. This criterion documents the actual results obtained so far. If the project has concrete results – provide statistics on energy generated or saved. For example, your new process improves industry standard production efficiency by X%. If the project is too new for statistical results, but is clearly innovative, please walk us through the realistic expectations of the potential for results. Why does this project matter?

    3. Economic or environmental leverage, and net energy impact. What we need to know, and you need to document, is does the project make good economic and net energy sense? Have you done a net energy analysis of the project, calculating all of the energy inputs and outputs, and the net energy saved? What can you document concerning environmental impact? For example, reducing packing materials by 60%, and increasing the percentage of recycled materials in the packaging by 50%.

    4. Project replication potential. Many environmental or renewable energy projects work on the good will and enthusiasm of their local participants. That is great, but can you provide evidence that the project will scale beyond a local implementation? For example, the project may already have agreements with local chapters of environmental organizations in every state to roll out the project over the next 18 months, or Home Depot has agreed to sell the project’s new solar photovoltaic product nationwide.

    5. Scale potential. Even if a project will replicate reasonably quickly, it may not “move the needle” reflecting the massive size of the problem. What evidence can you provide that this project either already has achieved considerable scale, or has the potential to scale up to provide meaningful energy or environmental impact?

    6. Independent evidence of accomplishments. It is important for projects to be able to document their own accomplishments, but can you provide any independent evidence of outside review, evaluation, investment, or test results? For example, the project has undergone a Phase II technical review by the DOE, the EPA, or outside auditors. The project may have been evaluated by user testing, reviewed in independent newspaper or magazine articles, or evaluated by team of outside investors.

  • Criteria for the Thought Leadership Award

    This award is for new ideas in energy and environmental problem solving, and/or disruptive solutions. Criteria include the development of new concepts that produced documented and disruptive solutions. The award also is intended to honor emerging leaders that provide innovative new concepts that will lead to disruptive energy and environmental solutions. Providing analytical evidence of the economic, environmental, and or net energy potential of these emerging ideas is critical.

  • Criteria for the Visual Art & Design Award

    This award is for visual art and design projects that highlight and reframe innovative and disruptive energy and environment solutions. Nominations must be accompanied by a link or attachment of 1-4 visual images.  
    The criteria for the Visual Art & Design Award are:

    1. Artistic Quality.  The single most important criteria for the nominated project is artistic excellence. Art or design method should be fully integrated with use of materials to support communication of content.

    2. Evidence of Disruptive Innovation.  The visual art or design project must show evidence of pioneering new perspectives and visions of environmental or energy solutions. The quality and depth of linkage to these solutions will also be considered.

    3. Potential for Impact and Influence.  While many art and design projects show innovative approaches, does this project alter public dialogue in a way can contribute to a game-changing solutions? Does this have potential for wider influence or for replication on a larger scale?