European Sustainable Heritage Award Ceremony

Strasbourg, February 6th

European Historic Houses in partnership with Airbnb inaugurated last year the European Sustainable Heritage Award. 

The Award Ceremony took place on February 6th at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Hosted by the MEP Ibán García del Blanco (Spain, S&D), this event recognized outstanding efforts of private owners in restoring and maintaining private properties. 

The selection of the three best projects was conducted by the expert panel composed of Stefania Pignatelli, ADSI governor and EHH Executive Committee member, architect Anders Brüel, MEP Pernille Weiss and the Airbnb host Gersende Raudot Genet de Chatenay.  

MEP Pernille Weiss commented notably on her involvement in this panel’s competition: “It was important for us MEPs to witness such wonderful projects to better understand the importance of sustainability for cultural heritage and how impactful it is for reducing carbon emissions.” 

Thanks to this award, we had the chance to discover many wonderful and innovative projects for sustainable heritage. MEP Ibán García del Blanco highlighted: “The enhancement of heritage is a powerful tool to stop the exodus of young people and the ageing of the population to urban settings. Cultural heritage can only survive and expand through the people who acquire and disseminate the culture of their environment.” The three finalists that we had the chance to meet in-person in Strasbourg shared with us the great works they have carried out. 

The winner of the European Sustainable Heritage competition is Mr. Giles Keating from the UK Historic House Association, owner of Athelhampton House in England. Mr. Keating’s successful project consisted of eliminating the total net annual on-site emissions from energy usage of his 540 years-old house. Mr. Keating managed to showcase a total reduction of on-site carbon emissions from 100 tones to 0. The property is now also the host and the leading figure in local partnerships, events, and other cultural affairs with local businesses. The expert panel awarded the great work of Mr. Keating especially regarding his 0-carbon emission energy system, his effort to grow the visitors’ experience and the large involvement of the property in local business and cultural development.

One of the runners-up is Mr. Alexander Baring from Historic Houses of Ireland, owner of Lambay Castle on Lambay Island. He carried out a project that could improve tourism and hospitality not only for his property, but on the entire island of Lambay. The refurbishing of the castle transformed the property electricity system combined with innovative water and waste management system. The castle plays an important role for tourists and locals. The panel was impressed by the work invested into this project that reduced the building’s diesel consumption by 50 times while enhancing community engagement and touristic experience. 

Our other finalist is Mrs. Sophia Emmanuel from the Greek association Elliniki Etairia, owner of the Kambones 1615 house located the Island of Naxos. Her 400-years old family home in danger of collapse was totally renovated to its original form while adopting sustainable solutions like solar power lightning or recycling-repairing system among others. The property now welcomes the public with numerous cultural events surrounding Greek culture. The expert panel saluted the real effort in rebuilding a sustainable house while keeping its authentic character as well as the new involvement of the property in the local and touristic community as a cultural hub.

Congratulations again to the three finalists. We all can salute the efforts made every day by our historic houses owners to find solutions for the future of privately owned heritage properties.

European Sustainable Heritage Award

The European Sustainable Heritage Award 2023 is a new competition organised by European Historic Houses in partnership with Airbnb. It aims to recognise and reward efforts to improve the sustainability of privately owned historic houses, gardens, and parks.

This initiative aligns with the European Green Deal, which seeks to make the European Union carbon neutral by 2050 through legislative changes in areas like building renovation, biodiversity, innovation, farming, and the circular economy. EHH, deeply committed to these goals, together with Airbnb has decided to award three candidates with up to 20,000€.

Entrants to the competition must own a historic house and be members of one of the EHH Member Associations. They are required to have undertaken a renovation or improvement project in their property with a minimum cost of €20,000, focused on enhancing sustainability while preserving their role as custodians of European heritage in the past year. Projects may have an impact on energy efficiency, waste management, water conservation, biodiversity and ecosystems.

The winner of the competition should fulfill all the requirements and demonstrate a deep understanding and passion for the heritage sector, along with innovative thinking and tangible successes in sustainability.

Why apply?

  • Chance to connect and learn about new interesting and sustainable projects across Europe.
  • Possibility to promote your own project and ideas.
  • Feature in our social media channels and newsletter.
  • Attractive prizes for the three selected candidates! The winner will receive 20,000€ and the two finalists will get 10,000€ each.
  • Take part in our award ceremony event on 6 February 2024 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Quick calendar overview

  • 23 October 2023: applications period opened
  • 31 December 2023: deadline for applications
  • January 2024: panel meeting and contacting the selected finalists
  • 6 February 2024: ceremony award event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Requirements, Terms and Conditions

Please, read the full criteria booklet carefully and contact us if you have any doubts! We will be happy to answer your questions at