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Can you charge your electric car from a lamp post?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 27 March 2017 at 5:09 pm

Can you charge your electric car from a lamp post?

Well actually you can’t, unless you happen to live in Onslow Gardens in Kensington, but some residents there can.  Back in December the Government made £2.5m of funding available via its On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, which enabled Local Authorities to install charge p…

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Show Homes will inspire domestic retrofit finds study

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 March 2017 at 2:40 pm

Show Homes will inspire domestic retrofit finds study

The main purpose of Show Homes is to inform and inspire. In a recent study, we found that they can be used very effectively to raise public awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and generate interest among visitors who might then go on to install similar measures in their …

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How Green are Biofuels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 March 2017 at 5:15 pm

How Green are Biofuels?

Our society is addicted to oil. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world will use 96 million barrels of oil (152 billion litres) a day throughout 2016 [1]. Our oil usage shows no sign of slowing down, so we desperately need an alternative for this non-renewable resource.   …

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Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 17 March 2017 at 4:50 pm

Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Q. I have 12 solar panels, six facing east and six facing west. I have two inverters, one of which is a 'Sunnyboy', but I don't know which model. It was checked today and I was told its voltage is 281 when it should be around 240 volts. Is this a problem? Do I need something to reduce…

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Are smart meters overcharging?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 14 March 2017 at 11:23 am

Are smart meters overcharging?

I know I have written much about how great smart meters could be. They will help us to get rid of the antiquated idea of estimated bills, they will make is easier for everyone to see where they are using energy and they will make it much much easier for people to switch supplier.  But all of…

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What should you consider when going off the grid?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 March 2017 at 10:45 am

What should you consider when going off the grid?

Every wanted to cut your ties with the electricity grid and rely entirely on renewable power? In this article we’ll consider a few of the things to consider before setting up an off grid system. The first thing to consider is why you want to go off grid in the first place. Off grid syst…

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Solar PV-T systems - what are the pros and cons?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 March 2017 at 10:45 am

Solar PV-T systems - what are the pros and cons?

There are two main ways to collect energy from sunlight. Both have their advantages and both are increasingly being used by households and industry across the world. A hybrid or PV-T system combines the two approaches into the same panel. Solar PV Solar Photovoltaics (Solar PV) are possib…

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External vs internal wall insulation: Which is best?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 7 March 2017 at 10:05 am

External vs internal wall insulation: Which is best?

Heating a house with solid walls can be quite a challenge. Solid walls lack a cavity, so the most common form of wall insulation isn’t viable, but they can still be insulated with either internal or external insulation. The effectiveness of an insulating material is represented by a U-v…

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Green open homes are inspiring people to action

Posted by Gordon Glass on 3 March 2017 at 11:40 am

Green open homes are inspiring people to action

The inspirational value of SuperHomes and other green open home initiatives was crystalized this week following a UK Green Building Council report. As reported by the BBC, 25 million UK homes must be insulated to achieve the government’s stated goal of an 80% cut in UK carbon emissions …

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Can nanotechnology make solar PV 80% efficient?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 February 2017 at 10:05 am

Can nanotechnology make solar PV 80% efficient?

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems are a great way to produce renewable power by converting the energy in sunlight into electricity. However sunlight comes in a wide range of wavelengths, both visible and invisible. The current generation of solar panels are only able to harness a fraction of the po…

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How do I handle the ash from my biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 27 February 2017 at 2:05 pm

How do I handle the ash from my biomass boiler?

In this video SuperHomer Mark Brown reveals the suprisingly small amount of ash produced by his wood pellet boiler after burning through around  4.5 tonnes of wood pellets each year. Mark lives in a five bedroom house in South Buckinghamshire with wife Liya and their children. The house was …

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Why zone your heating?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 February 2017 at 10:40 am

Why zone your heating?

Central heating systems are great for keeping the house warm during the cold winter months. Even in the spring and summer they can frequently come in handy. But it does cost a lot of energy to heat your home. As much as 60% of domestic energy consumption is used for space heating [1]. So how can …

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How do I get the best burn from my wood burning stove?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 21 February 2017 at 9:55 am

How do I get the best burn from my wood burning stove?

To get the best burn from you wood burning stove, it's vital to use your stove's secondary air supply correctly... You might be thinking that now you have got your wood burner installed, you can happily burn as much wood as you like safe in the knowledge that you have done your bit fo…

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What is the best way to insulate a loft conversion?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 20 February 2017 at 12:15 pm

What is the best way to insulate a loft conversion?

A loft conversion can be a great way to increase your family’s living space without moving house. However, not all lofts are viable. You’ll need at least 2 metres clear head height and enough floor space to make a useable room. During a loft conversion you will need to add intern…

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What made new LEDs so much better?

Posted by Arthur Smith on 17 February 2017 at 12:05 pm

What made new LEDs so much better?

LED lighting has really come on over the last 5 years and deserves a 10/10 for improvement. So, what exactly what changed? Developments in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting technology have been spectacular over the last five years. The efficiency of LEDs has dramatically improved, the pric…

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Free electric vehicle smart chargers offered as part of regional trial

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 February 2017 at 12:31 pm

Free electric vehicle smart chargers offered as part of regional trial

Have you just jumped on the electric vehicle bandwagon? Are you not quite there yet, but interested to get involved? Perhaps you have an electric hybrid vehicle and would like a smart charger at home. A new project is recruiting owners of a range of makes and models of electric vehicles (EVs)…

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Buying your own woodland - what is involved?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 9 February 2017 at 11:30 am

Buying your own woodland - what is involved?

A year ago, my good wife and I summoned up the courage, and finance, to purchase our own woodland - five acres (just over two hectares) of beech woods in the Chilterns. It’s classified as PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site) because it’s been continuously wooded since 1650 (know…

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SWITCH your energy supplier if you do not like it!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 February 2017 at 11:50 am

SWITCH your energy supplier if you do not like it!

I could have written a blog here where I spent the majority of my time damning the big six energy suppliers and their price increases, but that wouldn’t be news to you. Some of the major suppliers are sneaking out little increases (EDF), others (npower) are going a bit further. The rise ann…

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Solar PV made my electricity meter run backwards

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 February 2017 at 1:50 pm

Solar PV made my electricity meter run backwards

They found me, I don’t know how, but they found me.  Yes, I know, it’s a quote from Back to the Future and of course I do know how they found me. My energy supplier finally worked out that my meter was running backwards because I have a PV system.  I had a 3.01kWp sy…

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Can I service my biomass boiler myself?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 31 January 2017 at 11:10 am

Can I service my biomass boiler myself?

Biomass boilers that burn wood logs, chips or pellets require more attention than gas or oil boilers as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop the boiler working efficiently. Some of these tasks you will need to do yourself, such as regular cleaning and checking. As with servicing your car, be…

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Pay-as-you-save home refurb set for relaunch after sale of Green Deal loan book?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 January 2017 at 1:21 pm

Pay-as-you-save home refurb set for relaunch after sale of Green Deal loan book?

I can’t remember how many blogs have a written on Green Deal, but I know it’s an awful lot.  I was heavily involved with it in the early days, working with big organisations who intended to become Green Deal Providers, working with DECC (now BEIS) to help them to analyse how all …

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Will tomorrow's solar panels generate electricity from rain?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 January 2017 at 10:15 am

Will tomorrow's solar panels generate electricity from rain?

There are potential sources of energy all around us. Any natural system contains energy and in theory we can tap into that energy to generate electricity or work. Something that we don’t currently harness is rain. Unfortunately rainfall doesn’t generate a sufficient volume of water to…

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How will data collected from smart meters help us?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 January 2017 at 11:50 am

How will data collected from smart meters help us?

The smart grid revolution is coming, whether you like it or not. With smart meters due in every home by 2020 some of us may be wondering why all this data needed, who will benefit and what risks come with it? We've tried to answer some of these kinds of questions in this blog. What is in …

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Can I install a wood burning stove or biomass boiler if I live in a Smoke Control Area?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 18 January 2017 at 10:30 am

Can I install a wood burning stove or biomass boiler if I live in a Smoke Control Area?

The answer is yes, but only an approved model. This is because many areas of the country have air quality problems which affect human health and, although pollutant emissions from biomass boilers are lower than from coal, if you live in a smoke control area there are restrictions on the type of b…

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As halogen bulbs are phased out will LEDs steal the limelight?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 16 January 2017 at 11:30 am

As halogen bulbs are phased out will LEDs steal the limelight?

As of 1 September 2016 directional halogen bulbs (GU10 spotlights) are being phased out across Europe. Other types of halogens are due to disappear from September 2018. However, many consumers are unaware of the ban and are unsure about LED alternatives. Recent research1 by an online LED ligh…

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Does my biomass boiler have to comply with Building Regulations?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 13 January 2017 at 3:30 pm

Does my biomass boiler have to comply with Building Regulations?

The answer is Yes. Building Regulations apply if you change buildings in certain ways, including installing a biomass boiler. The regulations cover a range of issues, including safety, fire protection, and energy efficiency. How do I get Building Regulations’ approval for my biomass boi…

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A fridge in reverse: the air source heat pump

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 January 2017 at 12:10 pm

A fridge in reverse: the air source heat pump

What is an air source heat pump? Air source heat pumps allow us to generate hot water or warm air, by making the most of the free heat in the air outside our house. But how exactly do they work? This informative video produced by YouGen member, Nu-Heat, explains the process the air source hea…

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What does embodied energy mean?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 January 2017 at 1:30 pm

What does embodied energy mean?

We often worry about how much energy it takes to use an appliance or gadget. We can save a considerable amount of energy by being careful how we use our devices, but domestic energy use is just one part of a much larger problem. What about the energy it takes to make that gadget in the first plac…

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Does filling your fridge make it more efficient?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 6 January 2017 at 5:10 pm

Does filling your fridge make it more efficient?

It has been suggested that a full fridge is more energy efficient than an empty one. Many advice sites actually recommend filling up the excess space in your fridge with bottles of water in order to make it run more efficiently. Unfortunately this is a myth. Let’s examine why this is, and w…

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Workouts to watts: does all the energy we produce in exercise have to go to waste?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 5 January 2017 at 1:05 pm

Workouts to watts: does all the energy we produce in exercise have to go to waste?

It’s 2017 and for many of us the number one New Year’s resolution is to get fit or at least burn off the Christmas excesses. But should all that energy we produce in exercise go to waste? As new gym memberships peak in January YouGen is taking a timely look at the potential for gyms t…

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Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 4 January 2017 at 12:05 pm

Hygge, happiness and the real wood fire experience

Hygge (pronounced hooga) as you may know is the Danish word for a certain sort of happiness. This is not the happiness from buying new stuff (if, in fact, that actually makes you happy) or the happiness from winning at sport, but a type of contentment happiness where one has a warm glow and is at…

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Do I need planning permission to install a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 29 December 2016 at 12:05 pm

Do I need planning permission to install a biomass boiler?

In a few cases you will need planning permission to install a biomass boiler. Biomass heating systems do not generally require planning permission as they are deemed ‘permitted developments’, but in some cases the visual impact of the flue or alterations to the building may …

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 20 December 2016 at 11:20 am

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

On 14 December the government (BEIS) published its response to the March 2016 consultation on reform of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This includes changes to the tariffs and conditions of the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes. These will apply, according to the response, from spring 20…

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House inside a greenhouse adds solar gain in winter

Posted by Alex Barrett on 19 December 2016 at 11:15 am

House inside a greenhouse adds solar gain in winter

Many of us use greenhouses to keep our plants warm through the winter. It turns out we could use the same technology to keep warm ourselves. Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto live near Stockholm in Sweden. They have built a massive greenhouse that entirely surrounds their home. This keeps the h…

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Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

Posted by Gordon Glass on 16 December 2016 at 9:30 am

Domestic biomass RHI tariff to rise by 53% on 1 Apr 2017

The domestic biomass RHI tariff will rise to 6.44p/kWh from 1 Apr 2017 – a 53% increase from the tariff of 4.21p/kWh already set for the period Jan-Mar 2017! We expect the new tariff to be available for applications made from 1 April to support the installation of biomass pellet boilers and…

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 14 December 2016 at 10:30 am

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

On 30 November the government (BEIS) announced reductions to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs for certain new domestic and non-domestic installations with applications approved on or after 1 January 2017. The percentage reductions in domestic and non-domestic RHI tariffs are as follows: …

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Should I get my chimney swept before using my wood burner?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 12 December 2016 at 12:30 pm

Should I get my chimney swept before using my wood burner?

Is your chimney clean enough for Santa to avoid getting stuck this year? Nobody wants smoke coming back down into the room, so getting the chimney and flue swept to free them of obstructions is a must if you want a safer, more efficient burn this winter. Whatever fuel you are using, people of…

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Could transparent wood soon bring more light into our homes?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 December 2016 at 3:15 pm

Could transparent wood soon bring more light into our homes?

Transparent wood could soon provide a new building material which will allow us to brighten up our homes by making wooden parts of the structure translucent. It could have applications for building design and as a transparent coating for solar cells. Wood remains one of the most commonly used…

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What does a biomass boiler annual service involve?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 7 December 2016 at 12:30 pm

What does a biomass boiler annual service involve?

Biomass boilers that burn wood logs, chips or pellets, require more attention than gas or oil boilers when it comes to filling, cleaning and fuel delivery. They should also be cleaned and serviced regularly as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop the boiler working efficiently. Some of these tas…

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Kite sails: Can we return to wind powered shipping?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 6 December 2016 at 11:40 am

Kite sails: Can we return to wind powered shipping?

At one time all shipping was powered by renewable wind energy, but sailing ships didn’t survive long into the era of coal and diesel. Now sailing, in a modified form, could be seeing a return in commercial shipping. The modern shipping industry is a large contributor to greenhouse gas e…

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Help - what do I do if I am a GB Energy customer?

Posted by NEF Gabby on 2 December 2016 at 5:15 pm

Help - what do I do if I am a GB Energy customer?

If you are (or were) one of the 160,000 customers of GB Energy, which went bust just over a week ago, you will be pleased to hear that Ofgem has now approved Co-operative Energy to take on all GB Energy's customers.  What does this mean for me? your gas and electricity supply…

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Earth sheltered houses: Past, present and future

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 December 2016 at 12:40 pm

Earth sheltered houses: Past, present and future

We have a long history of living in earth sheltered houses. Some of the earliest human dwellings made use of caves, and throughout human history there have been occasions where building your house into a hillside proved far more effective than leaving it exposed. The ground is a good insulati…

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Calling installers - biomass boiler push. Are you with us?

Posted by Gordon Glass on 28 November 2016 at 11:30 am

Calling installers - biomass boiler push. Are you with us?

You are a biomass installer on the MCS register, but how will you fair in our 10 second quiz on your specialist subject. Stopwatch at the ready... When you type ‘Biomass Boiler’ into Google: Q1. Who ranks Top 3?* Q2. How many views do you need to rank Top 3? Q3. What does…

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Self-driving cars could save energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 23 November 2016 at 11:30 am

Self-driving cars could save energy

In 2014 transport accounted for 38% of the UK’s final energy consumption [1]. The majority of this was due to the use of road vehicles, both for private transport and for business. Cars account for a considerable fraction of the greenhouse gasses we emit. As roads get more congested the…

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Was switching my energy supplier worth it?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 21 November 2016 at 11:05 am

Was switching my energy supplier worth it?

OK, so I switched a little while ago and I wanted to tell you how painless it has all been. The new supplier, Bulb, wrote to me almost immediately to welcome me to their new community. They introduced me to their website where I will be able to post meter readings to keep track of my usage (w…

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Biomass boiler installation: what's involved?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 16 November 2016 at 10:30 am

Biomass boiler installation: what's involved?

In 2009 SuperHomer Mark Brown had a biomass boiler installed to heat his 1980s five bedroom detached family home. In this video he gives us an overview of the installation process. We also fast forward to 2014 to see how it looks five years later. At the time of installation it took Mark…

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Heat Pumps: Air source or ground source?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 15 November 2016 at 10:30 am

Heat Pumps: Air source or ground source?

Heat pumps are devices that use a small amount of energy to move heat from one place to another. During cold weather they extract heat from outside sources and pump it indoors. This process can be reversed during summer in order to act as an air conditioning system. The heat pump circulates a…

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How will degree days help you measure energy savings from heating and insulation improvements?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 November 2016 at 11:01 am

How will degree days help you measure energy savings from heating and insulation improvements?

Suppose you are retrofitting your house, improving its insulation or installing a more energy efficient heating system. You will want to know how much energy you are saving, but with heating costs this can be tricky to figure out. This is where "degree days" can help. Temperature, a…

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Can we generate 100% of our energy from renewables?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 11 November 2016 at 11:46 am

Can we generate 100% of our energy from renewables?

In early May of 2016 Portugal covered all of its electricity demand for four days using only renewable sources, energy prices in Germany briefly turned negative, as renewables met almost all of the demand for a day, and the UK didn't use any coal fired power stations at all during several low…

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How does a full log box keep you and your wood stove happy?

Posted by Stewart Mcilroy on 9 November 2016 at 11:15 am

How does a full log box keep you and your wood stove happy?

Good preparation is important if you want to heat your home efficiently with a wood stove. What you want is ‘maximisation of heat out’ and ‘minimisation of effort in’. The practical and psychological benefits of advance preparation are clear to me. Practical benef…

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Should you open windows in winter?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 November 2016 at 11:15 am

Should you open windows in winter?

When it comes to energy saving the less heat your house loses the better. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by draught proofing. By stopping warm air from leaking out of your house you prevent heat loss and so reduce the amount of energy you have to use for heating. This suggests that fo…

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What are the basics of a modern biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 4 November 2016 at 5:05 pm

What are the basics of a modern biomass boiler?

In this video SuperHomer Mark Brown introduces us to the wood pellet boiler he chose to get installed in his 1980s five bedroom detached family home in 2009. Mark's boiler is substantially larger than the usual gas boiler and is installed in the garage. Some boiler models do not take…

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I switched energy supplier and saved

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 November 2016 at 10:05 am

I switched energy supplier and saved

The first thing I had to do was work out how much energy I had used last year. That wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be as, rather helpfully, my current energy provider does give me an annual statement and puts on each month’s bill a note of my previous year’s energy us…

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Petition rallies support for onshore wind energy

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 28 October 2016 at 10:31 am

Petition rallies support for onshore wind energy

Thousands of people across the UK have signed a petition in support of clean energy – will you join them? 10:10 are asking members of the public to sign a petition to let Philip Hammond know that they object to policies that favour fossil fuels over clean energy. The charity says th…

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Energy vampires are real and exist in your home!

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 28 October 2016 at 9:50 am

Energy vampires are real and exist in your home!

Vampire draw, phantom loads and no-load power are all terms used to refer to the phenomenon of electricity being consumed by appliances that are “switched off” or in "stand-by mode". These appliances can run up your electricity bill and can easily add up to a hundred po…

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How should I season and store wood for my stove?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 26 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

How should I season and store wood for my stove?

What are the aims of wood storage and why it is so important? I spoke to Stewart McIlroy, SuperHomer and wood stove owner about his advice for wood storage. Stewart says that the main aim of storing wood is to ‘season’ it. Newly chopped wood contains a high percentage of water whi…

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It is energy switching time again

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 October 2016 at 2:20 pm

It is energy switching time again

As we approach winter, and most of you will already have turned your heating on, I wonder how many of you are thinking about switching.  Why would you want to have your most costly months on that stupidly high tariff you are paying because you haven’t bothered to shop around? In the su…

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Does plastic have to come from oil?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 21 October 2016 at 10:30 am

Does plastic have to come from oil?

Plastic is all around us. Over the course of the 20th century it has become one of the most commonly used materials for all manner of goods and appliances. It is estimated that 288 million tons of plastic were produced in 2012 [1]. But plastic is made from oil, the same non-renewable crude oil re…

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Heat pump tumble dryers: Eco-friendly or not?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 October 2016 at 9:45 am

Heat pump tumble dryers: Eco-friendly or not?

It is no secret that tumble dryers are not especially environmentally friendly. They use quite a lot of energy and are certainly less energy efficient than hanging your washing out to dry. Several types of dryer claim to be more environmentally friendly. In particular heat pump tumble dryers …

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Will energy scavenging be the next big thing? Let's stomp!

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 October 2016 at 1:05 pm

Will energy scavenging be the next big thing? Let's stomp!

The field of “energy scavenging” or “harvesting” is all about capturing the small amounts of energy that are constantly going to waste [1, 2]. Most tasks produce excess heat, light, vibrations and movement, which mostly goes to waste. A variety of innovative technologies h…

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Draught proofing - how much could you save?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 October 2016 at 1:40 pm

Draught proofing - how much could you save?

Leaky buildings cost a lot of energy. Draughts allow hot air to escape from even the best insulated houses, and can be uncomfortable for those inside. Historic England report that older buildings lose 15-20% of their heat through draughts [1]. Fortunately this can be solved by draught proofing, w…

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Are sunpipes the solution to dark rooms and stairwells?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 October 2016 at 10:30 am

Are sunpipes the solution to dark rooms and stairwells?

Sunpipes are cylindrical tubes which channel natural sunlight from a transparent dome on the roof to bring it to areas that wouldn’t otherwise get natural light. Many of us have dark stairwells and rooms that get little sunlight in our homes. Sunpipes (sometimes called solarpipes) are a low…

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How easy is it to get a new electricity meter installed?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2016 at 4:40 pm

How easy is it to get a new electricity meter installed?

That was another saga. Firstly the letter they sent to say that my meter may be faulty gave the contact details of a third party that they had commissioned to do their meter installs. I emailed and asked for some more info. How long would the install take? Did I really need to be at home, as the …

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Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Wind energy is often criticised for being unreliable. However, there is almost always wind blowing in the UK - it's just a little higher up than we currently reach. High above the friction with the ground, high altitude winds are stronger and much more stable than those close to gro…

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How far can motion sensors save energy used for lighting?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 30 September 2016 at 12:45 pm

How far can motion sensors save energy used for lighting?

It is well known that switching off unused lights can save a large amount of energy. Around three percent of home energy usage comes from lighting [1]. While energy use can thus be reduced by switching to energy efficient light bulbs, there is no substitute for ensuring that lights are switc…

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Why is energy storage difficult?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 27 September 2016 at 12:25 pm

Why is energy storage difficult?

Our ability to generate renewable energy is increasing all of the time. It provides a great, green supplement to conventional power generation technologies. However if renewables are to one day stand on their own then there is an important issue that needs to be considered; Energy Storage. So…

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Are electric cars the future?

Posted by NEF Gabby on 23 September 2016 at 12:06 pm

Are electric cars the future?

The electric car debate has been a long and contested road, with questions still remaining unanswered about the ability Electric Vehicles (EVs) have to reshape society and replace our gas guzzling needs. Aerospace engineer and Motorsport fan Lukas Willcocks has test driven a number of electric ve…

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How a car fanatic transformed his 1960s home for greater efficiency

Posted by NEF Gabby on 22 September 2016 at 2:05 pm

How a car fanatic transformed his 1960s home for greater efficiency

You might think that the worlds of fast cars and home refurbishment are miles apart, but aerospace engineer and motorsports fan Lukas Willcocks sees a focus on high performance in common. Getting more ‘miles per gallon’ out of your home Like in the automotive industry, energy …

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Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 September 2016 at 10:05 am

Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

In order to capture energy from renewable sources we need the right technology. But solar panels and wind turbines are very energy intensive to manufacture. Unfortunately the energy that is used to make renewable systems usually comes from fossil fuels. So can we produce enough renewable electric…

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Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 September 2016 at 5:05 pm

Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Question: Our new custom built house will have a new air source heat pump & solar thermal. Assuming we use an accredited supplier etc we think we may be eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme payments for these. However according to the Ofgem Domestic RHI Reference document (page …

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Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2016 at 3:45 pm

Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

We all know that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is designed to encourage the retrofit of renewable heat (RH) technologies into existing properties. However, there is a clever little exception which will help more RH technologies to be installed and it relates to new build. Generally new b…

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There is magic to the fabric: going all out with insulation

Posted by NEF Gabby on 13 September 2016 at 9:55 am

There is magic to the fabric: going all out with insulation

As summer fades into the distant past we all know that the cold months of the year will soon be upon us, but turning up the heating isn’t the only action you can take to keep warm at home this winter. In a recent interview with SuperHome owner Ian Mawditt, he told us how he took a fabric-fi…

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How can smart controls help you get more out of a SuperHome?

Posted by NEF Gabby on 9 September 2016 at 2:50 pm

How can smart controls help you get more out of a SuperHome?

As technology forms an increasingly central part of our lives, more of us are considering how we can use it to exercise more control of our homes. Chris and Lucy Ronketti are already ahead of the game, and thinking ‘smart controls’ in their SuperHome. Smart heating control Chri…

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How creative can you get with rainwater harvesting?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 7 September 2016 at 9:40 am

How creative can you get with rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting doesn’t have to start and end with installing a water butt at the end of a drainpipe so you can water your garden. We interviewed Adrian Pickering to find out more about the creative ways he is collecting and reusing rainwater in his home and how you can get started on …

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Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 6 September 2016 at 12:45 pm

Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Roof mounted solar panels are an increasingly common site on buildings across the UK. Most of these systems are attached to the roof by means of a frame. However many people would prefer that solar panels were integrated seamlessly into their house’s design.  The solution is the roof i…

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What works when planning a major refurbishment project?

Posted by Idalia Dawidowska on 30 August 2016 at 11:30 am

What works when planning a major refurbishment project?

My partner and I bought our three bed end of terrace Edwardian house in Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester, in February 2014. The house had a reasonable Energy Performance rating of 58 (band C) but was in need of a major refurbishment. At this point we weren’t thinking much about energy efficie…

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What can you do to make an old cold home a cosy home?

Posted by NEF Gordon on 24 August 2016 at 1:45 pm

What can you do to make an old cold home a cosy home?

AgeUK estimate every winter in England and Wales 25,000 older people living in poorly heated homes succumb to the cold. The onslaught of cold conditions can often take many by surprise and can leave us feeling poorly prepared and suffering as a result. Leicester homeowner, Zina Zelter, believes t…

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Is boarding a loft with LoftZone the easier option?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 23 August 2016 at 9:45 am

Is boarding a loft with LoftZone the easier option?

Loft insulation is a vital component of any energy efficient house, but installing the recommended 270mm of loft insulation can cut into storage space. One way to get around this is to add extra joists, or to use a dedicated system like LoftZone, so you can board above the recommended depth of in…

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10 tips for cooking with a solar cooker

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 22 August 2016 at 12:30 pm

10 tips for cooking with a solar cooker

If you are looking to make changes in order to live a more sustainable lifestyle, harnessing the power of the sun for cooking is a fun idea. Zoë Williams has experimented with a range of solar cookers and techniques. We approached her for some of her top tips. Solar cooking uses heat fro…

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New solar PV accreditation scheme from BRE

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 18 August 2016 at 1:55 pm

New solar PV accreditation scheme from BRE

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) launched their new voluntary Solar PV Certification Scheme at their Solar Summit on the 19th July 2016. Although applicable to all solar projects, its target is solar rooftop installations over 50kW (approx. 350m2) which is above the threshold for install…

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Will battery storage affect my feed-in tariff payments?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 16 August 2016 at 3:45 pm

Will battery storage affect my feed-in tariff payments?

Q. Will battery storage affect my FiT payments? A. A recent question from a YouGen reader about the impact of battery storage on Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments for solar PV got me thinking. My initial reaction was that FiT payments wouldn’t be affected by storage as FiT payments are made…

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Changes on the way for Domestic Energy Assessments?

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 11 August 2016 at 2:05 pm

Changes on the way for Domestic Energy Assessments?

I am a co-director of the Green Deal Advisor Association (GDAA), originally established to explore opportunities for domestic energy assessors (DEAs) within the previous government’s Green Deal scheme. Recently, GDAA’s auditing work for Ofgem has confirmed something that we probably a…

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Electric radiators: A good replacement for old storage heaters?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 August 2016 at 12:05 pm

Electric radiators: A good replacement for old storage heaters?

Storage heaters are becoming increasingly uncommon. The high price of electricity compared to gas means that electric heating is often considered to be a bad option. However modern electric radiators have a number of advantages over their predecessors. We talked to Ian McGregor of Electrorad to f…

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Are tumble dryers energy guzzlers?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 August 2016 at 4:56 pm

Are tumble dryers energy guzzlers?

We all know that drying outside is the cheapest and most energy efficiency means of getting our clothes dry. Even if it's pretty cold outside you can still feel some benefit from this as the wind aids evaporation. Even in really cold weather I will put clothes outside for a while before bring…

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Can rainwater be used directly for drinking?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 August 2016 at 9:01 am

Can rainwater be used directly for drinking?

Rainwater isn't as clean as you might think. As it falls it can pick up particulates, pollutants and even bacteria from the air. Not to mention that particulates from pollution are likely to settle on your roof and be picked up by rainwater as you collect it. However, the water collected…

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Could home refurbishment be the key to a comfortable retirement?

Posted by Richard Vale on 29 July 2016 at 2:50 pm

Could home refurbishment be the key to a comfortable retirement?

As a generation of baby boomers look towards retirement, new thoughts and concerns begin to fill their minds. One consideration that should not be missed is the need to keep warm, healthy and comfortable at home. Keeping out the cold, or rather, keeping in the heat, has been at the forefront …

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How long do solar PV panels last?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 26 July 2016 at 5:05 pm

How long do solar PV panels last?

It can take years for a solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) array to “pay back” its installation cost, so you want the panels to last as long as possible. So just how long do solar panels last? And how does their efficiency decrease across their lifetime? The aging of solar cells can be…

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June 2016 the hottest on record - climate change calls for action

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 July 2016 at 2:08 pm

June 2016 the hottest on record - climate change calls for action

The Climate is changing and we need to do something about it. There have been horror stories all over the media this week about raising global temperatures, with records falling like dominos. January  2016 – hottest on record February  2016 – hottest on rec…

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Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 July 2016 at 1:40 pm

Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

Are you involved in community energy? Would you like to be? Or perhaps you would just like to find out more about it. The fourth Community Energy Fortnight is happening somewhere near you from 3 -18 September. There are already some pretty exciting events planned across the country, from a fe…

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How do fuel cells work?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 18 July 2016 at 11:05 am

How do fuel cells work?

In some circles micro-fuel cells are being heralded as the future of clean energy, so today we are going to look at how fuel cells work. But let’s start at the beginning – what is a fuel cell? What is a fuel cell? A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemica…

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Goodbye DECC! Closure announced within hours of new PM taking office

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 July 2016 at 2:05 pm

Goodbye DECC! Closure announced within hours of new PM taking office

I don’t want to say it’s a bad thing yet, I would like to give it a chance, but it seems that the general opinion is that it is pretty ‘shocking’ ‘stupid’ and ‘backwards’.  Theresa May, our new prime minister, within hours of taking office, has…

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Energy price comparison sites may now just show deals earning them commission

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 13 July 2016 at 2:35 pm

Energy price comparison sites may now just show deals earning them commission

Thanks to a recent ruling of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) you are going to find it harder to find a cheaper fuel supplier using a price comparison website. Until the release of the report on 24th June 2016 all price comparison sites had to show all the deals available. This include…

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Should we bring back window shutters?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 11 July 2016 at 12:05 pm

Should we bring back window shutters?

If you had walked down the street in the middle of the nineteenth century window shutters would have been a common sight. In the days before double glazing they are an important way of cutting heat loss through windows. These days’ shutters are rarely fitted. Windows are much better at keep…

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5 tips to save energy when renting

Posted by Anna Carlini on 5 July 2016 at 10:40 am

5 tips to save energy when renting

The UK is currently going through a boom in renting. Many families, couples and young people may never own their own home, but privately rent from landlords. Young people are so unlikely to have their own property that they are now being called "Generation Rent". Whilst renting it is ve…

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Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 July 2016 at 10:15 am

Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

There is a new way of transporting data on the horizon and it's Li-Fi (Light-Fidelity). Boasting speeds 100x quicker than traditional Wi-Fi connections, Li-Fi has a theoretical top speed of 224 Gbps. To put that in perspective it means you could download 10 DVD quality movies, 1600 songs and …

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Will floating solar PV catch on?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 29 June 2016 at 11:05 am

Will floating solar PV catch on?

Large scale solar installations can generate large quantities of green energy for use in industry. However the question of where these power plants should be constructed can be a hot topic. Floating solar panels are becoming increasingly popular, with a large number of new projects being built ar…

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What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 27 June 2016 at 10:15 am

What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

Now that we have all a little time to digest the shocking news from Friday, I thought I would put forward some more constructive views on Brexit and what it could mean to the UK renewables and energy efficiency markets. During the campaigning the EU was often cited as the reason for our progr…

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Have energy price comparison sites breached the Competition Act?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 June 2016 at 11:05 am

Have energy price comparison sites breached the Competition Act?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been asked to investigate a suspected breach of competition law by some price comparison websites which offer energy tariff comparisons. This breach related to paid for online search advertising. An investigation was first initiated by Ofgem, bu…

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How green is nuclear?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 June 2016 at 5:30 pm

How green is nuclear?

It turns out that green can be a tricky colour to define. For many of us, it means sustainable, clean and good for the planet.  So, is nuclear energy harmful to the planet or is it in fact a good, “green” option? In a way, it is both. Against Nuclear We are often…

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Is my garden windy enough for a wind turbine?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 June 2016 at 10:05 am

Is my garden windy enough for a wind turbine?

Generating energy from a wind turbine seems like a great way to save on your energy bills. But how windy does your area need to be in order for a turbine to be viable? How do you measure wind speed and which are the windiest parts of the UK? We have a long history of using wind turbines to po…

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