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Switching energy suppliers - busting the myths which cost us dearly

Posted by Alison Vickers on 21 February 2018 at 3:15 pm

Switching energy suppliers - busting the myths which cost us dearly

When it comes to the necessary evil that is a fuel bill, are you happy to pay it without giving so much as a second thought? Or perhaps you’ve considered whether you might be paying over the odds for your energy but feel daunted by the process of switching suppliers. Figures from Energy UK …

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How important reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive will affect homeowners

Posted by Sam Tonge on 13 February 2018 at 11:10 am

How important reforms to the Renewable Heat Incentive will affect homeowners

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a scheme designed to pay microgenerators for heat produced from their renewable sources of energy. Open to home and business owners (known retrospectively as the domestic and non-domestic RHI), the switch to greener heating systems via the scheme is designed …

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Energy performance of private rented homes - why a £2500 cost cap is too low

Posted by Alison Vickers on 7 February 2018 at 3:06 pm

Energy performance of private rented homes - why a £2500 cost cap is too low

As you may already know, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required whenever a property is built, sold or rented under the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012. An EPC illustrates a property’s energy use and costs, as well as providing recommendation…

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'Add-on' equipment for solar PV: an opportunity but beware of possible pitfalls

Posted by Lorraine Haskell (RECC) on 30 January 2018 at 10:44 am

'Add-on' equipment for solar PV:  an opportunity but beware of possible pitfalls

Here at YouGen we’re producing a blog series which look at some examples of ‘mis-selling’, used by a small number of rogue traders in the renewables and energy efficiency industry. Although mis-selling is a trend which appears to be on the increase, there are also rising numbers…

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Air Source Heat Pump: Is it right for your home?

Posted by Faisal Hussain (HIES Scheme) on 24 January 2018 at 9:30 am

Air Source Heat Pump: Is it right for your home?

Much of the UK has been feeling the cold during these past few months which means many of us are now leaving our heating on for longer periods of time, which of course is going to hit our pockets. So, the question is how can we keep our homes warm without significantly increasing our energy bills…

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Meet the solar project powering the local community in more ways than one

Posted by Alison Vickers on 17 January 2018 at 10:16 am

Meet the solar project powering the local community in more ways than one

Here at YouGen we love to hear about your inspiring success stories when it comes to setting up grassroots energy projects within local communities. We would take this opportunity to tell you the story of a community energy project in Buckinghamshire coordinated by our parent charity, The Nationa…

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Five green New Year's Resolutions to kick start 2018

Posted by Sam Tonge on 10 January 2018 at 10:20 am

Five green New Year's Resolutions to kick start 2018

A New Year represents a fresh start for many, with our desire for self-improvement often characterised through the New Year’s Resolutions we set ourselves. Figures suggest roughly 50% of us set these resolutions each January, with the three most common goals typically being to exercise more…

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Marks & Spencer Energy Fund powers communities in more ways than one in 2017

Posted by Sam Tonge on 3 January 2018 at 9:16 am

Marks & Spencer Energy Fund powers communities in more ways than one in 2017

2017 was another outstanding year for community schemes that have benefited from the Marks and Spencer Energy Fund. Last year the fund allocated £300,000 worth of grant money to local energy projects across the UK. With over 130,000 votes taking place, the winners last year included com…

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5 green energy milestones reached in 2017

Posted by Sam Tonge on 28 December 2017 at 9:30 am

5 green energy milestones reached in 2017

As this year draws to a close, we can safely say that it’s been a year of highs and lows in terms of our steps towards shaping a clean energy future. It goes without saying that using our resources sustainably and reducing our carbon footprint are ever more pressing issues. However it seems…

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Which type of Christmas tree is best for the environment?

Posted by Sam Tonge on 18 December 2017 at 9:30 am

Which type of Christmas tree is best for the environment?

The YouGen Team are getting into the festive spirit here at the National Energy Foundation as we count down the days until we can put our feet up (and recharge our own personal energy levels) over the holiday period! In the seasonal tradition of giving and receiving, we would like to share with y…

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5 questions you must ask before installing a ground source heat pump

Posted by Sam Tonge on 14 December 2017 at 4:15 pm

5 questions you must ask before installing a ground source heat pump

Following the recent waves of snow and ice seen across much of the UK, you might consider the ground as a rather cold surface emitting no warmth whatsoever! In contrast, the ground actually provides a naturally-occurring source of heat which can be used to provide central heating and hot water fo…

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10 popular ways to save energy - truth or myth?

Posted by Sam Tonge on 6 December 2017 at 9:20 am

10 popular ways to save energy - truth or myth?

Here are 10 popular tips to save energy - or perhaps they're urban energy myths and misleading advice that could end up costing the earth! How good is your knowledge? 1. It uses less energy if you leave fluorescent lights switched on. Myth or Truth? MYTH. This one has been around almo…

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Wood fuel in your home: 10 need-to-knows

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 29 November 2017 at 9:15 am

Wood fuel in your home: 10 need-to-knows

1. Fuel quality matters To produce a clean, safe and efficient burn, quality of the wood is key. This is determined by size, moisture content, tree species and presence of any contaminants. Installing and maintaining a solid fuel appliance such as a wood stove is a big step so it only m…

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London buses will soon be powered by coffee

Posted by Sam Tonge on 22 November 2017 at 4:50 pm

London buses will soon be powered by coffee

Turns out that it’s not just electric vehicles making the headlines this year, as Transport for London (TFL) announces a biofuel extracted from waste coffee grounds will be used to power some of the city’s buses from next Monday. The tech firm Bio-bean has so far produced enough f…

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New attitudes survey shows international support for renewables

Posted by Sam Tonge on 15 November 2017 at 2:10 pm

New attitudes survey shows international support for renewables

Results from a pioneering international survey known as the Green Energy Barometer, show us that the vast majority of the public in countries sampled support a worldwide transition from fossil fuels to green energy. The largest ever survey undertaken to gauge attitudes towards sustainable energy …

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Can I make a claim for problems with my cavity wall insulation?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 8 November 2017 at 10:20 am

Can I make a claim for problems with my cavity wall insulation?

An article in The Telegraph on the topic of claiming on faulty cavity wall insulation (CWI) described the issue as a scandal that could “rival PPI”. Though we certainly haven’t had our televisions and radios bleat on about no-win-no-fee cavity wall insulation claims over the pas…

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Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Posted by Andrew McGowan on 31 October 2017 at 9:20 am

Getting the most out of a wood-burning stove.

Andrew McGowan has 15 years of wood-burning experience and experimentation with Morso and Stovax stoves. As our guest blogger this week, Andrew shares with us his tips on efficient wood burning techniques in the home.    Use well-seasoned (dry) wood with mo…

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Five tips for finding a reputable installer

Posted by Sam Tonge on 25 October 2017 at 10:27 am

Five tips for finding a reputable installer

So you have decided you would like to improve your home, or perhaps even install some renewable technology. However, you have come to realise the job is a little too big to get away with just some simple DIY. Choosing a reliable and good quality installer can be difficult, and there are definitel…

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Hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full electric car - which one is for me?

Posted by Sam Tonge on 18 October 2017 at 9:45 am

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full electric car - which one is for me?

There’s been a lot of talk about electric vehicles in the media recently, following policy announcements here in the UK (and further field) to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. It seems that many big players in the automobile industry are happy to get on board with this trend,…

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Are payments for domestic microgeneration liable to income tax?

Posted by Sam Tonge on 11 October 2017 at 10:30 am

Are payments for domestic microgeneration liable to income tax?

Here at YouGen we have been asked a few times recently whether you have to pay tax on the money you receive from generating renewable energy in the form of electricity and heat. The simple answer for domestic micro generators is ‘no’, as such schemes are designed to make such payments…

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What next for the Green Deal?

Posted by Marcus Franck on 4 October 2017 at 10:03 am

What next for the Green Deal?

As many readers will already know, The Green Deal was the UK’s flag-bearing green finance scheme, designed to assist British homeowners in improving energy efficiency and switching to greener energy technologies. It mitigated the need to pay large sums in advance, allowing people to receive…

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A green home is a healthy home - the health benefits of insulation

Posted by Jordan Willis on 28 September 2017 at 3:53 pm

A green home is a healthy home - the health benefits of insulation

We all know that properly insulating your house is an environmentally friendly decision. Insulating a home cuts down on lost heat, keeping your house warmer with less energy, cutting both carbon and costs. However, insulating a house is not only a cost-cutting measure, a spate of recent studies h…

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How to ensure your renewable energy installation is done safely - Competent Persons Schemes and Building Regulations

Posted by Jordan Willis on 26 September 2017 at 5:01 pm

How to ensure your renewable energy installation is done safely - Competent Persons Schemes and Building Regulations

As with any change to your home, you want to ensure the installation of solar panels is an easy process that is carried out safely and securely. While there are measures and regulations in place to make sure that these installations are done safely and by qualified personnel, often prospective bu…

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Is now the time to switch to an electric vehicle?

Posted by Sam Tonge on 21 September 2017 at 9:40 am

Is now the time to switch to an electric vehicle?

Recent announcements by car manufacturers and governments have arguably signalled an impending transformation in the way we will all move about in future. A shift from the polluting internal combustion engine towards greener forms of transport is arguably the biggest adjustment to our travel habi…

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Important changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme coming on September 20th

Posted by Jordan Willis on 19 September 2017 at 2:43 pm

Important changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme coming on September 20th

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, introduced in 2011, was designed to pay households for heat generation from renewable energy sources. In encouraging news, Ofgem have confirmed that RHI is set to see a significant increase in payments from the 20th September 2017 onward. Subject to fina…

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How to retrofit an ex-council property - our SuperHome owners are doing it and so could you!

Posted by Shanics Olton on 14 September 2017 at 2:25 pm

How to retrofit an ex-council property - our SuperHome owners are doing it and so could you!

London, a city of history and soon-to-be city of the future. By January 2018 all of London’s iconic Black Cabs will be electric vehicles and the lampposts which were originally intended to guide you home will be used by them as charging points to help take you home. These latest development…

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A new world record for tidal power generation

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 11 September 2017 at 10:30 am

A new world record for tidal power generation

As many of you will know, we love keeping up to date with advances in renewable energy. At the end of August, the Pentland Firth tidal project in Scotland broke the world record for monthly electricity production by tidal power. The MeyGen project developed by the marine power generators ‘A…

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Can domestic eco-refurbishment be affordable? A SuperHome owner reveals his perspective.

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 7 September 2017 at 11:10 am

Can domestic eco-refurbishment be affordable? A SuperHome owner reveals his perspective.

SuperHome owners are opening their doors this weekend and throughout September as part of the annual open days happening across the UK. This marks the 10th year of the award-winning scheme with a record 100 SuperHomes opening to the public. These are exemplary residential properties that have red…

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I'm selling my house with solar panels - how do I get the most value?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 5 September 2017 at 2:23 pm

I'm selling my house with solar panels - how do I get the most value?

Solar panel installation is a commitment in more ways than one. While the initial cost of installing solar PV onto your home is often repaid in energy savings and a Feed-In Tariff, a second sense of commitment comes from necessary time spent in one house to see a return on your investment. The li…

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Floor it! The race to insulate is on after new study on raised timber floors

Posted by Sam Tonge on 1 September 2017 at 11:03 am

Floor it! The race to insulate is on after new study on raised timber floors

New research has provided some food for thought when considering heat loss from within the floor of your home. Suspended timber ground floors in the study were found to lose twice as much heat as had been previously estimated. This means that if you live in an older property it’s likely tha…

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Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: A renewable source of base load power?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 29 August 2017 at 11:10 am

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: A renewable source of base load power?

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a renewable energy technology which generates electricity using sea water. 71% of the world’s surface is covered by ocean [1]. This means that a large amount of solar energy is constantly warming the upper layers of the oceans. This creates a strong…

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I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 24 August 2017 at 11:05 am

I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

With over 376 buildings belonging to the Church of England now sporting solar panels, including many protected churches (and even one cathedral), one may be forgiven for thinking that installing solar PV onto a listed or protected building is a straightforward affair. While installing solar panel…

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GreenWood Forest - The UK's first eco-friendly theme park

Posted by Jordan Willis on 22 August 2017 at 9:33 am

GreenWood Forest - The UK's first eco-friendly theme park

We at YouGen are always fascinated by the innovative developments of green energy enthusiasts in novel and interesting areas. A shining example of this are Andrea and Stephen Bristow, the husband and wife team behind GreenWood Forest Park, the UK’s first theme park to be powered entirely by…

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From energy importer to energy exporter - the story of The National Energy Foundation.

Posted by Sam Tonge on 17 August 2017 at 12:34 pm

From energy importer to energy exporter - the story of The National Energy Foundation.

YouGen is based in the National Energy Centre, which is the main office of the National Energy Foundation (NEF), an independent British charity, established to encourage the more sustainable use and generation of energy. As you’d expect, the centre features an exciting and inspiring arr…

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Air Leakage v Ventilation - Striking the Balance

Posted by Sam Tonge on 15 August 2017 at 2:03 pm

Air Leakage v Ventilation - Striking the Balance

Why is air leakage a problem? Air leakage is widely accepted as a major cause of thermal inefficiency within many of our homes in the UK, accounting for 30% of total heat loss on average. The uncontrolled flow of air through small gaps in our properties can rack up our utility bills as well a…

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Greywater systems - reusing your bath water

Posted by Anna Carlini on 10 August 2017 at 10:45 am

Greywater systems - reusing your bath water

Our water is too clean! This seems a strange complaint to make, but in the UK drinking water is flushed down the toilet every day, literally! As UK houses tend to only have one water system, all the water that currently flows around our pipes meets drinking standards. It is estimated that on …

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New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

Posted by Jordan Willis on 8 August 2017 at 10:36 am

New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

The Solar Trade Association (STA) marked a significant victory for solar PV and solar storage systems last week by securing a 5% rate of VAT on battery storage for householders who are installing a solar storage system alongside a new solar PV system. This is set to significantly improve the …

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Our view on Earth Overshoot Day: the time to improve your energy use is now

Posted by Sam Tonge on 3 August 2017 at 5:20 pm

Our view on Earth Overshoot Day: the time to improve your energy use is now

Calculations by international research organisation Global Footprint Network show that our yearly Earth Overshoot Day occurred on 2nd August in 2017. This annual milestone is the date within the year that we have used more of our natural resources than our planet can renew within that time. Tradi…

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The experience of an Eco Guesthouse and SuperHome owner

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 31 July 2017 at 2:30 pm

The experience of an Eco Guesthouse and SuperHome owner

SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of the 10th year celebrations happening across the UK. These are homes that have reduced their carbon footprint by at least 60%. This is a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated…

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Inside the Government’s plan to transform our energy system – all things V2G, battery storage and smart

Posted by Shanics Olton on 27 July 2017 at 5:03 pm

Inside the Governmentâs plan to transform our energy system â“ all things V2G, battery storage and smart

Will we really become a nation of clean energy creators sooner than we think? Some critics say we’ve been lagging behind the likes of Sweden and Denmark for far too long but the Government’s latest report sets out a plan to change this and make us leaders in the field of innovativ…

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The world's first floating wind farm

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 24 July 2017 at 3:43 pm

The world's first floating wind farm

At YouGen we love keeping up to date with the fantastic advancements in UK offshore windfarms. Such as the world’s largest wind turbines, recently switched on off the coast of Liverpool. Or the dramatic increases in onshore wind generation. Now we bring you something even more extraordinary…

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Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Posted by Ollie Gibbs on 20 July 2017 at 5:06 pm

Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Why should you buy a battery? If you have a well-designed PV system you’ll probably have noticed that on some days your system is exporting large amounts of energy back to the grid. This is because your system’s generating more energy than your home is using at that particular tim…

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Is this the start of the electric car revolution?

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 18 July 2017 at 9:01 am

Is this the start of the electric car revolution?

Last year the number of electric cars reached 2 million globally, and the number continues to grow. Despite this, electric cars still only hold a small share of the global car stock (with an estimated 1.2 billion vehicles worldwide). However, recent news of Volvo’s transition to electric ca…

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How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 13 July 2017 at 2:30 pm

How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Burning wood in a domestic stove or boiler can generally be regarded as a more sustainable approach to heating than traditional methods such as coal or gas heating. This is because the carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions produced as a result of burning wood fuel remain part of the carbon cycle, b…

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Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 11 July 2017 at 12:40 pm

Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

We have recently heard from readers with concerns about how switching energy supplier might affect their Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. From personal experience I can confirm that this is not an issue, although it might help to explain why this is the case. Firstly, everyone receiving FiT pay…

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Carbon Coop leads the way to new models of retrofitting

Posted by Károly Gergely on 7 July 2017 at 11:30 am

Carbon Coop leads the way to new models of retrofitting

Community Green Deal, a project by Manchester-based social enterprise, Carbon Coop has provided useful learning in three areas: technical, social and business-models. A summary of the report can be found here and the full report here. Our Community Green Deal project ran f…

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UK renewable energy industry breaks another record! A look at other achievements across the world

Posted by Shanics Olton on 5 July 2017 at 4:35 pm

UK renewable energy industry breaks another record! A look at other achievements across the world

Despite lower wind speeds and less rainfall than in 2016, from January to March this year renewable energy contributed a record breaking 26% of the total electricity generated in the UK. Onshore wind accounted for the biggest increase from 6.4 TWh to 7.7 TWh with bioenergy, offshore wind, hydro a…

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Should cogeneration be considered a green energy technology?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 June 2017 at 3:01 pm

Should cogeneration be considered a green energy technology?

We consume energy in two main ways, as electricity and as heat. These are produced, distributed and used in very different ways. Most electricity is generated by centralised power stations, with a relatively small fraction being produced at the point of use. It is then distributed, potentially ov…

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Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 21 June 2017 at 9:45 am

Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

The initial cost of a hybrid inverter is quite high, but this is offset by the ability to use your generated power more flexibly, rather than having to buy energy from the grid when the solar panel isn’t generating. Hybrid inverters have proven reliability across various grid types. Modern …

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Condensation and ventilation: preventing damp in your home

Posted by Anna Carlini on 20 June 2017 at 4:50 pm

Condensation and ventilation: preventing damp in your home

Ventilation is a surprisingly important element in keeping your heating bills down. How? Because a home that can’t “breathe” is one which traps moisture on the inside and causes damp. Even if a home has high levels of insulation, a damp wall can lose up to 40% more heat than a d…

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Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 19 June 2017 at 3:01 pm

Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of a funeral? You may be thinking this is a bit of morbid topic for a YouGen blog, but believe it or not 0.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to a variety of modern day funeral methods. Although the environmental impact is likely to be the …

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How do you assess the efficiency of a ground source heat pump?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 June 2017 at 10:57 am

How do you assess the efficiency of a ground source heat pump?

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) extract heat from the ground, and use it to produce hot water. The temperature in the subsurface remains around 11-12oC throughout the year [1]. By burying pipes just a few metres below the ground you can take advantage of this readily available supply of thermal e…

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Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2017 at 3:15 pm

Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

The solar chimney is designed to harness the fact that hot air rises, providing passive ventilation for a building. A solar chimney can be used to cool a house during warm weather, and generate heat during cold times of the year. There have also been efforts to build industrial scale solar chimne…

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What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 31 May 2017 at 11:50 am

What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

If you are thinking of installing a biomass boiler, I'm sure you are thinking of how (and when) the boiler will be maintained. In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown tells us about the operation and maintenance of the KWB Easyfire wood pellet boiler fitted in 2009 in the five bedr…

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Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 30 May 2017 at 10:40 am

Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Everybody loves a freebie right? Especially when it involves sustainable energy. Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) Low Voltage (LV) Connect and Manage project is currently offering a free trial to residents in Furzton, Milton Keynes to help develop battery power technologies. Some hous…

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M & S Community Energy Fund applications now open!

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 25 May 2017 at 10:30 am

M & S Community Energy Fund applications now open!

Last year we were able to bring you the good news of the Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund and we’re happy to announce that for the third year running, the competition is back with a share of £300,000 for local community groups. Funding is available to support renewable energy p…

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A giant gain for wind power: World's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

Posted by Richard Vale on 24 May 2017 at 9:51 am

A giant gain for wind power: World's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

On a momentous day for renewable technology, the biggest and most powerful wind turbines in the world have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast. Dong Energy, from Denmark, has installed 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay, each standing at an impressive 195m tall. To put this into pe…

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Urban permaculture: farms in the city

Posted by Anna Carlini on 23 May 2017 at 12:21 pm

Urban permaculture: farms in the city

 “You can solve all the world's problems in a garden.”  ― Geoff Lawton Perhaps not completely, but it is certainly a good place to start. The ingredients in our meals travel thousands of miles just to get on to our plates. Our cities are physically and mentally…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 17 May 2017 at 4:55 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 10 May 2017 at 2:33 pm

What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Thinking of installing a biomass boiler? Have you considered the plumbing involved with this? In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown shows us the plumbing and 500 litre buffer tank installed for his wood pellet boiler. Mark chose this biomass boiler for the five bedroom house in South Buck…

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Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2017 at 2:50 pm

Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Infrared panel heaters are a relatively new way to heat your house. They work very differently to radiators, and have some advantages when it comes to energy efficiency. Infrared panel heaters use radiation to heat the room instead of convection. This means that they deliver heat directly to …

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How green is Hydroelectricity?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 5 May 2017 at 4:24 pm

How green is Hydroelectricity?

Large hydropower schemes account for the majority of the world’s renewable energy supply. Unlike wind and solar, hydroelectricity can provide a constant stream of renewable power, regardless of the weather or the time of year. Hydroelectric dams can be used to store power, and can quickly b…

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Is it true that people in passive houses roast in summer?

Posted by Joanne Spurrell on 2 May 2017 at 2:45 pm

Is it true that people in passive houses roast in summer?

Passive House is a voluntary energy performance standard that results in buildings that are extremely airtight and have good levels of insulation. In such buildings, little energy is required for space heating and cooling so you can do away with conventional heating systems. But this begs the que…

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Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

Posted by James Page on 28 April 2017 at 11:35 am

Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

People often remark that solar panels do not need a sunny day to generate. Turns out a cloudy day can sometimes generate more than a sunny one. Three years ago, JoJu Solar installed a 10kW flat roof system on Artsadmin in Central London. It was the first project with panels facing East and We…

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Energy efficiency labels are changing (again!)

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 27 April 2017 at 10:03 am

Energy efficiency labels are changing (again!)

Have you upgraded any appliances in your home lately? If so, you may have noticed that items such as refrigerators or televisions are rated in terms of their energy efficiency between A +++ to G. Everyone hoped that these ratings would allow you make an informed choice to buy the most energy effi…

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Which devices are the most energy intensive?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 25 April 2017 at 3:31 pm

Which devices are the most energy intensive?

We live our lives surrounded by devices. We work on computers, carry phones and tablets with us wherever we go. Kitchens are full of fridges, freezers, microwaves and washing machines. Some are more energy intensive than others, but all of them are contributing to high energy bills, and higher ca…

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How important is solar shading to passive solar building design?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 April 2017 at 12:10 pm

How important is solar shading to passive solar building design?

Trying to get indoor spaces to be the right temperature is a constant struggle. During cold parts of the year we use large amounts of energy for heating, but when warm weather arrives we suddenly want to cool down our buildings, either with fans or air conditioning. There seem to be relatively fe…

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What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 21 April 2017 at 2:26 pm

What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

If you are thinking about installing a biomass boiler, you’ll want to know how much cleaning and maintenance is involved. A biomass boiler needs regular cleaning and servicing as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop it working efficiently and even cause damage. Some of these tasks you …

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What is the most energy efficient form of transport?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 12 April 2017 at 1:40 pm

What is the most energy efficient form of transport?

Many of you will be planning a long journey this bank holiday weekend and it’s worth considering which method of transport will be the most environmentally friendly. As you are probably aware, some transport methods are much more energy intensive than others and some have higher greenhouse …

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Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 April 2017 at 2:34 pm

Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Storing the energy produced by solar panels is a hot topic. Developments in battery storage for solar photovoltaic systems are constantly improving, but when it comes to storing energy, thermal systems have a lot of advantages. Solar thermal systems work by pumping a mix of water and antifree…

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Soaring ahead: Gatwick Airport first in the world to turn waste into energy onsite

Posted by Richard Vale on 7 April 2017 at 12:03 pm

Soaring ahead: Gatwick Airport first in the world to turn waste into energy onsite

If you’re a fan of environmental waste management then fasten your seatbelt (and do not unbuckle until the landing light is switched off) because London Gatwick Airport and DHL supply chain have officially opened a new waste management plant, making it the first airport in the world to turn…

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Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 5 April 2017 at 12:59 pm

Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

With days becoming longer and sunnier afternoons on the rise, now is the perfect time to be generating electricity from your solar PV panels. Cast your minds back to the weekend of the 25th March 2017, temperatures were rising and you were dusting the cobwebs off the barbeque. However, that weeke…

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Can living in a Smart House help us save energy?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 3 April 2017 at 3:30 pm

Can living in a Smart House help us save energy?

With the spread of smart phones a variety of options now exist to remotely control how electricity is used throughout your home. It is now possible to create a “smart house”, where all appliances and devices are connected to a wireless network, so that they can be monitored and contro…

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What makes an energy-friendly garden?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 30 March 2017 at 3:01 pm

What makes an energy-friendly garden?

Don’t we all dream of having a green garden? I know I do. The thought of lush green grass, vibrant leaves and sheltering trees makes me want to retreat into that sweet haven for the whole of spring. But saving water and energy in your garden is something we should all take more care to do. …

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Greenwashing: products that dont live up to the label

Posted by Anna Carlini on 29 March 2017 at 4:40 pm

Greenwashing: products that dont live up to the label

Here at YouGen we love products that are environmentally friendly, and use less energy. But we do expect them to live up to expectations. We have a problem with products that do not match what they promise on the tin. We’ve covered cases where products are misleadingly advertised in our blo…

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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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