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New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 May 2015 at 10:30 am

New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Sheffield Solar Farm has developed an online tool to help you detect problems in your solar panel performance. The tool works by comparing the last six month’s data from your system with that of the surrounding hundred systems.  If the data from any one month differs from other loc…

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Can you have both cavity wall insulation and external or internal wall insulation?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 May 2015 at 9:35 am

Can you have both cavity wall insulation and external or internal wall insulation?

Got a cavity wall? Fill it. Got a solid wall? Then add internal or external wall insulation. This is the standard advice for people looking make their houses snugger and more energy efficient. But there are those who go one step further. Having filled the cavities in his mid-century detac…

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How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 April 2015 at 4:10 pm

How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

1. Keep an eye on your generation meter   Check your generation meter once a week and keep a record of the figure. Your meter should clock up energy generation every day, even in dull weather. Keeping a regular eye on it will help you notice any variation over time that doesn’t seem …

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Air source heat pumps vs ground source. Which is best?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 April 2015 at 3:05 pm

Air source heat pumps vs ground source. Which is best?

Should I get an air source heat pump or a ground source heat pump? Heat pumps take heat from the ground, air or water and use it to heat space and water. They are like a fridge in reverse. The fridge takes heat from the food you put in it, and pumps that into the kitchen, keeping the food cold.…

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Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 April 2015 at 2:15 pm

Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Whenever I see a petition designed to get solar panels removed from village roofs, I get a little twitchy. Not only is this, in my view, the worst kind of nimbyism, these petitions invariably cite the ugliness of the panels as a reason for their removal. How unsightly, I wonder, will these vi…

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Been offered a free biomass boiler? Proceed with caution, advises Ofgem

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 April 2015 at 2:35 pm

Been offered a free biomass boiler? Proceed with caution, advises Ofgem

Have you been approached by someone offering to install a free biomass boiler in your house? Is this an offer that seems too good to be true?  As the Department of Energy and Climate Change continues to work out how to regulate so called third party ownership under the Renewable…

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What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 March 2015 at 9:55 am

What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

You’ve got a stack of quotes for solar PV but without the technical know-how it can be very hard to figure out which one is best. Following on from our blog about what should be included in your quote, we’ve come up with a list of questions you can ask to help you to sort the wheat fr…

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West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 March 2015 at 12:20 pm

West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

On the south coast of England, on a patch of land facing the Isle of Wight and the English Channel beyond, a sea breeze blows, cooling a solar array. Not everyone knows this but cool conditions improve a solar panel output. This is because electrons flow faster in cooler temperatures so a hig…

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Biomass boiler vs heat pump : The fight is on!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 March 2015 at 10:55 am

Biomass boiler vs heat pump : The fight is on!

Domestic biomass installations now outstrip the entire heat pump industry in the UK. But is biomass always better? When might you choose a heat pump instead? We’ve pitted these two titans of the domestic renewable heating world against each other and here’s the fight in full: Rou…

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Abstraction licence fees rise for small scale hydroelectric schemes

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 23 March 2015 at 4:30 pm

Abstraction licence fees rise for small scale hydroelectric schemes

I was chatting with Peter Downs from Itteringham Mill about his hydroelectric project when the matter of abstraction licences came up. An abstraction licence is a legal requirement for anyone who removes more than 20 cubic metres of water from a public source per day. This covers pretty much …

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Heat pumps and hydro electricity: how to get your energy from a river

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 March 2015 at 12:25 pm

Heat pumps and hydro electricity: how to get your energy from a river

When a river runs right past your house, as in Liz and Peter Downs’s case, it makes sense to use that water to heat and power your home. The Downs bought Itteringham Mill, a 1778 Norfolk watermill in 2004 with the intention of turning it into a bed and breakfast with holiday cottages a…

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How do I set up a community energy project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 March 2015 at 9:20 am

How do I set up a community energy project?

First things first: the fact that you’re even asking this shows you’re ambitious and that is good. You are embarking on a thorny and complicated journey and there will be many challenges along the way. But take heart! It is a journey many others have successfully trodden before and he…

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YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 October 2014 at 9:18 am

YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Brrr. Did you feel that? After such a balmy summer the sudden appearance of autumn is a bit of a shock, right? Now it’s turn on the heating time in many UK homes, here are our top tips to keeping the heating bills down this winter without compromising on warmth. 1. Buy a new woolly! It&…

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Readers' tips of the month

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Readers' tips of the month

Here are some of the tips, observations and appeals for information that have come our newest members over the last month. Welcome to each of you - we hope you enjoy the site!  If you want to join the hallowed ranks of YouGen members it's absolutely free and gives you access to co…

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Will insulating my cavity walls cause damp?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Q. I have a 1930s bungalow with brick outside skin and breeze block inner skin. Following a visual scoping by the prospective cavity insulation installers, I have removed some bricks and manually removed rubble. But I can’t easily get to the rubble at the very bottom of the cavity. The rubb…

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How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 September 2014 at 7:05 am

How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?

Q. Can users who have smart meters use their export values from the meter for FIT payments, rather than the standard deemed 50 per cent? A. Your question refers to the way in which the export payments element of the feed-in tariff is calculated. You are right that for most domestic solar …

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Homebuilding and renovating show big ticket giveaway!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 23 September 2014 at 9:04 am

Homebuilding and renovating show big ticket giveaway!

Planning to build an eco home? Considering installing a heat pump? Need help navigating the muddy waters of eco funding and grants? These problems and more will be unpicked and solved at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show in London this weekend.  Running from 26th-28th September at…

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YouGen attends the People's Climate March 2014. And we liked it!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 September 2014 at 8:52 am

YouGen attends the People's Climate March 2014. And we liked it!

It started as a light tinkling, like the sound of a thousand distantly splintering light bulbs. Then it gathered as it neared us, part wind, part wave, part force of sound. It wasn’t until the roar was upon us and around us and then, in a second, past us, that it was recognisable for what i…

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YouGen supports the green innovations of 2014

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 September 2014 at 7:15 am

YouGen supports the green innovations of 2014

YouGen are very excited to be sponsoring a category at this year’s Energy Efficiency and Renewables Awards. The awards, organised by Renewable Energy Installer (REI) magazine celebrate the best in renewable energy in the UK. We are sponsoring the Green Innovation of the year categor…

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Is MCS-accreditation worth it?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Is MCS-accreditation worth it?

We’ve noticed that some installers of solar thermal are now offering to fit solar hot water systems outside existing quality assurance schemes. One installer is claiming to be able to save their customers up to £2000 by not putting their installation through the rigorous…

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Green deal is a 'disappointing failure', says committee of MPs

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 September 2014 at 9:30 am

Green deal is a 'disappointing failure', says committee of MPs

The green deal has been a ‘disappointing failure’ which has caused ‘frustration and confusion for both consumers and businesses’, an influential cross party Westminster committee has concluded today. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said that better insul…

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Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2014 at 7:50 am

Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Thinking of making your old home more energy efficient but don’t know where to begin? Then learn from someone who does. This weekend you can visit one of 180 houses across the UK whose owners have succeeded in reducing their energy consumption by at least 60 per cent. The owners of …

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How to make a 1920s terrace property warm and energy efficient

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 August 2014 at 10:17 am

How to make a 1920s terrace property warm and energy efficient

Making a leaky 1920s house energy efficient is a daunting prospect. But it was experience renovating their previous home – a barge – that gave Jurgen Huber and Zoe Allen the confidence to take on the task.  "The practical experience I gained of altering, fitting out, and…

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Tenants can switch to a green energy supplier too

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 August 2014 at 4:25 pm

Tenants can switch to a green energy supplier too

Three quarters of people living in rented accommodation have never switched electricity suppliers, new research by Ofgem has found.  Compared to 55 per cent of homeowners, this research shows a worrying lack of awareness among tenants of their freedom to choose who supplies their electri…

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Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 August 2014 at 8:52 am

Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Q. We have recently renovated and extended a 200-year old cottage into a 4-bed home with an air source heat pump. Prior to our moving in the property was empty for more than two years and uninhabitable.  Do we need a green deal assessment or are we classed as self builders for the p…

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Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 August 2014 at 6:41 am

Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Q. I am considering installing a biomass boiler. I have had a green deal assessment done including the energy performance certificate in preparation for claiming domestic renewable heat incentive. I'm not quite sure that the assessment of my annual energy needs (kWH) is as high as it could be…

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Does my landlord have to ensure my home is energy efficient?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 August 2014 at 9:01 am

Does my landlord have to ensure my home is energy efficient?

There are currently has 4.2m privately rented households in the UK and Wales and a shameful 11 per cent of those, or nearly half a million, have the lowest EPC ratings of band F or G.  If you live in one of these properties what is your landlord required to do to improve your situation? …

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Should I get a green deal assessment before or after I install?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 August 2014 at 8:52 am

Should I get a green deal assessment before or after I install?

Q. I am looking to install a heat pump and I hope to apply for the renewable heat incentive. I know I need to have green deal assessment but should this be done before or after the heat pump is installed? A. You are right that all renewable heat incentive (RHI) applicants (with the exception …

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How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 August 2014 at 8:46 am

How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

If you’re wondering how much you could earn in government incentives from a renewable heating system in your home then an answer is at hand. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched their online domestic renewable heat incentive calculator which allows you to estimate t…

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Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 1 August 2014 at 6:22 am

Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

If you’re in Wales this weekend you could do worse than pop along to the incomparable Centre for Alternative Technology’s 40th birthday carnival.  The carnival runs from 10am-5.30pm tomorrow (Saturday 2 August) and will be a great opportunity to have a look at all the work ac…

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UK community energy awards entries due in!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 July 2014 at 9:01 am

UK community energy awards entries due in!

The deadline for making a nomination to the UK Community Energy awards is tomorrow. The awards are free to enter and open to any UK-based not-for-profit organisation, group or individual working or volunteering inthe community energy sector. There are 15 different categories, such as ener…

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Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 28 July 2014 at 9:23 am

Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

The online Q&A is now closed. Massive thanks to everyone who took part. If you have any more questions about domestic RHI then please have a look at our renewable heat incentive information pages and at our renewable heat incentive: your questions answered blog. We will no longer be answering…

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Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 July 2014 at 9:33 am

Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

The government has announced that applications to the green deal home improvement fund have closed with immediate effect. Following a ‘surge in applications’ over the last two days, the GDHIF budget was reached and breached and in a surprise move, the government last night pulled …

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Solid wall insulation funding slashed amid enthusiastic take up of incentive scheme

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 July 2014 at 8:57 am

Solid wall insulation funding slashed amid enthusiastic take up of incentive scheme

UPDATE: The government has announced that applications to the green deal home improvement fund have closed with immediate effect. Following a ‘surge in applications’ over the last two days, the GDHIF budget was reached and breached and in a surprise move, the government last night…

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Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 July 2014 at 8:54 am

Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Q. Do I need a green deal assessment to get money from the green deal home improvement fund? And if not, why bother with a green deal assessment at all? A. Here’s a funny thing – no you don’t! Among the many confusing and overlapping features of the current government&rs…

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I have been offered a free biomass boiler by a company who wants my RHI payments. Should I accept?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 July 2014 at 8:18 am

I have been offered a free biomass boiler by a company who wants my RHI payments. Should I accept?

Q. I can’t afford to install a biomass boiler myself. However, I have approached by a company who have offered me a free biomass boiler so long as I assign the domestic renewable heat incentive payments to them. Should I accept? A. One of the features of the early days of the feed-in ta…

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My heat pump isn't on Ofgem's product eligibility list. Can I still claim RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 16 July 2014 at 10:08 am

My heat pump isn't on Ofgem's product eligibility list. Can I still claim RHI?

Q My heat pump does not appear on Ofgem’s product eligibility list (PEL) for the renewable heat incentive (RHI) and I do not have an MCS certificate for the installation. Can I apply for RHI?  I installed a Stiebel Eltron (WPL 16 AS) ASHP in 2010. It does not appear in the list of…

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I need solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me fund it?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 July 2014 at 9:43 am

I need solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me fund it?

Q. I need to install solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me pay for it? A. If solid wall insulation has been recommended on an energy performance certificate then you could be eligible for the Green Dean Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). This fund provides up to £…

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Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 July 2014 at 10:15 am

Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Parish councils, community energy groups, charities and social landlords are among the groups being invited to bid for funding to provide energy saving advice in their local communties. The government has announced that £1m is being made available for charities and community organisatio…

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Is there a limit to how much feed-in tariffs I can get for my solar panels?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 July 2014 at 10:50 am

Is there a limit to how much feed-in tariffs I can get for my solar panels?

Q: My question is in relation to feed-in tariffs for solar pv panels. We have a massive, south-facing roof which could accommodate an 8kw system. We are away from the UK for several months of the year and therefore our entire electricity production could go back to the grid. As we have a smart me…

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Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 July 2014 at 9:03 am

Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

As the owner of an air source heat pump who received a renewable heat premium payment grant prior to 20 May 2013, I am in the second tranche of applicants being invited to apply for the renewable heat incentive.  The date from which the group is eligible to apply – July 9, 2014 &nd…

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Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 July 2014 at 9:01 am

Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

You’ve been told that the online application for the renewable heat incentive is straightforward process, and you should expect an instant decision on the amount of money you will receive.  But with around 62 per cent of applications currently being referred to so-called manual rev…

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Great LED light giveaway!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 June 2014 at 9:40 am

Great LED light giveaway!

This competition has now closed. I'm delighted to announce the winners  are Helen & Laurie. Congratulations - your vouchers are in their way. Let there be light! Everyone knows the theory: that replacing your lightbulbs with low energy ones, such as LEDs can shave pounds off …

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My cavity wall insulation is soaking wet. What can I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 June 2014 at 10:30 am

My cavity wall insulation is soaking wet. What can I do?

Q: We bought a 1930s house which we have been updating including installing french doors. Late last year serious damp patches started spreading on each side and across top of doors, as well as in many other places on this wall both upstairs and down. The house has cavity walls which have been fil…

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How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 June 2014 at 8:26 am

How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

This week the government has launched the green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF). The fund is a stash of cash (£120m to be precise) to be given in grants –that’s free money, people! – to anyone who has made eligible energy saving improvements to their home. To get th…

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Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 June 2014 at 10:10 am

Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

Q: We had cavity wall insulation pumped into out walls about 30 years ago. Over the last 10 years or so it has been shedding the beads through air-bricks and any holes drilled in the walls to such an extent that I now question it's efficacy. Is it possible to have it refilled? A…

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Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 May 2014 at 9:08 am

Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

It’s five am and 75 cows are jostling their way into the milking shed at Stewart Watson’s dairy farm in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The mooing and stomping of the cattle as they funnel into their stalls is a familiar sound in this part of Ireland where multiple dairy farms ch…

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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 May 2014 at 10:46 am

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Producers and suppliers of biomass woodfuel are being urged to register their business on the government’s newly launched biomass suppliers list (BSL).  From October 2014, only fuel bought from a registered supplier can be used in biomass boilers, if their owners wish to claim the …

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Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 May 2014 at 9:50 am

Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

You've had a heat pump installed (prior to the launch of the RHI), you've had your green deal assessment, you've got your MCS certificate and you're poised to apply for the government's newly-launched renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme. But hold on - what's thi…

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Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 May 2014 at 10:40 am

Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Green deal installers and providers are being invited to register to be able to offer new cash incentives to their customers. The government’s newly announced green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF) offers homeowners grants of up to £6,000 for solid wall insulation and/or up to &…

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Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 May 2014 at 8:29 am

Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Households in England and Wales will be given up to £7,600 each to install solid wall insulation, double glazing and new boilers in another move designed to prop up the flagging green deal. The government’s green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF), which opens in June, will offer …

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How do I get an MCS certificate if my installer went out of business?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 April 2014 at 10:53 am

How do I get an MCS certificate if my installer went out of business?

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has launched its process for obtaining MCS certificates for homeowners whose installation companies have ceased trading or are no longer MCS certified. The paperwork-intensive process consists of filling in a form with details of yourself, your i…

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Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 April 2014 at 1:07 pm

Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

If you’re getting a green deal assessment for the purposes of claiming government incentives for your renewable heat system, make sure you have the minimum levels of insulation required first. Unless you’re planning to use a green deal loan to fund the work, or hoping you might qu…

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Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 April 2014 at 9:22 am

Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

It’s one of those crisp blue early spring days that are made for being outside. But Mike Meyerstein is inside doing the hoovering. To misuse a well-known phrase, Mike is making solar pay while the sun shines (sorry). Such is the life of a solar electricity generator. As drawbacks to…

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How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 2:20 pm

How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Now the domestic renewable heat incentive is finally live, anyone with an eligible installation will be champing at the bit to get started. To apply, you need three pieces of documentation: Your MCS certificate (supplied by your installer at the time of commissioning); Your green deal…

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 9:10 am

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

The government has a new ally in the battle to increase uptake of the foundering green deal: local authorities. Greg Barker has just announced the winners of the bid for a share of the £88m set aside for their so-called green deal communities scheme.  The scheme will give …

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Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 April 2014 at 9:13 am

Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

If you’re thinking of installing a biomass boiler and are hoping to take advantage of government incentives for renewable heat, then choose your product carefully. I learnt this week that while there are more than 500 biomass boilers MCS-accredited biomass boiler currently listed by Ofg…

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 31 March 2014 at 8:24 am

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen knows how temperatures can soar. Throwing open the windows and sticking on the fans is the obvious solution. But now an innovative new technology has been developed which harnesses the heat kicked out by stoves and fridges to heat water. …

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I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 March 2014 at 8:41 am

I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Q. My mother is an 87-year old who lives by herself in her own home and is in receipt of pension credit. Her home is run on electricity and she has three storage heaters. One of these broke a while ago and last week the one in the front room broke. She now has just one working heater wh…

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Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 March 2014 at 9:13 am

Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Radiators or underfloor heating? That has been the traditional question asked among those considering installing an air or ground source heat pump. But should we consider a new contender on the market? A study in Sweden has found that heated skirting boards are significantly more effectiv…

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What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 March 2014 at 8:31 am

What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Q. I have recently bought and moved into a new house. The house was built seven years ago and the energy performance certificate (EPC) dates from 2009. It states approximate bills of £128 lighting, £43 heating and £117 hot water. I thought this was a good guide taking …

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Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 March 2014 at 8:48 am

Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Q. I had a 4kWp solar panel system installed on my roof last October and on the face of it, it seems to be working really well. I have the owl intuition system installed and can monitor my system’s output online. What I would like to do now is to compare this output with what I should be ge…

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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 March 2014 at 8:42 am

Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Q: I have a new red 24 pellet burner. I use one 15kg recyclable plastic bag per day. I live in Flintshire and the authority will not allow collection of plastic recyclables. They suggested I put them in ordinary refuse for landfill! They even said I could drive 12 miles to a skip site. What to do…

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Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 March 2014 at 11:36 am

Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

PEOPLE on low incomes will still be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation under the government’s proposed changes to the energy company obligation (ECO), announced this week. However, it will be harder for those not on low incomes who live in solid-walled or hard to treat ho…

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How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 March 2014 at 10:46 am

How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Q I am considering creating a new hydropower scheme. Can you please explain how to calculate the feed-in tariff for a small hydropower project? A Under the government’s new community energy strategy, greater financial incentives have become available for groups looking to generate power…

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Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 March 2014 at 8:34 am

Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Hot air rises. Galileo knew it. We know it. And staff at a Dorset soap factory certainly knew it when they shivered in their boots at work each day. That was until someone thought to install a destratification fan which recirculates the warm air that collects at the ceiling, pushing it ba…

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Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 February 2014 at 9:39 am

Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Q We would like to install a wood pellet-powered range cooker and boiler which is fed automatically from a pellet store. Do you know if such a product exists? So far we have only found ones where you have to manually lift the pellets into a hopper and we are getting to an age where we can’t…

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Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 February 2014 at 12:10 pm

Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

An abattoir looking for a biogas plant to take away 10 tonnes of sheep guts a week; a willow coppice ready for harvesting; and someone looking for a source of waste heat to warm some greenhouses. These are just a few of the posts that have appeared on the online networking platform, the Renew…

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Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 February 2014 at 3:24 pm

Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Solar panel installers have a two-year window in which to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the government incentives for installations. At least that’s the message from one of the country’s leading solar experts and government advisor on solar energy. Speaking at the Sol…

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Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

The government’s new community energy strategy has been given a lukewarm welcome by groups who have already developed their own community energy schemes. Kevin Frea, part of the Halton Lune community hydro project and a director of LESS CIC, an energy saving community interest…

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New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 February 2014 at 10:28 am

New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Installers of renewable energy technologies will have to complete a compliance certificate for every installation, in order to meet new standards set out by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The certificate is part of a range of measures the MCS has introduced in preparation for…

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Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 January 2014 at 9:50 am

Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Q. Is it possible to have a ground source heat pump system linked to air vents rather than radiators and if so, would this be a less expensive option than installing radiators? A. The system you describe is known as a ground-to-air heat pump, as opposed to a ground to water (or 'wet')…

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How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 January 2014 at 9:05 am

How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Once you have decided that you’d like to install a renewable heating system in your home or office, it’s a good idea to write a brief for the project. Rather than detailing all the various technologies you’ll need, a brief is designed to set out your expectations and can be a be…

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Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 January 2014 at 9:28 am

Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Heather Hullah and Jenny Barnes are not your average pensioners. Where other 60-somethings might be thinking about winding down, these two are more likely to be found wielding chainsaws and humping logs in their 2.5 hectare woodland. But then Heather and Jenny’s ex-council house is no l…

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Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 January 2014 at 10:34 am

Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

If you’re considering installing a renewable heating system in your home and would like to take advantage of a one-off grant to help with the cost, then now’s the time to act. The deadline for applying for a renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) is fast approaching with all applic…

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District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 10 January 2014 at 9:30 am

District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

The difference between the actual and assumed efficiency of district heating networks has come under the spotlight from a number of different sources.  A YouGen reader, Adrian Turner, writes that his system linking three holiday cottages, runs at a disappointing 37 per cent. Bruno P…

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Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 January 2014 at 9:10 am

Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Homebuyers need no longer be put off by draughty homes under government plans to offer one-off grants for energy saving measures.  The proposal, which is yet to be consulted upon, is likely include a £1,000 discount on stamp duty for basic energy efficient measures and up to £…

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Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 16 December 2013 at 10:10 am

Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

A newly-installed ground source heat pump is set to save an Elizabethan country house hotel £10,000 a year.  Historic Soulton Hall in Wem, Shropshire, has replaced traditional fossil fuels with two Stiebel Eltron ground source heat pumps, generating green hot water and heating for …

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Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 6 December 2013 at 9:54 am

Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Q. We are a community group who have received a grant to install some solar PV panels on the roof of our village hall. I understand that receiving a grant disqualifies you from receiving feed-in tariffs – but I’ve also heard that there are some exceptions to this rule. Can you please …

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Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 December 2013 at 11:34 am

Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

For anyone who has been baffled by the amount of technical information available on their green deal advice report, help may be at hand. The government has announced plans to make green deal advice reports clearer and easier to understand, and to contain more information about what support there …

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Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 November 2013 at 9:26 am

Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Q. We have had solar thermal and a biomass heating system installed. I have two questions: firstly can we pre-register for the domestic renewable heat incentive, and secondly I have read that you need to be in full time employment to qualify, which seems a bit bizarre. Is that true? A. Provid…

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What is collective switching?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 November 2013 at 11:01 am

What is collective switching?

Q. What is collective switching and should I get involved? A. Collective switching is where a group of individuals club together to negotiate a better deal on their energy bills. While there is no set model for how such a scheme operates, it usually involves a third party such as a local coun…

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Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 November 2013 at 8:53 am

Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

A new office block built to exacting environmental standards aims to improve the productivity of its tenants by up to 18 per cent.  The Future Business Centre in Cambridge is a 35,000sq.ft. facility intended to provide a mix of office and workshop units and hot desk facilities for up to …

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Community hydro power project close to realisation

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 November 2013 at 12:20 pm

Community hydro power project close to realisation

The water that is regularly let out of the Dove Stone reservoir used to tumble, unchecked, into the River Tame.  The so-called compensation flow was simply part of United Utilities obligations in maintaining the reservoir and was of scant interest to local residents so long as the water …

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Tansor village hall: a case study of a solar-powered heat pump in a community building

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 October 2013 at 9:27 am

Tansor village hall: a case study of a solar-powered heat pump in a community building

A village hall which is using a lottery grant to install an air source heat pump partially powered by solar panels has come up with a way of still qualifying for the government's feed-in tarrif (FiTs). Under FiT rules, installations that are funded by public money, includin…

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Green gas takes a step closer to your home

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 October 2013 at 10:41 am

Green gas takes a step closer to your home

The possibility of being able to buy truly green gas from the grid, has taken a step closer to realisation thanks to the arrival on the market of a second, certified supplier of 100 per cent green gas.  Ceres Energy has signed up to become the second registered supplier of biomethane und…

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Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 October 2013 at 11:17 am

Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Is it just me, or are heat pumps the most confusing of beasts? I had a Daikin Altherma air source heat pump installed by an MCS registered installer in 2012 to replace a hopelesssly out-of-date storage heating system in a 1950s chalet-style house. Last winter we received electricity bills…

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Will solar panels affect the warranty on my new build home?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 October 2013 at 9:10 am

Will solar panels affect the warranty on my new build home?

Q: I have a question relating to solar panels and the NHBC warranty on our new build property. We have recently moved in to a new, two bedroom bungalow in Scarborough and thought that we would get a few quotes for solar panels on the roof. On contacting NHBC regarding the 10-year warranty pr…

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Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 October 2013 at 3:31 pm

Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

If your renewable heating system is not registered with the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS), there are still a few things you can do, to ensure that you meet the 22 October 2013 deadline for registration.  If your heating system is not registered on the MCS installation databa…

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Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 September 2013 at 10:15 am

Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

A survey by the Energy Saving Trust has found that almost three quarters of respondents support the installation of smart meters in their homes.  But commentators are warning that the meters pose risks to individual privacy and national security.  The survey, conducted ahead of …

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Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 September 2013 at 9:22 am

Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Q: I have had a phone call from someone offering me a brand new boiler, absolutely free. Is this a scam? A: The phone rings and someone on the end of the line offers you a brand new boiler - absolutely free.  Naturally you are sceptical. After months of unsolicited calls offering you…

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Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 September 2013 at 9:15 am

Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

The government has issued a deadline for registering renewable heat installations under the microgeneration certification scheme (MSC). The deadline, of 4pm on October 22, 2013, applies to all renewable heat installations made since July 15, 2009. If you believe your installation has yet …

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Another gong for YouGen!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 September 2013 at 9:01 am

Another gong for YouGen!

It's not like us to blow our own trumpets but - PARP! - we did just want to say how proud we are to have been named Green Business of the Year at an award ceremony for women in business. Our founder Cathy Debenham also reached the finals of the Inspirational Woman category of this year's …

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Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 September 2013 at 9:23 am

Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Converting your business to biomass heating has the potential to deliver some of the most significant and cost-effective carbon savings of all renewable heating technologies, The Carbon Trust has claimed. In its guide, Biomass heating: A practical guide for potential users, the Carbon Trust s…

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Big businesses to undergo compulsory energy assessments

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 September 2013 at 8:50 am

Big businesses to undergo compulsory energy assessments

The average big UK business could save £56,400 a year on energy bills under a government scheme to force businesses to undergo energy assessments. At least that’s the bold claim of the department of energy and climate change (DECC) who are consulting on proposals they hope will en…

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Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 September 2013 at 9:58 am

Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Q: Following the installation of a super-efficient biomass boiler, my energy bills dropped but my energy performance certificate (EPC) rating plummeted 26 points to a G. I’m convinced that the report is incorrect but where do I turn to get this corrected? We removed a 20-year-old boiler…

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The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2013 at 11:01 am

The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

If you’re considering refurbishing your energy-guzzling period property to make it run more efficiently then here’s a chance to see how others have done it first. SuperHomes Open Days is a countrywide open house scheme where owners of 54 older, retrofitted homes throw open their d…

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How to choose a green deal advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 23 August 2013 at 9:41 am

How to choose a green deal advisor

Choosing a green deal advisor is the first step on your journey to participating in the green deal scheme. It is important to choose an advisor in whom you have confidence as it is their findings that will inform the energy saving measures your provider is able to install in your home. There …

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Will the green deal really make my home overheat?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 August 2013 at 9:06 am

Will the green deal really make my home overheat?

You’ve got to pity the poor department for energy and climate change. No sooner have they announced a flagship green deal scheme to beef up our home insulation and make us all cosy and energy efficient then the weather goes and gets all hot and we all start opening the windows and swit…

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I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 August 2013 at 9:49 am

I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Well, yes, it is. It has been widely publicised that a green deal plan offers a fixed rate of interest, meaning that in most cases, your repayments will remain the same throughout the course of your loan. But a little bit of digging has revealed that there could be circumstances in which your…

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