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Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 9 November 2015 at 10:45 am

Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

With the rising cost of energy and the ever-increasing demand, both you and your house have to get smart to keep bills down. Home energy management systems (HEMS) are devices that monitor, analyse and control energy in your home. HEMS first hit the market back 2008 and are on the rise. In Decembe…

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How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 29 October 2015 at 11:15 am

How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

A domestic electricity store (ie. lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries) could be one way to make the most of the free clean electricity that you are generating from your solar PV panels. These batteries will be familiar to you – lead-acid is often used in car batteries and lithium-ion is used…

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What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 28 October 2015 at 10:15 am

What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Conservatories give you extra living space which is filled with natural light, but so often they are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. So what do you need to know about the energy efficiency of a conservatory before you sign up for it? How energy efficient are the windows? Is …

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How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 27 October 2015 at 10:05 am

How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

If your experience of conservatories is as spaces that are freezing in winter and heat traps in summer, you might be surprised to learn that they can actually help you save energy. A well-insulated conservatory maximises solar gain by trapping heat from the sun, and that heat can then warm th…

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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Decreased biomass RHI Biomass boilers must be popular at the moment because the biomass Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has passed another degression trigger. Degression is the process by which the government controls expenditure on the domestic RHI scheme and it involves reducing the tariffs …

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How much does solar thermal really save?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 21 September 2015 at 11:55 am

How much does solar thermal really save?

Solar thermal panels providing hot water for your domestic needs are a good way of reducing both your carbon emissions and your energy bill. Some households can use solar thermal to provide all of their hot water needs throughout the summer months. One SuperHomer manages to solely use solar heate…

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How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 September 2015 at 2:01 pm

How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

The basic theory of a heat exchange or heat recovery system is that heat from one fluid (either a liquid or a gas) is transferred to another fluid (also either a liquid or a gas) without the two fluids mixing. Q. How does a ventilation system with heat recovery work? A. For an explanation…

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Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 16 September 2015 at 10:15 am

Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Standard ventilation, which is suitable for most houses, uses trickle vents, extractor fans, windows and a lack of airtightness. Extractor fans are located in the ‘wet’ rooms of the house, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Trickle vents in windows allow a small amount of air to move i…

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Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 September 2015 at 3:40 pm

Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

A house needs to be well ventilated for the comfort of its residents and to help care for the building. A house with poor ventilation can retain moisture and feel draughty or airless. Moisture can condense, leading to problems with damp, while inadequate air flow results in a build-up of indoor a…

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My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 4 September 2015 at 3:20 pm

My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Crittall is a company which produces steel framed windows and their name has become associated with metal windows in general, which are now produced by many other companies. First manufactured back in 1884, when someone says Crittall windows we know exactly what they mean. Steel and aluminium pro…

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Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

Posted by Helena Ripley on 3 September 2015 at 10:50 am

Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has started a consultation on the future of feed-in tariffs (FiTs). The government is looking at phasing out the subsidy by 2018/19 but if the scheme can’t be put on an “affordable or sustainable footing” then payments of the g…

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How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 26 August 2015 at 11:10 am

How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

A new EU Directive the ‘Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive’ will come into force on 26 September 2015. This will affect the eligibility of homeowners with heat pumps to receive payments from the renewable heat incentive (RHI) grant. This directive will set a minimum …

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Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:45 pm

Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

The Solar Trade Association (STA) recently produced a guide to fitting solar PV on a large roof. This contains a checklist of actions needed in order to successfully install a solar PV array on a commercial building. What are the benefits of solar PV on a commercial building? Commercial b…

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Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:30 pm

Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Most people don’t get a wood burning stove for the cost benefits. Although there might be some saving in terms of money and carbon emissions, stoves are mostly attractive because they are cosy and homely. The best way to save money with a stove is to source your fuel as cheaply as possible …

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How much does a wood burning stove cost?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 August 2015 at 1:50 pm

How much does a wood burning stove cost?

A wood burning stove is a big investment: they can cost over £2000 to buy, plus a potential £1500 to install, and there is the on-going cost of fuel to consider as well. On the other hand, switching to a stove should decrease your current heating bills, so how do these costs and savin…

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What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:40 pm

What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

A stove is a good way to heat a single room when it isn’t cold enough to put the central heating on, or when you want to create a warm cosy atmosphere. But what is the best fuel to use? Before discussing the types of fuel that are available, it is worth noting that some urban areas are …

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What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

When you consider buying a wood burning stove you need to make sure you get one which is the right size for the room it will go in. Finding the right size stove is important to make the most of the fuel, providing the right amount of heat and not taking up more room than is necessary.  W…

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Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 August 2015 at 10:50 am

Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Is there anything better, on a cold winter evening, than sitting by a wood burning stove with a good book and a hot cup of tea? Many people are installing stoves these days, but how can you know whether on would be right for you? The good news is that stoves can be fitted into almost any house, w…

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