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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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