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View blog posts for category: General

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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What does embodied energy mean?

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

What does embodied energy mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

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

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from Spring 2017

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

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House inside a greenhouse adds solar gain in winter

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

House inside a greenhouse adds solar gain in winter

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

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Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

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

Changes to Renewable Heat Incentive tariffs from 1 January 2017

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

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Could transparent wood soon bring more light into our homes?

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

Could transparent wood soon bring more light into our homes?

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

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Kite sails: Can we return to wind powered shipping?

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

Kite sails: Can we return to wind powered shipping?

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

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

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

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

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

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Earth sheltered houses: Past, present and future

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

Earth sheltered houses: Past, present and future

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

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

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

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

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

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Was switching my energy supplier worth it?

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

Was switching my energy supplier worth it?

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

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I switched energy supplier and saved

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

I switched energy supplier and saved

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

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It is energy switching time again

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

It is energy switching time again

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

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Does plastic have to come from oil?

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

Does plastic have to come from oil?

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

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Are electric cars the future?

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

Are electric cars the future?

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

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

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

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

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

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Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

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

Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

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

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Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

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

Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

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

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

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

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

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

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What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

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

What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

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

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