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View blog posts for category: General

Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 November 2015 at 11:50 am

Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

In my previous blog I looked at the smart meter roll-out and how smart meters work. This blog will examine consumer privacy, prepayment customers and concerns with smart meters. Consumer privacy and prepayment customers You will have some control over how your energy consumption data is u…

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How smart are smart meters?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 3 November 2015 at 11:10 am

How smart are smart meters?

This autumn the official roll-out of smart meters across England, Wales and Scotland will begin, and it should be complete by 2020. Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They have in-home displays which help you keep track of the energy you use, and will cut out the …

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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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And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 October 2015 at 2:05 pm

And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

This year’s M&S Energy Community Energy Fund received over 600 registrations of interest and 246 projects were submitted. These were shortlisted to 132 projects which then went to a public vote. Over 51,000 votes were cast and the winners have now been announced. They include projec…

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Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 October 2015 at 2:02 pm

Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Up to 300,000 young people across the UK now have the opportunity to become an Energy Envoy in order to complete the Volunteering section of their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The National Energy Foundation (NEF) has recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering …

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Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

Posted by Alex Steeland on 20 October 2015 at 9:50 am

Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering scheme to help tackle the serious problem of the lack of understanding of energy issues and an inability to apply energy knowledge in practice. This blog is the second in a three-part series through which we…

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Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 19 October 2015 at 11:20 am

Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Last year the National Energy Foundation (NEF) commissioned a national energy literacy survey to find out how much the British public really knows about energy. The survey of 2,058 adults conducted by ComRes revealed troubling results and raised concerns that people think they know more about ene…

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Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Yay! Now I can buy my own home. Well not so fast, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on? Right to Buy (RTB) was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 and is now close to reaching the 2million homes mark. Defenders of the original policy will tell you how it has helped people…

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How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 October 2015 at 11:05 am

How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

I am writing this with my tongue slightly in my cheek, but I am wondering what you are going to spend your windfall on. I am sure that a rebate of any size will be welcomed by many and for some it could mean a free week or so of electricity use. However, what I really think is that £12 is n…

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Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

Posted by NEF Gordon on 9 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government.  The report explains that this could deliver economic benefits comparable to High Speed 2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads. The findings build on analysis from Cambr…

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Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 October 2015 at 12:15 pm

Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Climate Energy today became the second Green Deal Provider to call in the administrators within 24 hours. The company grew quickly from 2001 and at its peak employed 160 people. The number of employees had already fallen to 128, but a further 30 people were made redundant yesterday. Yesterday…

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Small changes for smaller energy bills

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 17 September 2015 at 4:20 pm

Small changes for smaller energy bills

With autumn fast approaching, it’s time to think about ways to help reduce those dreaded energy bills. Today, I want to share with you 10 simple changes that can offer big payoffs in the months to come. Abolish ‘stand-by’ in your house. Did you know that as much a 15% of…

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3D energy efficient house

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2015 at 10:50 am

3D energy efficient house

I just found a very attractive interactive web page with simple energy efficiency ideas for inside and outside the home. It’s interesting to see the little differences in language with this Irish site. For instance calling the airing cupboard a hot press and the loft an attic. I also fo…

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Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 September 2015 at 12:20 pm

Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Would you like to see local community groups benefiting from renewable energy? If your answer is yes then why not log on to the Marks and Spencer Community Grants site and vote for a project near you.  Or perhaps vote for a project which you think is particularly inspirational.  Project…

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Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 26 August 2015 at 11:05 am

Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Nothing beats a home cooked meal, especially when it’s made with homegrown ingredients. Growing your own food saves money, is eco-friendly, and creates produce that’s as fresh as it comes. For the green-fingered it can be an ideal eco hobby, and it’s one that more and more peopl…

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What is the future for sustainable homes in the UK?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 11 August 2015 at 9:55 am

What is the future for sustainable homes in the UK?

We repeatedly hear in the media that there is a housing shortage in the UK. With a growing population particularly in urban areas, we need to be smart about addressing this need. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the recent scrapping of the zero carbon homes policy but there is another policy, …

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How can we green our company HQ?

Posted by NEF Gordon on 4 August 2015 at 1:45 pm

How can we green our company HQ?

How to help your company HQ become greener with minimal hassle Of all the reasons to go green in business, I shall provide you with just two; it is good for the environment, and also, good for your bottom line. If you’re saving money whilst concurrently helping to improve the world in …

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Government ends the Green Deal

Posted by Helena Ripley on 28 July 2015 at 12:15 pm

Government ends the Green Deal

Only last week, we wrote a blog about the potential changes we might see in the provision of funding for energy efficiency given the cuts that government departments are expected to make. At the time there was no concrete information to back up the figures that the Financial Times article suggest…

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Government scraps zero carbon homes - what does it mean for UK housing?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 28 July 2015 at 11:50 am

Government scraps zero carbon homes - what does it mean for UK housing?

The chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to scrap the zero carbon building policy; the government says the decision will ensure that planning decisions can be made more quickly. However, industry leaders including house planners, builders and environmental groups have condemned the m…

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Government to cut funding for household energy efficiency?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 July 2015 at 1:58 pm

Government to cut funding for household energy efficiency?

On 13 July the Financial Times (FT) published an article that suggests that the new budget for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will make household energy efficiency improvements more difficult. This because ministers are decreasing the amount of funding available to help instal…

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Have you checked out the QR code on your energy bill yet?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 15 July 2015 at 2:35 pm

Have you checked out the QR code on your energy bill yet?

What is a QR code? A Quick Response (QR) code is a type barcode that can be scanned using a QR code reader application (app) on a smart phone. To make use of the QR code on your energy bill you will need a smart phone or access to one. You will also need to download a QR code reader app. Some…

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Industry restates need for a new Energy White Paper

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 9 July 2015 at 11:30 am

Industry restates need for a new Energy White Paper

The recent progress report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has strongly recommended the need for a new action plan on low carbon and energy efficiency. It highlights the fact that many of the relevant policies and funding available to meet carbon reduction targets post 2020 are due to ru…

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How to become a green community transport provider!

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 June 2015 at 4:05 pm

How to become a green community transport provider!

Transport is not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of energy use, but the sector is responsible for 36 percent of total energy consumption in the UK. If we are serious about reducing our energy use and moving to more sustainable sources, the transport sector must play its part.…

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Join recommended renewables and energy efficiency businesses in YouGen's online directory

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 18 June 2015 at 10:55 am

Join recommended renewables and energy efficiency businesses in YouGen's online directory

One of the biggest barriers to householders installing energy efficiency measures and renewables is finding good quality installers. The best installer is one who comes highly recommended, one who will encourage potential customers to talk to previous customers and one who is happy to show off hi…

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Watch out for an energy efficiency and renewables price hike

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 12 June 2015 at 11:05 am

Watch out for an energy efficiency and renewables price hike

No it’s not that prices for silicon are going through the roof, or tradesmen are getting above inflation pay rises, it’s all about the EU. It turns out that the UK’s low rates of VAT on energy efficiency and renewables are in breach of EU laws. This means that rather than paying…

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Ashden Awards 2015

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 June 2015 at 6:05 pm

Ashden Awards 2015

This week will see the winners announced for the highly prestigious Ashden Awards. Ashden is a charity that supports the leaders in sustainable energy to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon world and each year it holds an awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in the fields of green energy…

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Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

Posted by Gordon Glass on 18 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

This month is a busy one for Green Open Homes with events all over the country, from West Cornwall to Yorkshire. An estimated total of 200 homes are being opened up this spring for visitors, showcasing both low cost energy efficient improvements and larger more expensive options. Event locations …

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Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations: what they mean for tenants

Posted by Alex Steeland on 15 May 2015 at 11:15 am

Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations: what they mean for tenants

The private rented sector makes up 18 percent of the total housing stock and contains some of the worst maintained properties in the country, with 1 in 10 privately rented domestic properties falling below EPC band E. The barriers to overcoming this problem are particularly challenging, given the…

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Fuel poor in Scotland should see more support in September 2015

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 May 2015 at 4:05 pm

Fuel poor in Scotland should see more support in September 2015

A new scheme has been announced to support those in Fuel Poverty living in Scotland. Whilst the details are yet to be announced the £224 million over seven years is anticipated to help as many as 28,000 fuel poor or vulnerable households. The scheme will provide installations of insulat…

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Election update - energy efficiency off the media radar?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 April 2015 at 3:30 pm

Election update - energy efficiency off the media radar?

How are the political parties going to promote energy efficiency, alleviate fuel poverty or increase renewable energy generation?  Are you interested in finding out before you vote on 7th May? What do you think about the Green party’s commitment to a nationwide retrofit insulation…

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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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Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 March 2015 at 10:50 am

Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

With energy efficiency companies now topping the list of nuisance callers it's good to hear that the rules on cold calling are being tightened up. (About time too, some may say). Energy efficiency cowboys recently knocked those calling about compensation for missold PPI (payment protection in…

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New 16 March deadline for Green Deal Home Improvement Fund applications

Posted by NEF Gordon on 5 March 2015 at 12:15 pm

New 16 March deadline for Green Deal Home Improvement Fund applications

The next deadline for applications to the government’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) will be midday on 16 March 2015. The offer has been revised and householders can now apply for up to £5,600 to help with the costs of installing solid wall insulation and other energy savin…

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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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Two million children are growing up cold due to cold homes leaking heat

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 February 2015 at 10:39 am

Two million children are growing up cold due to cold homes leaking heat

Cold Homes Week begins today (2-6th Feb), and fuel poverty is again firmly back on the political agenda. The harsh reality is that thousands of people die because they simply can’t afford to turn on their heating. Two million children are growing up cold. They face twice the likelihood of c…

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Book your discounted tickets for the Renewable Energy Marketplace now

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 January 2015 at 10:13 am

Book your discounted tickets for the Renewable Energy Marketplace now

The south west’s biggest energy event; everything you need to know about renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and generation. Join us for talks, demos and to meet the 100+ exhibitors at Westpoint Arena on Tuesday 21 April. This year, expert advice will be available in five dedic…

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Can a village hall get a grant for a biomass boiler and claim RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 January 2015 at 9:27 am

Can a village hall get a grant for a biomass boiler and claim RHI?

Q: I have recently taken over as treasurer of a local village hall. Our heating is all electric. We want to put in a biomass boiler. With donations only will we qualify for renewable heat incentive (RHI)? If we get grants will we qualify for RHI? If we get a lottery grant will we qualify for RHI?…

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I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2014 at 9:48 am

I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

MCS certificates are vital if you want to claim the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive. If you have lost yours - or your installer never gave you one, and has gone out of business - don't despair. There is a way around it. As long as the installation was originally carried out…

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MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 November 2014 at 12:10 pm

MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Knowing that your installer (and the product they are installing) is going to do a good job is always important. In a new industry, with unfamiliar products and taxpayers money available to support it, it's even more important.  This is exactly what the Microgeneration Certification …

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Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 November 2014 at 3:22 pm

Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

South west England has the most accreditations (1,847) under the new domestic renewable heat incentive (dRHI) according to new statistics from Ofgem. Renewable heat was nearly as popular in Scotland (1,596 accreditations), with south east England next. Not surprisingly London was the region with …

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It's time for leaders to lead by example

Posted by Rupert Higgin on 22 October 2014 at 8:58 am

It's time for leaders to lead by example

It’s been a decade since the block of 28 European states (EU28), including the UK, committed to the target of ensuring that 15% of all energy consumed would be from renewable sources by 2020. So how are we faring towards achieving this legally binding target? Well, the latest stat…

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Should I buy from a non-MCS installer?

Posted by Chris Roberts on 7 October 2014 at 8:55 am

Should I buy from a non-MCS installer?

There has been much debate between renewables industry representatives about the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and whether it is worth the cost and effort. However discussion has been largely focussed on the benefits (or not) to the installer rather than customers. As it’s the …

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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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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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