Skip to main content

YouGen Blog

« prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 next »

Viewing all blog entries

How do I make my home more energy efficient? Green Deal or independent assessment

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 June 2013 at 8:34 am

How do I make my home more energy efficient? Green Deal or independent assessment

Our 1950s chalet bungalow home is cold and quite expensive to heat even though we have installed cavity wall and loft insulation, and it is double glazed. It would be warmer if we put the heating on longer, but it would also cost more to heat, and emit more carbon dioxide, and we're want to a…

Read More | 3 comments

Energy efficiency can add up to £25k to the value of your home

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 June 2013 at 9:15 am

Energy efficiency can add up to £25k to the value of your home

Improving the energy efficiency of your home can increase its value by up to £25,000 depending on where you live. New research for DECC (the department of energy and climate change) found that increasing the energy performance certificate (EPC) of an average home in England from band G to E…

Read More | 2 comments

How to get started with the green deal: my experience

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2013 at 11:37 am

How to get started with the green deal: my experience

The Green Deal is the government's scheme to encourage people to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, by taking away the barrier of upfront cost. While the government is keen to meet carbon emissions targets, the benefits for the rest of us are also warmer homes, and lower energy bi…

Read More | 7 comments

Review of Elios4you energy management system

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 June 2013 at 9:25 am

Review of Elios4you energy management system

I'm often surprised about how much electricity my solar panels generate, even on a cloudy day. Despite it being June, I'm writing this wearing a thick fleece to keep warm, and looking out at around 90% cloud cover, yet my Elios4you device shows me that our 2kWp solar PV array has been ste…

Read More | 5 comments

Revolutionary solid wall insulation system wins Ashden Gold Award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 June 2013 at 9:17 am

Revolutionary solid wall insulation system wins Ashden Gold Award

Internal solid wall insulation is generally accepted to be pretty disruptive, with residents often moving out for up to a fortnight while their home is insulated. Not any more. A new system developed in partnership by the Sustainable Energy Academy (SEA) and social housing contractor United …

Read More | 3 comments

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 June 2013 at 2:56 pm

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Q: I'd like to look for a different energy provider (my current one, nPower isn't paying its tax!). However, I don't want to lose my feed-in tariff (FIT) payments. Can I reapply for them with my new supplier and is it a complicated procedure? Or will my old supplier keep paying the FI…

Read More | No comments

What is the feed-in tariff rate with inflation rise?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 June 2013 at 10:09 am

What is the feed-in tariff rate with inflation rise?

Q: My PV installation is now 2.5 years old. The feed-in tariff (FIT) is supposed to rise with inflation each year but wherever I search on the web I can only seem to find the rates for new installations. I am registered with Scottish and Southern who no longer provide a breakdown of payments and …

Read More | 7 comments

Have pigeons been playing on your solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 June 2013 at 9:57 am

Have pigeons been playing on your solar panels?

"We had our solar panels installed in January last year and are very pleased with their efficiency," writes a YouGen reader. "However, something that no-one mentioned to us is that we would be plagued by pigeons thereafter. "They have become a complete pest with both noise…

Read More | 5 comments

Reader's tip of the month - May 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 May 2013 at 11:13 am

Reader's tip of the month - May 2013

Retired, and living in a detached dorma bungalow built in the 1960s with almost no insulation, Tony Seaford and his wife were interested in reducing their domestic carbon footprint as much as they could without moving. "After double glazing and cavity wall insulation, we spent £800…

Read More | 6 comments

What happens to the FIT if your solar panels are destroyed in a fire?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 May 2013 at 9:48 am

What happens to the FIT if your solar panels are destroyed in a fire?

Q: We fitted  a 3.2kw solar panel system in August 2011 were on the higher levy (feed-in tariff rate). We had a house fire in March 2012 and rebuilt the house putting a complete new system on it. We notified British Gas, who we signed up with about the fire and they said notify them when we …

Read More | No comments

DECC doubles upfront grants for renewable heat technologies

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 May 2013 at 3:32 pm

More help with the upfront cost of installing renewable heat is now available as the Department of Energy and Climate Change announces a doubling of the Renewable Heat Premium Payments. These money off vouchers have been increased to: £2,300 for ground source heat pumps £2,0…

Read More | 3 comments

How do I find the best performing heat pump?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 May 2013 at 9:35 am

How do I find the best performing heat pump?

Q: There is a great deal of information on the Internet as regards heat pumps but no information about recommended manufacturers of ground source heat pumps. Please can you help me. I would like someone to recommend which ground source heat pump ie Kensa, Nibe Danfoss performs best. A: Good q…

Read More | 1 comment

Old House Eco Handbook: a review

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 May 2013 at 11:15 am

Old House Eco Handbook: a review

Old houses can be green. This is the title of the first chapter of Old House Eco Handbook: a practical guide to retrofitting for energy-efficiency & sustainability by Marianne Suhr & Roger Hunt. It's an encouraging start, as not everyone believes it's possible, and as a result too…

Read More | No comments

Who deals with claims on an inverter warranty?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 May 2013 at 10:52 am

Who deals with claims on an inverter warranty?

Q:I have a quote for the installation of solar panels. The quote says that the inverter is guaranteed for 10 years and that the guarantee is directly with the manufacturer; ie the installer does not wish to be involved in any guarantee claims. Is this normal? Is this contrary to the Sale of Goods…

Read More | 2 comments

Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV to fall by 3.5% from 1 July 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 May 2013 at 12:25 pm

Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV to fall by 3.5% from 1 July 2013

Feed-in tariff rates for all solar PV installations under 50kWp will fall by 3.5% from 1 July, even though the  levels of installation to trigger a fall has not been reached. Under the government's rules the three monthly degression can be skipped for two quarters if uptake is low, after…

Read More | 1 comment

Heat pumps a no brainer says property developer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 May 2013 at 9:41 am

Heat pumps a no brainer says property developer

A property developer in North Wales has been so impressed with the amount of energy that air source heat pumps have saved his properties over the past few years that he installed one in his own home in Colwyn Bay. "I first started using ground and air source heat pumps in my development…

Read More | No comments

Readers tips of the month - April 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 April 2013 at 9:30 am

Readers tips of the month - April 2013

"Most cost effective measures are to improve thermal performance of property with good insulation generally," says architect Clinton. "But watch natural ventilation/airtightness to avoid condensation problems unless you are installing a mechanical ventilation system. Use as man…

Read More | No comments

DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 April 2013 at 12:09 pm

DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

You can use Green Deal finance to help meet the costs of installing solar PV, wind or even microCHP* on your property and receive the Feed In Tariff (FIT) as well. Hydro generation and anaerobic digestion receive FIT but are not eligible for Green Deal finance. The amount you can finance thro…

Read More | No comments

When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 April 2013 at 9:17 am

When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

A: As RHI (renewable heat incentive) payments have been delayed again till Spring 2014, do we have to wait till then to get our payment? So there will be no payment in 2013 then? Q: If you are what the government describes as a 'legacy' applicant, which means someone who has installed…

Read More | No comments

REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 April 2013 at 9:21 am

REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

The consumer code for the domestic renewable energy sector has changed its name from the ‘REAL Consumer Code’ to the ‘Renewable Energy Consumer Code’ (RECC). The new name better describes the nature and purpose of the Code, and better reflects the fact that the Code is jus…

Read More | No comments

How can I prevent my solar PV panels being stolen?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 April 2013 at 9:32 am

How can I prevent my solar PV panels being stolen?

Q: I have a holiday home in France and I'd love to install solar. my concern, however, is the risk of theft. The property is quite isolated and we won't be there a lot of the time. Is it easy to take down solar panels? Are there more portable panels that lend themselves to this bette…

Read More | 2 comments

Why people choose their renewable energy installer (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 April 2013 at 8:10 am

  Customers are looking for installers who are: Knowledgeable about the product Provide information about the products and the installation Are good value for money Seem experienced at installing Seem friendly when discussing the quote / install …

Read More | No comments

I'm ringing on behalf of the government says rogue Green Deal company

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 April 2013 at 9:44 am

I'm ringing on behalf of the government says rogue Green Deal company

MPs receive more letters and emails about unwanted phone calls than anything else, culture minister Ed Vaizey told Parliament last week. Well Ed and my MP are about to get another one about the dodgy callers that pretend they are calling with the government's blessing. Last week I had a c…

Read More | 1 comment

Special offer: Heat pump manufacturer offers free site survey, system design and handover meeting

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 March 2013 at 9:11 am

Special offer: Heat pump manufacturer offers free site survey, system design and handover meeting

Sponsored blog post For over 80 years in 72 countries Stiebel Eltron has been one of the world’s leading manufacturers of green heating technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and energy saving water heaters. With a wide range of products designed for the UK market we provide unma…

Read More | No comments

New blow to domestic renewable heat as RHI is delayed (again)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 March 2013 at 10:29 am

New blow to domestic renewable heat as RHI is delayed (again)

The domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI), which was first announced in 2009, has been delayed again. Following last year's consultation, an announcement on the detail of how it would work was expected now, with the scheme starting this summer. However, yesterday it was delayed again. Y…

Read More | No comments

Manufacturers can play a key role in preventing problems with heat pumps

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 March 2013 at 10:13 am

Manufacturers can play a key role in preventing problems with heat pumps

Heat pumps can be a great way of heating a building if (and it's a big if) they are designed, specified, installed and commissioned right, and the building owner is given good, clear instructions about how to use the system and what the different controls do. The reason I say it's a b…

Read More | No comments

Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 March 2013 at 9:08 am

Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Most existing recipients of the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive will receive an  increase in their tariff rates in line with the retail price index from 1 April 2013. However, for some recent recipients of the feed-in tariff of solar PV the first RPI increase will not happen …

Read More | 10 comments

Five reasons why now is a really good time to install solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 March 2013 at 9:46 am

Five reasons why now is a really good time to install solar PV

If you want to generate your own electricity there's not likely to be a better time than now to install solar PV panels. Global oversupply of solar panels has led to tumbling prices - but experts predict that this may not last. The feed-in tariff - the government's incentive for the t…

Read More | 6 comments

How renewable energy installers can deliver better service (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 February 2013 at 10:39 am

  After warranties, an instruction booklet is the most important feature of after sales service that you can offer microgeneration customers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. This offers installers a great opportunity to shine and to differentiate themselves fro…

Read More | No comments

Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2013 at 9:59 am

Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Mixed messages have been circulating about how - or whether - Green Deal will work with the government's financial incentives for renewable heat and electricity generation. Last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed in a letter to installers that householders can claim a …

Read More | No comments

Estimates of solar PV will improve with launch of new PV Guide

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 February 2013 at 9:46 am

Estimates of solar PV will improve with launch of new PV Guide

The estimated performance of solar PV systems will be significantly more accurate in future, following the publication of the long awaited new PV Guide, and the newly updated standard MIS3002 issue 3.0. The new standards for solar PV installations were finally launched last week by Climate Ch…

Read More | No comments

Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 February 2013 at 9:22 am

Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Last month the Office of Fair Trading announced that it has written to 50 leading businesses in the energy efficiency sector asking them to ensure they are providing consistently good standards to consumers. This is because the watchdog is concerned about pressure sales techniques, unclear inform…

Read More | No comments

Readers tips of the month - January 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2013 at 10:35 am

Readers tips of the month - January 2013

Keeping warm is a bit of a theme for this month's tips. Mark Griffiths lives in a solid-wall 1930s house and works from home. He writes: " we brought in a company to help us dry-line part of our home office - an upstairs bedroom. We lost ten inches of space, but gained immensely in heat …

Read More | No comments

Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Edit: Please see below for updated information about this blog post Feed-in tariff (FIT) applications close the deadline for a rate change have always been a worrying time. Will the system be registered on time? Will you get the expected higher rate? With most companies it's just a matter…

Read More | 42 comments

Let's not kill the Green Deal with negativity before it's had a chance

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2013 at 10:05 am

Let's not kill the Green Deal with negativity before it's had a chance

Today, at last, the Green Deal is open for business. I struggle to think of any proposal that's been so talked about (and so derided) before it even started. So it's not surprising that its launch has been met with a tide of negativity too: it's not ambitious enough say some. Others f…

Read More | 8 comments

Use carbon tax to eliminate fuel poverty, PM told

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 January 2013 at 5:17 pm

Use carbon tax to eliminate fuel poverty, PM told

We're pleased to be one of the 100 signatories sent to Prime Minister – The Rt Hon David Cameron MP yesterday. If you agree, then please sign the Energy Bill Revolution petition, and tell your friends about it too. Dear Prime Minister Millions of households across the UK will st…

Read More | No comments

Is the extension of my solar PV system eligible for higher rate FITs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2013 at 9:08 am

Is the extension of my solar PV system eligible for higher rate FITs?

Q: We originally installed 7.23 kW Solar PV for our home a few years back that qualified for the higher band of feed-in tariff (FIT). Just this month we have installed an extension of an additional 15 kW. We understood this to be an extension to the original system and that the extension would be…

Read More | 2 comments

Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2013 at 9:25 am

Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

How to improve the way you sell and promote your solar business will be the focus of this year's Solar Power UK Roadshows. In February, the series of seven, half-day events will take place in locations across the UK. I am delighted to have been invited to join the speaker panel again this yea…

Read More | No comments

Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

In a welcome bit of joined-up government thinking, the departments of energy and climate change and of communities and local government have clarified that the installation of external solid wall insulation constitutes an 'improvement' to a house rather than an 'enlargement' or &#…

Read More | 3 comments

Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 January 2013 at 9:12 am

Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

This blog was updated in February 2014 and again on 6 November 2014. If someone told you that there's a new solar panel that could heat your hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year come rain, shine or snow, would you believe them? It sounds too good to be true, and that always makes me …

Read More | 15 comments

Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2012 at 9:10 am

Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Earlier this year we found E.on had more disgruntled feed-in tariff customers than any other energy company. New research by Which?, with a bigger sample of 1,700 respondents, has come to the same conclusion. More than a third of their members had problems with their FIT supplier, and of thos…

Read More | 13 comments

Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2012 at 11:25 am

Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Q: In discussions of draught proofing a room I realise that a lot of heat must be drawn up the flue behind my gas fire & therefore wasted due to its inevitable escape to the environment. Would it be worth it to replace my gas fire in the lounge by an electric fire with resultant minimal loss …

Read More | 3 comments

Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

An open letter from Mike Stephenson, H2Eco  to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jo Swinson MP, and the Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP and the wider Renewable Energy Installation industry. Help reduce pressure selling in the home by banning ‘deal on the day.’ I would …

Read More | No comments

Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

A lot of work is needed to raise awareness among the British public of renewable heat technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass boilers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. Speaking at Renewable Energy Installer's business strategy conference in November…

Read More | No comments

Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 10:14 am

Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Renewable heat zones led by local authorities would provide the incentives necessary for heating engineers to invest in training and skills for renewable heat installation, according to Kelly Butler of BEAMA. Speaking at the Westminster Forum on Progress of the RHI last month, Butler pointed …

Read More | No comments

What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2012 at 12:17 pm

What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Developing a sustainable business in a field as dominated by politics as renewable energy is a hazardous undertaking. So how do you pick the route to the most stable market? Ask what the strategic policy drivers are, is the advice of Erich Scherer, an assistant director in the renewable energ…

Read More | 1 comment

Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 December 2012 at 2:30 pm

Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

A small minority of renewable energy companies are ignoring the rules on selling set down in the REAL Assurance consumer code, to which all MCS accredited installers must adhere.  This is the relevant section of the code: Sales employees and representatives, whether employed  di…

Read More | 2 comments

Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:20 pm

Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

If you don't like being pressured to buy in your own home, then support our campaign to to stop renewable energy companies being able to sign up customers on the day of a sales visit. These are substantial investments which are not suitable for a 'deal on the day sale', and most reput…

Read More | No comments

Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:16 pm

Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

There are occasions when signing a contract on the day with the first sales person you come into contact with is a good idea, but they are few and far between. An example might be when your boiler has broken down, and the plumber you know and trust comes to replace it. However, when a company has…

Read More | 1 comment

Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 12:32 pm

Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Q: I had a visit Thursday evening from Ecohome Renewables. They quoted me £15,560 for a 16 panel 230w system, gave me a discount down to £10,560 but guaranteed me a tariff inflator to inflate my PV FIT system to 40p for 20 years. I had to agree then and there and signed a contract for…

Read More | 6 comments

« prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 12 next »