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How do I find a local green deal advisor or provider?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 August 2013 at 9:31 am

How do I find a local green deal advisor or provider?

Q: I've had a green deal advice report done, and am trying hard to find a provider in Devon. Hope you can help. A: To find a green deal provider go to www.greendealorb.co.uk/consumersearch and enter your postcode. You can also search for green deal assessor organisations at the same …

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Will the green deal pay for a boiler replacement in my kitchen extension?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 August 2013 at 9:36 am

Will the green deal pay for a boiler replacement in my kitchen extension?

Q: I'm planning on extending the kitchen and updating the boiler. We live in a 20s house with no cavity and a gas Aga running the heating. Can I access money from the green deal? I spoke to the energy efficiency people as well as British Gas and they said I'd have to wait to complete the …

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Heat pumps can be an efficient alternative to electric, oil or LPG heating says EST field trial

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 August 2013 at 9:12 am

Heat pumps can be an efficient alternative to electric, oil or LPG heating says EST field trial

Heat pumps can provide an efficient alternative heat source for householders currently heating using electricity, oil, LPG or solid fuel according to phase two of the Energy Saving Trust's (EST) heat pump field trial.  Well installed heat pumps, in homes which have adequate insu…

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Will my Immersun qualify for RHI payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 August 2013 at 10:58 am

Will my Immersun qualify for RHI payments?

Q: We have recently installed an Immersun to compliment our solar PV. This is using between 4 and 6 Kw hours per day to heat our water. It was simple to install and much cheaper than our solar thermal panel in our last house. Does the Immersun (or equivalent) qualify for a renewable heat incentiv…

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LED lighting system to save more than £15,000 over five years

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 August 2013 at 9:22 am

LED lighting system to save more than £15,000 over five years

A new lighting system is set to save thousands and cut carbon usage by 85% at a high rise scheme in Harpurhey, Manchester. Kingsbridge Court, which is managed by Northwards Housing, now benefits from sensor controlled LED lights that this year alone are expected to save £2,725.43 in el…

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My experience of staying in a Passivhaus

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 August 2013 at 10:31 am

My experience of staying in a Passivhaus

Having lived in a series of draughty old houses over the years, I've always wondered what it would be like living in a Passivhaus. So when i discovered there was a Passivhaus bed and breakfast in Dartington, Devon where I was due to attend a conference, I booked in. The B&B is one of …

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Reader's tip of the month - July 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 July 2013 at 9:29 am

Reader's tip of the month - July 2013

Mark Boulton is just completing his self-build eco-house: a timber frame / hemcrete construction on a passive slab near Chipping Campden.  The house has a 9.8kW solar PV system and solar thermal panels feeding into an 800 litre thermal store. It has a bespoke energy management system wit…

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Green deal to be delivered street by street with DECC funding

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 July 2013 at 10:26 am

Green deal to be delivered street by street with DECC funding

Plans by the government for energy efficiency experts to go street-by-street to encourage people to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat have met with suspicion on Twitter. Concerns expressed are mainly about conmen and pressure sales. But how likely is that in reality? The local c…

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Estimated RHI payments on a solar thermal installation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 July 2013 at 2:59 pm

Estimated RHI payments on a solar thermal installation

Domestic hot water generated by solar thermal panels will be eligible for the renewable heat incentive (RHI) when it starts in spring next year. The tariff rate will be at least 19.2p/kWh of heat generated (although it may be a higher - we should find out in the autumn). The RHI payments will…

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Why buyers should take care when investing in renewable heat

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 July 2013 at 9:41 am

Why buyers should take care when investing in renewable heat

Let me set my stall out: I'm a fan of renewable heat technologies if they are installed well in suitable buildings. I'm also delighted that details of the domestic renewable heat incentive scheme has finally been announced, and that the rates are higher than expected.  But, and g…

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Usability testers wanted for RHI accreditation system

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 11:55 am

Usability testers wanted for RHI accreditation system

Ofgem has recently begun to build the IT system for accreditation on to the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme and hopes to start usability testing in the week commencing 22 July 2013. It aims to build a user-friendly system to ease the accreditation process for all, and needs help to…

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Details of the domestic renewable heat incentive finally announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 10:25 am

After several delays, the details of the renewable heat incentive, originally announced in July 2010 have finally been announced. Its aim is to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies to cut carbon, help meet the renewables targets and to save money on energy bills. Who can apply …

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A company wants to install free cavity wall insulation in my block of flats: is it too good to be true?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 9:35 am

A company wants to install free cavity wall insulation in my block of flats: is it too good to be true?

Q: I have been contacted by a company that is intent on installing cavity wall insulation in the block of flats that I stay in and they claim it's free under the 'hard to treat homes'! This I find hard to believe. I would greatly appreciate any information regarding this as the compan…

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Check you are eligible for RHI before installing renewable heat

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 July 2013 at 10:10 am

Check you are eligible for RHI before installing renewable heat

The renewable heat premium payments (RHPP) for biomass boilers and heat pumps are only available for properties that are off the mains gas network. Until the announcement on the full domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) is made this summer we won't know if this will also be the case for th…

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Do solar panels have to be turned off before cleaning?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 July 2013 at 10:40 am

Do solar panels have to be turned off before cleaning?

A reader asked whether solar panels needed to be turned off for cleaning. The following answers to this question were crowd-sourced from Twitter: @YouGenUK Even if you switch off the DC isolator next to the inverter the modules are still live. Do it at night if you are worried! said Stua…

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Electric vehicles can save businesses money

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2013 at 9:09 am

Electric vehicles can save businesses money

The UK ranks 15th in Europe for uptake of electric vehicles, despite attractive financial benefits for companies, according to a recent report by the IPPR. France and Norway have bought the highest proportion of electric vehicles. The report reveals that businesses can save £3,755 over …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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