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How should I season and store wood for my stove?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 26 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

How should I season and store wood for my stove?

What are the aims of wood storage and why it is so important? I spoke to Stewart McIlroy, SuperHomer and wood stove owner about his advice for wood storage. Stewart says that the main aim of storing wood is to ‘season’ it. Newly chopped wood contains a high percentage of water whi…

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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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Heat pump tumble dryers: Eco-friendly or not?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 October 2016 at 9:45 am

Heat pump tumble dryers: Eco-friendly or not?

It is no secret that tumble dryers are not especially environmentally friendly. They use quite a lot of energy and are certainly less energy efficient than hanging your washing out to dry. Several types of dryer claim to be more environmentally friendly. In particular heat pump tumble dryers …

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Will energy scavenging be the next big thing? Let's stomp!

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 October 2016 at 1:05 pm

Will energy scavenging be the next big thing? Let's stomp!

The field of “energy scavenging” or “harvesting” is all about capturing the small amounts of energy that are constantly going to waste [1, 2]. Most tasks produce excess heat, light, vibrations and movement, which mostly goes to waste. A variety of innovative technologies h…

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Draught proofing - how much could you save?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 October 2016 at 1:40 pm

Draught proofing - how much could you save?

Leaky buildings cost a lot of energy. Draughts allow hot air to escape from even the best insulated houses, and can be uncomfortable for those inside. Historic England report that older buildings lose 15-20% of their heat through draughts [1]. Fortunately this can be solved by draught proofing, w…

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Are sunpipes the solution to dark rooms and stairwells?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 October 2016 at 10:30 am

Are sunpipes the solution to dark rooms and stairwells?

Sunpipes are cylindrical tubes which channel natural sunlight from a transparent dome on the roof to bring it to areas that wouldn’t otherwise get natural light. Many of us have dark stairwells and rooms that get little sunlight in our homes. Sunpipes (sometimes called solarpipes) are a low…

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How easy is it to get a new electricity meter installed?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2016 at 4:40 pm

How easy is it to get a new electricity meter installed?

That was another saga. Firstly the letter they sent to say that my meter may be faulty gave the contact details of a third party that they had commissioned to do their meter installs. I emailed and asked for some more info. How long would the install take? Did I really need to be at home, as the …

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Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Wind energy is often criticised for being unreliable. However, there is almost always wind blowing in the UK - it's just a little higher up than we currently reach. High above the friction with the ground, high altitude winds are stronger and much more stable than those close to gro…

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How far can motion sensors save energy used for lighting?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 30 September 2016 at 12:45 pm

How far can motion sensors save energy used for lighting?

It is well known that switching off unused lights can save a large amount of energy. Around three percent of home energy usage comes from lighting [1]. While energy use can thus be reduced by switching to energy efficient light bulbs, there is no substitute for ensuring that lights are switc…

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Why is energy storage difficult?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 27 September 2016 at 12:25 pm

Why is energy storage difficult?

Our ability to generate renewable energy is increasing all of the time. It provides a great, green supplement to conventional power generation technologies. However if renewables are to one day stand on their own then there is an important issue that needs to be considered; Energy Storage. So…

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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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Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 September 2016 at 5:05 pm

Why can I not get both RHI and FiTs?

Question: Our new custom built house will have a new air source heat pump & solar thermal. Assuming we use an accredited supplier etc we think we may be eligible for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme payments for these. However according to the Ofgem Domestic RHI Reference document (page …

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Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2016 at 3:45 pm

Heating in self-build and privately commissioned new homes is eligible for renewable heat incentive

We all know that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is designed to encourage the retrofit of renewable heat (RH) technologies into existing properties. However, there is a clever little exception which will help more RH technologies to be installed and it relates to new build. Generally new b…

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There is magic to the fabric: going all out with insulation

Posted by NEF Gabby on 13 September 2016 at 9:55 am

There is magic to the fabric: going all out with insulation

As summer fades into the distant past we all know that the cold months of the year will soon be upon us, but turning up the heating isn’t the only action you can take to keep warm at home this winter. In a recent interview with SuperHome owner Ian Mawditt, he told us how he took a fabric-fi…

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How can smart controls help you get more out of a SuperHome?

Posted by NEF Gabby on 9 September 2016 at 2:50 pm

How can smart controls help you get more out of a SuperHome?

As technology forms an increasingly central part of our lives, more of us are considering how we can use it to exercise more control of our homes. Chris and Lucy Ronketti are already ahead of the game, and thinking ‘smart controls’ in their SuperHome. Smart heating control Chri…

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How creative can you get with rainwater harvesting?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 7 September 2016 at 9:40 am

How creative can you get with rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater harvesting doesn’t have to start and end with installing a water butt at the end of a drainpipe so you can water your garden. We interviewed Adrian Pickering to find out more about the creative ways he is collecting and reusing rainwater in his home and how you can get started on …

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Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 6 September 2016 at 12:45 pm

Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Roof mounted solar panels are an increasingly common site on buildings across the UK. Most of these systems are attached to the roof by means of a frame. However many people would prefer that solar panels were integrated seamlessly into their house’s design.  The solution is the roof i…

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