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Optimising solar pv siting

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 28 January 2009 at 8:34 am

Optimising solar pv siting

It’s obvious that solar PV systems need as much sunlight as possible – so the ideal is to position them at about 37 degrees to the horizontal (in the UK) and facing due South. Even better, if you can afford one, are tracker systems that ensure the modules follow the sun through the sky – altho…

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How much do you spend on heat and power?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 January 2009 at 10:42 am

How much do you spend on heat and power?

Gas and electricity bills gobble up a significant chunk of income for most of us, but do you know how much you're spending week to week? I didn't, until a few months ago, when I discovered imeasure. By just putting a weekly reading into the site, I can find out how much I spent last week on gas…

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It never rains, it pours

Posted by Barry Nutley on 22 January 2009 at 8:54 am

It never rains, it pours

Rainwater harvesting was the focus of my last blog. Today I want to get you thinking about water, and what it means for us in the UK. Keen gardeners and allotment owners, are well aware of the issues with water. While a good bit of rain is great, a torrid downpour isn't. As an allotmenteer …

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Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2009 at 9:07 am

Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Large scale use of renewables are part of the Conservative party's plans for a low carbon economy published last week. With a feed-in tariff, they hope homes, businesses, schools and hospitals will contribute the electricity they produce into the national grid, earning money in the process. To m…

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Urban micro-wind doesn't work say new trials

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 19 January 2009 at 2:14 pm

Urban micro-wind doesn't work say new trials

Urban micro-wind doesn’t work in almost all urban contexts and has, on the whole, been poorly deployed and sold for the best part of the last three years. These are two of the objective facts set out in the report of the Encraft Warwick Wind Trials. On publishing the final report into urban m…

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Renewable energy grants still available

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2009 at 9:23 am

Renewable energy grants still available

Homeowners who want to install energy generating equipment such as solar panels, wind turbines or biomass boilers will be able to apply for grants until June 2010. It is anticipated that a feed-in tariff should be in place by then, which will incentivise homeowners and communities to invest in micro…

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Monbiot launches war on Agas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2009 at 10:34 am

Monbiot launches war on Agas

Agas are the antithesis of energy efficiency and renewable energy, so when I heard on the Today programme this morning that George Monbiot has launched a war on Agas in today's Guardian a lightbulb pinged on. Why didn't I use Agas as the ultimate example of the heart winning over head in yester…

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Bring some heart into renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 January 2009 at 4:31 pm

Bring some heart into renewable energy

I’m fascinated by the psychology of how we spend money. Is it our heads or our hearts that rule? While we probably like to think of ourselves as rational, logical human beings – and we even sometimes spend lots of time researching things to back up our beliefs – my feeling is that the he…

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Solar panels are flexible and easy

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 9 January 2009 at 8:35 am

Solar panels are flexible and easy

Solar PV (photovoltaic) is a great technology because it is so flexible and easy to manage. In most cases, once you have fitted it and connected to the grid you can forget about it, and watch your carbon emissions and energy costs fall and stay down for the next 25 years or so. One of the many p…

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Wind power: accessible yet frustrating

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 8 January 2009 at 1:57 pm

Wind power: accessible yet frustrating

Wind power is one of the most accessible and yet frustrating renewable technologies. It is accessible because it’s relatively easy to install, cheaper than many other renewables at small scale; you can buy it at any size from laptop to leviathan; it produces electricity – which is a very fl…

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Rainwater harvesting: isn't it just a large water butt?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 8 January 2009 at 11:40 am

Rainwater harvesting: isn't it just a large water butt?

For many people, the idea of collecting rainwater, doesn't seem as sexy as, say, solar, and I know from personal experience, it's not a conversation for a first date. But it is just as important as solar and other renewable energy technologies. For my first blog, rather than write an essay on ra…

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Microgeneration makes you feel good

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2009 at 10:55 am

Microgeneration makes you feel good

What makes you feel good? For me, the sun is one of many things. When it pops it's head out on a cloudy day life just perks up. When it streams through my office window on a winter's afternoon, not only am I warmer, but I feel better, and I think I get more done. Watching it light up the hills as i…

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Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 January 2009 at 4:21 pm

Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Part of the difficulty of encouraging people to invest in low-carbon living is the difficulty of imagining what it will be like. Too much of the media coverage paints a picture of deprivation and hair shirts, leaving us shivering at the thought, and tempted to stick our heads in the sand. Now a…

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Insulating every home relatively cheap says Stern

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 December 2008 at 12:26 pm

Insulating every home relatively cheap says Stern

Insulating every home in the UK would be relatively cheap compared to what the Government has spent shoring up the banking system, according to Lord Stern. In a festive change to the normal BBC Radio 4's Today programme agenda of haranguing politicians, guest editor Jarvis Cocker took a look at how …

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Government fails to lead on energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 December 2008 at 2:36 pm

Energy efficiency is the main way that we can cut carbon emissions fast (also saving us money while we stay cosy and warm). So it's a big disappointment to read in this morning's Guardian that, despite the government's ambitious plans and positive rhetoric, energy efficiency in public buildings is d…

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Five ways to recognise a solar shark ... and make sure they don't eat you

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2008 at 10:51 am

Five ways to recognise a solar shark ... and make sure they don't eat you

It used to be double glazing that was renowned for dodgy salesman. Now some of the techniques they used are being kept alive by companies selling solar thermal panels, heat pumps and wind turbines. The BBC and the Mail on Sunday are just two of the media who have been watching out for fins. T…

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Getting the best out of solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2008 at 4:20 pm

Get a few people with solar panels together (as happened this weekend) and inevitably there's discussion about how to get the most out of your solar thermal system. This is probably because the amount of hot water generated by solar thermal systems is dependent on how we use the system (as was confi…

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How much of my hot water can I get from the sun?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 13 December 2008 at 9:01 am

Have you ever wondered how much energy falls on your roof each year? Well probably not, but it is really quite interesting. The average UK house with a south facing roof of 30m² will be exposed to around 30,000KwH of the sun’s radiation every year. When you compare that to the amou…

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Welcome to YouGen

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2008 at 5:29 pm

This is a great week for YouGen to go live, as renewable energy is high on the international agenda. On Tuesday EU leaders agreed that a fifth of Europe’s energy mix should come from renewable sources by 2020. Politicians and green campaigners alike welcomed the decision (“a ray of hope admidst …

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Why you don’t want biomass!

Posted by Gordon Traill on 11 December 2008 at 9:51 am

Well this is my first attempt at writing a blog, so please be patient and don’t expect too high a standard. To start with I find the term ‘expert’ slightly inappropriate. However, as I’ve been involved with TRECO from its inception I have become aware of many pitfalls whic…

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