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Could home refurbishment be the key to a comfortable retirement?

Posted by Richard Vale on 29 July 2016 at 2:50 pm

Could home refurbishment be the key to a comfortable retirement?

As a generation of baby boomers look towards retirement, new thoughts and concerns begin to fill their minds. One consideration that should not be missed is the need to keep warm, healthy and comfortable at home. Keeping out the cold, or rather, keeping in the heat, has been at the forefront …

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How long do solar PV panels last?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 26 July 2016 at 5:05 pm

How long do solar PV panels last?

It can take years for a solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) array to “pay back” its installation cost, so you want the panels to last as long as possible. So just how long do solar panels last? And how does their efficiency decrease across their lifetime? The aging of solar cells can be…

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June 2016 the hottest on record - climate change calls for action

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 July 2016 at 2:08 pm

June 2016 the hottest on record - climate change calls for action

The Climate is changing and we need to do something about it. There have been horror stories all over the media this week about raising global temperatures, with records falling like dominos. January  2016 – hottest on record February  2016 – hottest on rec…

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Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 July 2016 at 1:40 pm

Community Energy Fortnight 2016 will spotlight September events

Are you involved in community energy? Would you like to be? Or perhaps you would just like to find out more about it. The fourth Community Energy Fortnight is happening somewhere near you from 3 -18 September. There are already some pretty exciting events planned across the country, from a fe…

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How do fuel cells work?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 18 July 2016 at 11:05 am

How do fuel cells work?

In some circles micro-fuel cells are being heralded as the future of clean energy, so today we are going to look at how fuel cells work. But let’s start at the beginning – what is a fuel cell? What is a fuel cell? A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemica…

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Goodbye DECC! Closure announced within hours of new PM taking office

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 July 2016 at 2:05 pm

Goodbye DECC! Closure announced within hours of new PM taking office

I don’t want to say it’s a bad thing yet, I would like to give it a chance, but it seems that the general opinion is that it is pretty ‘shocking’ ‘stupid’ and ‘backwards’.  Theresa May, our new prime minister, within hours of taking office, has…

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Energy price comparison sites may now just show deals earning them commission

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 13 July 2016 at 2:35 pm

Energy price comparison sites may now just show deals earning them commission

Thanks to a recent ruling of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) you are going to find it harder to find a cheaper fuel supplier using a price comparison website. Until the release of the report on 24th June 2016 all price comparison sites had to show all the deals available. This include…

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Should we bring back window shutters?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 11 July 2016 at 12:05 pm

Should we bring back window shutters?

If you had walked down the street in the middle of the nineteenth century window shutters would have been a common sight. In the days before double glazing they are an important way of cutting heat loss through windows. These days’ shutters are rarely fitted. Windows are much better at keep…

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5 tips to save energy when renting

Posted by Anna Carlini on 5 July 2016 at 10:40 am

5 tips to save energy when renting

The UK is currently going through a boom in renting. Many families, couples and young people may never own their own home, but privately rent from landlords. Young people are so unlikely to have their own property that they are now being called "Generation Rent". Whilst renting it is ve…

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Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 July 2016 at 10:15 am

Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

There is a new way of transporting data on the horizon and it's Li-Fi (Light-Fidelity). Boasting speeds 100x quicker than traditional Wi-Fi connections, Li-Fi has a theoretical top speed of 224 Gbps. To put that in perspective it means you could download 10 DVD quality movies, 1600 songs and …

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Will floating solar PV catch on?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 29 June 2016 at 11:05 am

Will floating solar PV catch on?

Large scale solar installations can generate large quantities of green energy for use in industry. However the question of where these power plants should be constructed can be a hot topic. Floating solar panels are becoming increasingly popular, with a large number of new projects being built ar…

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What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 27 June 2016 at 10:15 am

What will Brexit mean for UK renewables and energy efficiency?

Now that we have all a little time to digest the shocking news from Friday, I thought I would put forward some more constructive views on Brexit and what it could mean to the UK renewables and energy efficiency markets. During the campaigning the EU was often cited as the reason for our progr…

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Have energy price comparison sites breached the Competition Act?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 June 2016 at 11:05 am

Have energy price comparison sites breached the Competition Act?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been asked to investigate a suspected breach of competition law by some price comparison websites which offer energy tariff comparisons. This breach related to paid for online search advertising. An investigation was first initiated by Ofgem, bu…

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How green is nuclear?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 June 2016 at 5:30 pm

How green is nuclear?

It turns out that green can be a tricky colour to define. For many of us, it means sustainable, clean and good for the planet.  So, is nuclear energy harmful to the planet or is it in fact a good, “green” option? In a way, it is both. Against Nuclear We are often…

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Is my garden windy enough for a wind turbine?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 June 2016 at 10:05 am

Is my garden windy enough for a wind turbine?

Generating energy from a wind turbine seems like a great way to save on your energy bills. But how windy does your area need to be in order for a turbine to be viable? How do you measure wind speed and which are the windiest parts of the UK? We have a long history of using wind turbines to po…

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Share Solar offers cashback to early adopters of solar PV and Feed-in Tariff

Posted by Alex Barrett on 17 June 2016 at 12:05 pm

Share Solar offers cashback to early adopters of solar PV and Feed-in Tariff

“Share Solar” is a new scheme from Abundance, a company that promotes itself as an “ethical investment platform”. They are offering a cashback scheme for early adopters of solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) technology. The investment company will buy the rights to the Feed-in T…

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Greenwashing - how do you spot and avoid green fakery?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 15 June 2016 at 11:50 am

Greenwashing - how do you spot and avoid green fakery?

Beware green fakery! It is common to see a company, government or other group promote environmental initiatives. But how many of them actually subscribe to such environmentally friendly values? Many companies spout green rhetoric, but their actual business practices are counter to the claims …

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Ten Tips for energy efficient cooking

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 June 2016 at 11:10 am

Ten Tips for energy efficient cooking

Cooking uses a lot of energy. Uswitch report that “The cost of cooking accounts for about 4% of the average gas and electricity bill.” Other estimates can be even higher. Luckily there are a lot of things we can do to reduce energy use in the kitchen. Here are our ten tips for energy …

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Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 June 2016 at 4:05 pm

Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

When you invest in solar panels, you want to know that you will be getting a good deal. Most installers deal reputably with their customers, but there will always be a few who do not. Sometimes a company might not be reliable, other times the deal they offer might actually be a con. Three fra…

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UK domestic wood use survey notes higher use in Northern Ireland

Posted by Alex Barrett on 8 June 2016 at 10:10 am

UK domestic wood use survey notes higher use in Northern Ireland

Biomass provides a larger share of UK energy than previously thought. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published the results of their domestic wood use survey. This was conducted in 2014 and aimed to determine how many households were using wood as fuel, and thus “…

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Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2016 at 1:55 pm

Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Ofgem has published an updated set of guidelines for schools and community organisations applying for the renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT). There have been a variety of changes to this scheme over the last few years, so this document sets out the current procedure for these organisations…

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Reforming the business energy tax landscape

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 June 2016 at 9:30 am

Reforming the business energy tax landscape

In the summer budget of 2015 the government announced a review to examine the energy efficiency taxes currently levied on businesses. The proposed changes were centred on streamlining the various taxes related to energy efficiency and climate change. Different businesses had previously been subje…

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Retrofit Pattern Book shares details it's vital we get right

Posted by Anna Carlini on 27 May 2016 at 11:50 am

Retrofit Pattern Book shares details it's vital we get right

The Retrofit Pattern Book is bringing tried and tested retrofit techniques out into the open. An online, open-source site for technical information, it is designed as a platform for designers and manufacturers to show their best practical detail to others. I had a phone call with Charlie Baker of…

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How do energy suppliers compare for green energy generated?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 May 2016 at 1:45 pm

How do energy suppliers compare for green energy generated?

Q. I am keen to switch energy providers but the one I favour says it cannot tell me how much of its energy is generated from green sources. This is an important criterion for me and I am a little suspicious of this company's supposed ignorance. Is there a definitive information source that st…

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Portugal runs entirely on renewable electricity for four days!

Posted by Alex Barrett on 23 May 2016 at 11:45 am

Portugal runs entirely on renewable electricity for four days!

May of 2016 has been a great month for renewable energy. For 107 hours last week all of Portugal’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources [1, 2]. This announcement comes just after the news that Germany met almost all of its electricity demand from renewables for a day, and that th…

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Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 May 2016 at 11:55 am

Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

The main limitation of renewable energy technologies is their intermittency. At some times they produce more than enough energy to serve our needs, but this is very dependent on conditions of weather and light which are out of our control. These periods of intense energy production do not always …

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Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

Posted by Alex Barrett on 17 May 2016 at 11:05 am

Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

The government has succeeded in scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes policy, despite opposition in the House of Lords. Last week we reported on the attempt by the lords to reinstate some of the zero carbon homes measures in an amendment to the housing and planning bill. This sparked additional deb…

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Electricity from cheese via biogas

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 May 2016 at 10:05 am

Electricity from cheese via biogas

A new power plant has recently opened in the Lake District, which will generate electricity from cheese. The installation has been built at the Lake District creamery, it will take waste material from cheese production, and use it to generate biogas through the process of anaerobic digestion. The…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 11 May 2016 at 3:05 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 May 2016 at 12:40 pm

Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Would you like your home transformed into a net-zero energy house, generating its own energy, all retrofit in less than a week and at no upfront cost to yourself? Well Energiesprong may become the answer to your prayers. What is Energiesprong?  Energysprong, meaning “energy lea…

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House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2016 at 2:05 pm

House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

In July of 2015 the government controversially scrapped planned building regulations that would have made all new houses “zero carbon” from 2016. Now there may be hope for zero carbon homes after all, as the House of Lords has moved to block the bill. The government set out to rel…

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Can we make wind turbines more sensitive to bats?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 4 May 2016 at 12:15 pm

Can we make wind turbines more sensitive to bats?

A well-known downside of wind turbines is that they pose a small risk to our airborne wildlife: birds and bats. Over the years, many voices have protested against turbine constructions because of this fear. We need to reduce our impact on the habitats of rare species. So should we avoid putting w…

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M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 3 May 2016 at 12:10 pm

M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

The Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund has reopened for a second year. This scheme is intended to fund community energy projects across the UK. £350,000 will be split between a variety of renewable energy projects in different regions of the UK. The fund is open to not for profit organ…

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Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 April 2016 at 1:35 pm

Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

The National Infrastructure Commission has recently completed a study into the UK’s energy sector. The Smart Power report, published in March 2016 sets out a series of recommendations to replace aging UK infrastructure with “smart technologies” aimed at balancing supply and dema…

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Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

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

Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

The amount of energy which the UK generates from renewable sources is growing. Government figures suggest that in 2015 renewable sources contributed 17.8 TWh, 23.5 % of total UK generation [1]. However there are some countries which are well ahead of the UK when it comes to producing renewable en…

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How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 April 2016 at 10:30 am

How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

I know what you are thinking, ‘what’s the point’, but calculating your baseload is the first step to monitoring our energy use. It can also expose inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your use. For example, it isn’t unheard of for people to find that they are paying for…

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How green are solar panels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 25 April 2016 at 12:05 pm

How green are solar panels?

Renewable energy is an important tool to build a more sustainable future, and solar power is central to our green energy arsenal. But can anything be truly green? What impacts do solar panels have on our environment? And what are the costs of manufacturing these devices? First things first, i…

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Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 April 2016 at 8:10 pm

Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

An ambitious project is underway to test the limits of solar powered transportation. The aim of the Solar Impulse project is fairly straightforward: Circumnavigate the Earth in a plane powered only by solar power. Completing that goal has required an astounding feat of engineering. The Solar …

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Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 April 2016 at 12:45 pm

Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

More and more installers are receiving interest in incorporating battery storage into packages with solar PV systems. Following the recent cuts to the solar PV Feed-in Tariff (FiT), the previously niche area of battery storage has become a popular option for consumers looking to use more of the p…

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National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

Posted by Alex Barrett on 21 April 2016 at 11:40 am

National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

The Green Deal was set up to encourage homeowners to install green technologies and energy saving measures. The scheme was launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2012 and provided loans to fund the installation of green measures. These were then paid off using the energy bills…

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Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 April 2016 at 10:15 am

Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

One of the interesting changes to come out of the government’s recent amendments to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, is the change to occupancy regulations for new build properties. Previously it has been the case that any property that has not been occupied for 183 days durin…

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Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 April 2016 at 10:20 am

Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

What if we could put solar panels everywhere in the form of solar wallpaper? At the moment installing solar photovoltaics (Solar PV) requires carefully positioning the solar panels to get as much sunlight as possible. Tracking systems can be set up so that the panels follow the path of the su…

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Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Posted by Anna Carlini on 15 April 2016 at 4:45 pm

Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Al Gore gives an uplifting and inspiring TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk to answer his own three questions:   Do we have to change in the face of climate change? Can we change? Will we change?  The former Vice President of the US and No…

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Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 April 2016 at 3:30 pm

Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

New government spending cuts will impact two organisations working to promote sustainable logging, and the reduction on CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations. The current government has a bad track record on sustainability. They have removed support for onshore wind farms, reduced subsidie…

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Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 12 April 2016 at 9:30 am

Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Empower Energy, a UK based installer of Solar panels and YouGen member, is running a competition to win a Tesla Powerwall battery. The competition is open to people anywhere in the UK, but entrants do need to already have a Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) system installed on their property. The…

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Only one quarter of goods sold online have correct energy labels

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 April 2016 at 10:20 am

Only one quarter of goods sold online have correct energy labels

A recent study found that just one quarter of products sold and bought online in the UK had correct energy labels. One in five were not labelled at all. Therefore, despite a consumer’s best efforts, they may not be getting the deal they expect. Energy performance ratings are important i…

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Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 8 April 2016 at 4:30 pm

Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

A number of changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive have come into effect.  On 3 March the department of energy and climate change announced changes already made and launched a consultation to evaluate further changes to the scheme [1]. As of 1 April the first round of changes have come into…

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The architect's crystal ball: 2016 a year when wind turbines will be out and solar panels in!

Posted by Anna Carlini on 7 April 2016 at 2:15 pm

 The architect's crystal ball: 2016 a year when wind turbines will be out and solar panels in!

Sustainability is hot right now in the world of architecture and is expected to only increase in popularity. The RIBA Future Housing Design Trends survey gives architects' predictions for 2016 as well as comparing demand for various home features in 2015 with that of 5 years ago. It…

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Zero Carbon Hub closed down

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 April 2016 at 12:30 pm

Zero Carbon Hub closed down

The Zero Carbon Hub has ceased operation as of the 31 March 2016. Industry funding for the organisation was withdrawn after the government decided to abandon targets on zero carbon housing last year. A statement from the zero carbon hub has now announced that the organisation has ceased opera…

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A message from the sun

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 1 April 2016 at 11:25 am

A message from the sun

Here at YouGen we are no stranger to recording our Solar PV data. Each day we like to record our daily kWp. Nothing stood out as unusual until we noticed the centre value of last month... Thinking that 6.66 was strangely close to 666 (aka the number of the beast), we decided to do a litt…

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