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View blog posts for category: General

Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2014 at 7:50 am

Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Thinking of making your old home more energy efficient but don’t know where to begin? Then learn from someone who does. This weekend you can visit one of 180 houses across the UK whose owners have succeeded in reducing their energy consumption by at least 60 per cent. The owners of …

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Solar Energy UK celebrating its fifth year!

Posted by Gilly Jones on 9 September 2014 at 4:13 pm

Solar Energy UK celebrating its fifth year!

Now in its fifth year, Solar Energy UK will be taking place on the 14-16 October 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham. Whether you're an established solar energy installer looking to take your business up a step or a newcomer to the market, this is where you'll find the latest news, informat…

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How do I join YouGen online directory of recommended local renewables and energy efficiency installers?

Posted by Gilly Jones on 1 September 2014 at 9:01 am

How do I join YouGen online directory of recommended local renewables and energy efficiency installers?

For people looking to save and generate energy it’s not always straightforward to find a local supplier they can trust. Here at YouGen, we not only make it really easy for people to find information they need to make good decisions on renewables and energy efficient for their home or bu…

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Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 August 2014 at 8:52 am

Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Q. We have recently renovated and extended a 200-year old cottage into a 4-bed home with an air source heat pump. Prior to our moving in the property was empty for more than two years and uninhabitable.  Do we need a green deal assessment or are we classed as self builders for the p…

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Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 August 2014 at 6:41 am

Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Q. I am considering installing a biomass boiler. I have had a green deal assessment done including the energy performance certificate in preparation for claiming domestic renewable heat incentive. I'm not quite sure that the assessment of my annual energy needs (kWH) is as high as it could be…

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Win a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth £210

Posted by Gilly Jones on 13 August 2014 at 9:02 am

Win a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth £210

This competition is now closed. Winner to be announced shortly. YouGen has teamed up with Earthwise Products to give away a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth  £210. To thank you for signing up to our monthly newsletter or for liking our Facebook page before the end of August 201…

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Review of the SOLiC 200 Immersion Controller

Posted by Chris Rudge on 11 August 2014 at 9:06 am

Review of the SOLiC 200 Immersion Controller

In the quest to test as many of the current immersion heater controllers that let you use all your excess solar PV generated power, I got hold of a SOLiC 200 immersion controller to try out. My first impression was that unlike most of the other immersion controllers that are on the market, th…

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YouGen in the running for energy efficiency and renewables award

Posted by Gilly Jones on 8 August 2014 at 9:24 am

YouGen in the running for energy efficiency and renewables award

The YouGen team have all been given a boost this month after being shortlisted in the Contribution to Energy Efficiency and Renewables category at this year’s Energy Efficiency and Renewables Awards. “It’s very exciting to be shortlisted,” said Gilly Jones, MD of YouGe…

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How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 August 2014 at 8:46 am

How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

If you’re wondering how much you could earn in government incentives from a renewable heating system in your home then an answer is at hand. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched their online domestic renewable heat incentive calculator which allows you to estimate t…

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Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 1 August 2014 at 6:22 am

Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

If you’re in Wales this weekend you could do worse than pop along to the incomparable Centre for Alternative Technology’s 40th birthday carnival.  The carnival runs from 10am-5.30pm tomorrow (Saturday 2 August) and will be a great opportunity to have a look at all the work ac…

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UK community energy awards entries due in!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 July 2014 at 9:01 am

UK community energy awards entries due in!

The deadline for making a nomination to the UK Community Energy awards is tomorrow. The awards are free to enter and open to any UK-based not-for-profit organisation, group or individual working or volunteering inthe community energy sector. There are 15 different categories, such as ener…

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Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 28 July 2014 at 9:23 am

Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

The online Q&A is now closed. Massive thanks to everyone who took part. If you have any more questions about domestic RHI then please have a look at our renewable heat incentive information pages and at our renewable heat incentive: your questions answered blog. We will no longer be answering…

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Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 July 2014 at 8:54 am

Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Q. Do I need a green deal assessment to get money from the green deal home improvement fund? And if not, why bother with a green deal assessment at all? A. Here’s a funny thing – no you don’t! Among the many confusing and overlapping features of the current government&rs…

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Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 July 2014 at 10:15 am

Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Parish councils, community energy groups, charities and social landlords are among the groups being invited to bid for funding to provide energy saving advice in their local communties. The government has announced that £1m is being made available for charities and community organisatio…

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Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 July 2014 at 9:03 am

Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

As the owner of an air source heat pump who received a renewable heat premium payment grant prior to 20 May 2013, I am in the second tranche of applicants being invited to apply for the renewable heat incentive.  The date from which the group is eligible to apply – July 9, 2014 &nd…

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Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 July 2014 at 9:01 am

Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

You’ve been told that the online application for the renewable heat incentive is straightforward process, and you should expect an instant decision on the amount of money you will receive.  But with around 62 per cent of applications currently being referred to so-called manual rev…

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Why RHI rules should be changed to incentivise solar thermal stores too

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 June 2014 at 10:45 am

Why RHI  rules should be changed to incentivise solar thermal stores too

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was structured with the deliberate intention that the combination of solar thermal with other renewable heating technologies would be actively encouraged.  The thinking behind this is that solar thermal increases the average operating efficiency of…

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I want to have an off grid wedding celebration? Is it possible?

Posted by Em Weirdigan on 23 June 2014 at 10:22 am

I want to have an off grid wedding celebration? Is it possible?

Q. I am organising a wedding and I would love for it to be off-grid. Is it possible to run a sound system, fridges and field kitchens using just renewable energy? A. We've become increasingly imaginative about the celebrations and rituals that stitch our lives into such wonderful patterns…

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How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 June 2014 at 8:26 am

How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

This week the government has launched the green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF). The fund is a stash of cash (£120m to be precise) to be given in grants –that’s free money, people! – to anyone who has made eligible energy saving improvements to their home. To get th…

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Thermodynamic panels: the UK's first independent test gets underway

Posted by Tom Bradley on 4 June 2014 at 9:40 am

Thermodynamic panels: the UK's first independent test gets underway

Recently there has been an increasing discussion of a new heating technology, known as solar thermodynamic panels (or solar-assisted heat pumps). They are sometimes marketed as a “solar panel that works at night” to quote one manufacturer. Essentially they are a type of air …

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Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

Posted by Gilly Jones on 3 June 2014 at 10:40 am

Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

UPDATE: Nomination deadline extended to six pm Monday 16 June 2014. Here at YouGen we're all about promoting quality and excellence, and helping put consumers in touch with the best installers. That's why we've teamed up with Solar Power Portal Awards 2014 to support the Installer…

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What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

Posted by Andrew Warner on 2 June 2014 at 9:45 am

What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

If you are a small business owner looking to install renewable technologies and cut your energy costs, I don’t envy you! In my work I see dozens of small business owners every month and the problems they complain about are all the same. Technology by its very nature is complex and …

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Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 May 2014 at 9:08 am

Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

It’s five am and 75 cows are jostling their way into the milking shed at Stewart Watson’s dairy farm in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The mooing and stomping of the cattle as they funnel into their stalls is a familiar sound in this part of Ireland where multiple dairy farms ch…

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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 May 2014 at 10:46 am

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Producers and suppliers of biomass woodfuel are being urged to register their business on the government’s newly launched biomass suppliers list (BSL).  From October 2014, only fuel bought from a registered supplier can be used in biomass boilers, if their owners wish to claim the …

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Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 May 2014 at 9:50 am

Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

You've had a heat pump installed (prior to the launch of the RHI), you've had your green deal assessment, you've got your MCS certificate and you're poised to apply for the government's newly-launched renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme. But hold on - what's thi…

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Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 May 2014 at 10:40 am

Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Green deal installers and providers are being invited to register to be able to offer new cash incentives to their customers. The government’s newly announced green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF) offers homeowners grants of up to £6,000 for solid wall insulation and/or up to &…

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Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 May 2014 at 8:29 am

Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Households in England and Wales will be given up to £7,600 each to install solid wall insulation, double glazing and new boilers in another move designed to prop up the flagging green deal. The government’s green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF), which opens in June, will offer …

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Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 April 2014 at 1:07 pm

Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

If you’re getting a green deal assessment for the purposes of claiming government incentives for your renewable heat system, make sure you have the minimum levels of insulation required first. Unless you’re planning to use a green deal loan to fund the work, or hoping you might qu…

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Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 April 2014 at 9:22 am

Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

It’s one of those crisp blue early spring days that are made for being outside. But Mike Meyerstein is inside doing the hoovering. To misuse a well-known phrase, Mike is making solar pay while the sun shines (sorry). Such is the life of a solar electricity generator. As drawbacks to…

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Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 April 2014 at 1:14 pm

Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

This blog was originally published on 21 September 2012, substantially updated on 25 July 2013, and updated again on 9 & 19 December 2013 and 10 April 2014 and 10 November 2014 and 5 March 2015. We hosted a live online Q&A with the Department of Environment and Climate Change on 28 Ju…

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How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 2:20 pm

How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Now the domestic renewable heat incentive is finally live, anyone with an eligible installation will be champing at the bit to get started. To apply, you need three pieces of documentation: Your MCS certificate (supplied by your installer at the time of commissioning); Your green deal…

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 9:10 am

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

The government has a new ally in the battle to increase uptake of the foundering green deal: local authorities. Greg Barker has just announced the winners of the bid for a share of the £88m set aside for their so-called green deal communities scheme.  The scheme will give …

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 31 March 2014 at 8:24 am

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen knows how temperatures can soar. Throwing open the windows and sticking on the fans is the obvious solution. But now an innovative new technology has been developed which harnesses the heat kicked out by stoves and fridges to heat water. …

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I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 March 2014 at 8:41 am

I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Q. My mother is an 87-year old who lives by herself in her own home and is in receipt of pension credit. Her home is run on electricity and she has three storage heaters. One of these broke a while ago and last week the one in the front room broke. She now has just one working heater wh…

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Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 March 2014 at 9:13 am

Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Radiators or underfloor heating? That has been the traditional question asked among those considering installing an air or ground source heat pump. But should we consider a new contender on the market? A study in Sweden has found that heated skirting boards are significantly more effectiv…

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How to get your ideal solar PV system

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 March 2014 at 10:50 am

How to get your ideal solar PV system

The decision to install solar PV panels can be motivated by a number of factors. Whether you’ve had enough of the Big Six et al constantly upping their prices and want a bit of stability or decided that the interest rates on offer from your banks aren't as good as those from solar, ever…

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What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 March 2014 at 8:31 am

What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Q. I have recently bought and moved into a new house. The house was built seven years ago and the energy performance certificate (EPC) dates from 2009. It states approximate bills of £128 lighting, £43 heating and £117 hot water. I thought this was a good guide taking …

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Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 March 2014 at 2:25 pm

Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Test drive a green car, quiz a renewable energy installer and find out about the renewable heat incentive direct from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem. These are just some of the treats on offer at the south west's largest energy efficiency and renewable energy show. …

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Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 March 2014 at 8:48 am

Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Q. I had a 4kWp solar panel system installed on my roof last October and on the face of it, it seems to be working really well. I have the owl intuition system installed and can monitor my system’s output online. What I would like to do now is to compare this output with what I should be ge…

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The slow progress of the domestic RHI: a rough timetable

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 March 2014 at 4:01 pm

Lots of us were hoping that the domestic RHI would go live on 1 April this year. Sadly, that doesn't look possible now. The good news is that I understand that department for environment and climate change (DECC) officials are still confident that it will launch in spring (real spring that is…

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How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 March 2014 at 8:47 am

How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Demonstrating your expertise and establishing trust with potential customers is always good for sales, but how do you do it? As all renewable energy installers in the domestic and small scale markets must be MCS accredited, it's no good for helping you stand out from the crowd. Testimonials f…

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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 March 2014 at 8:42 am

Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Q: I have a new red 24 pellet burner. I use one 15kg recyclable plastic bag per day. I live in Flintshire and the authority will not allow collection of plastic recyclables. They suggested I put them in ordinary refuse for landfill! They even said I could drive 12 miles to a skip site. What to do…

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Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 March 2014 at 11:36 am

Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

PEOPLE on low incomes will still be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation under the government’s proposed changes to the energy company obligation (ECO), announced this week. However, it will be harder for those not on low incomes who live in solid-walled or hard to treat ho…

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How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 March 2014 at 10:46 am

How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Q I am considering creating a new hydropower scheme. Can you please explain how to calculate the feed-in tariff for a small hydropower project? A Under the government’s new community energy strategy, greater financial incentives have become available for groups looking to generate power…

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Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 March 2014 at 8:34 am

Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Hot air rises. Galileo knew it. We know it. And staff at a Dorset soap factory certainly knew it when they shivered in their boots at work each day. That was until someone thought to install a destratification fan which recirculates the warm air that collects at the ceiling, pushing it ba…

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Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Posted by Gilly Jones on 17 February 2014 at 9:21 am

Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Our inbox here at YouGen has made it pretty clear to us that many of you would like to make your homes warmer, cosier and cheaper to run, but just don’t know where to start, or that you have taken the first steps but aren’t sure what should do next. Well, help is at hand. We have …

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Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 February 2014 at 12:10 pm

Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

An abattoir looking for a biogas plant to take away 10 tonnes of sheep guts a week; a willow coppice ready for harvesting; and someone looking for a source of waste heat to warm some greenhouses. These are just a few of the posts that have appeared on the online networking platform, the Renew…

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Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 February 2014 at 3:24 pm

Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Solar panel installers have a two-year window in which to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the government incentives for installations. At least that’s the message from one of the country’s leading solar experts and government advisor on solar energy. Speaking at the Sol…

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There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2014 at 9:01 am

There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Q: We installed a ground source heat pump about 4 years ago and have been waiting to claim RHI to help pay for the cost. We now may have to sell our house before we can claim, and certainly before the full payment has been made. It seems wrong that the benefit passes to the new owner when we…

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Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

The government’s new community energy strategy has been given a lukewarm welcome by groups who have already developed their own community energy schemes. Kevin Frea, part of the Halton Lune community hydro project and a director of LESS CIC, an energy saving community interest…

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