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Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 14 March 2016 at 2:30 pm

Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Solar tracking systems are devices that rotate solar panels towards the sun throughout the day or year. As solar panels generate more power when they face the sun directly this maximises solar capture and helps to minimise the space required to meet demand. The use of solar trackers is commonplac…

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Benchmark report finds retrofit SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 March 2016 at 11:10 am

Benchmark report finds retrofit SuperHomes use 40% less energy

YouGen’s sister project SuperHomes has triumphed in a recent study which found that SuperHomes use less energy than the average UK house. The main objective of the SuperHomes project is to inspire reductions in carbon emissions: a carbon saving of 60% is a requirement for a house …

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DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 March 2016 at 12:30 pm

DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

On 3 March DECC announced changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive. These are detailed below. They also launched a consultation to underpin the changes, and to contribute to a second round of changes likely to come in later in the year. Changes now: Amending the regulation which requir…

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3 reasons why RHI payments for new solar thermal look set to be scrapped

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 March 2016 at 11:15 am

3 reasons why RHI payments for new solar thermal look set to be scrapped

DECC has just launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). One of the biggest changes is the intention to remove solar thermal from the scheme. The consultation which was launched on Thursday, needs responses by 27th April 2016. It has suggested a number …

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The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 4 March 2016 at 1:30 pm

The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

I know most people thought the Green Deal was dead and buried when the government announced in July 2015 that they wouldn’t provide any more support to the Green Deal Finance Company. But there was still some support for it within DECC and some legacy projects still required some Green Deal…

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TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

Posted by Anna Carlini on 3 March 2016 at 12:40 pm

TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

The number of people renting in the UK is soaring each year, a figure which the UK charity "Shelter" says has currently reached 9 million people.[1] The number is increasing so rapidly it is thought that by 2025 more than half of under 40 year olds will be living in properties owned by …

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How do you clean solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 February 2016 at 10:05 am

How do you clean solar panels?

Whether or not you need to clean your solar panels sparks something of a debate between owners of solar panels. Most roof-mounted systems are self-cleaning as rain-water washes away the majority of the dirt that gathers on the surface. If you’re considering using commercial cleaning service…

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French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Posted by Anna Carlini on 24 February 2016 at 10:15 am

French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Work to build the world's largest solar panelled road has started in France. The plan is for the road to stretch over 1000km, supplying electricity to 5 million people or 8% of the population. The solar road will be laid with flexible Wattway PV panels which add a tiled effect. The road i…

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Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 February 2016 at 10:15 am

Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

We recently had a question about smart meter compatibility with PV installs and whether this may affect the 50% export deeming. Smart meters not compatible with self-generation seemed a little bit crazy to me, so I wanted to investigate a little bit more. At the end of 2015 overall PV cap…

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Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 February 2016 at 11:55 am

Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Q: I had PV solar fitted in September 2014, my electric and gas supplier has offered to install smart meters. I'm confused if this will be compatible between my normal electric usage & PV? Also the rule is that I get a unit price for every unit produced by PV through feed-in-tariff and I …

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Where did green energy tariffs go?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 19 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Where did green energy tariffs go?

The Big Six energy providers have been getting in a bit of trouble recently with their slow (and limited) response to the plummeting price of wholesale gas. Their failure to pass on savings has attracted criticism from consumers and MPs alike. But, amid all the anger and commotion, more than just…

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Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Posted by Anna Carlini on 17 February 2016 at 9:30 am

Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Three capacity caps were reached on the first day that new applications for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) were assessed. The new caps, which came into force 8 February, limit the number of installations eligible to receive the given FiT rate in each quarter. If the maximum is reached, unsuccessful app…

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LED lighting: should I make the change?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 February 2016 at 2:30 pm

LED lighting: should I make the change?

Firstly ask yourself what bulbs you use at home. It really is worth looking at your current lighting needs and then seeing whether you can replace your existing bulbs with LED alternatives (and when I say ‘whether you can’ I mean ‘I know you can’ – my friend has even…

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Is weather compensation worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 12 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Is weather compensation worth it?

The weather is the biggest factor in determining how much energy will be required to heat your home. The colder the weather outside, the more energy required to heat your building. The weather outside is constantly changing meaning that equal heat demand changes occur in your home. Establishing h…

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Be a climate change hero: Scottish government launch energy saving ad campaign

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 February 2016 at 10:15 am

Be a climate change hero: Scottish government launch energy saving ad campaign

A new ad campaign launched by the Scottish government has a bold motive: saving the world. The campaign encourages the nation to be superheroes in their everyday lives by making small changes to prevent climate change. The ads promote turning down the thermostat by one degree, washing clothes at …

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Roses are red, but holidays can be green

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

Roses are red, but holidays can be green

Are you craving a little time alone with your partner this Valentine's day? If you are looking for a trip which doesn’t break the bank or the environment, why not think about going on a green getaway? "Green travelling" or "Eco-tourism" is a globally growing tren…

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New Hornsea 1.2GW wind farm off Yorkshire coast will help power up to 1 million homes

Posted by Anna Carlini on 8 February 2016 at 9:50 am

New Hornsea 1.2GW wind farm off Yorkshire coast will help power up to 1 million homes

The Yorkshire coast is preparing to host the world’s largest off-shore windfarm after the deal made with Danish energy giant DONG. The project is unprecedented in size and cements the UK’s presence at the forefront of offshore technology. The present first and second largest offsh…

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Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 5 February 2016 at 10:35 am

Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Working out what you need to do to secure your Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments when sourcing your own supply of wood fuel may look daunting. Start with our flow chart below to determine what route is best to take then you can skip to the relevant section for what you need to know. …

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4.39p/kWh Feed-in Tariff rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016

Posted by Anna Carlini on 3 February 2016 at 9:35 am

4.39p/kWh Feed-in Tariff rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016

The new Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016. Any domestic solar panels installed from then onwards will receive 4.39p per kilowatt hour of renewable electricity generated. This is a 65% cut on the 12.47p it would have previously received. The new rates follow a period of a no…

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SSE to deliver 5.3% gas price cut from 29 Mar 2016

Posted by Anna Carlini on 2 February 2016 at 10:15 am

 SSE to deliver 5.3% gas price cut from 29 Mar 2016

SSE has followed in the footsteps of E.On and cut its standard gas tariff by a slightly higher 5.3%. This comes amid calls for energy giants to pass on some of the savings from the fall in price of wholesale gas which is down by 51% since the end of 2013. They claim that this cut will re…

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Cold homes persist as high energy costs and energy efficiency grant cuts bite

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 1 February 2016 at 11:40 am

Cold homes persist as high energy costs and energy efficiency grant cuts bite

This weekend, people will die of cold in their own homes, or perhaps not die of cold, but of a pre-existing medical condition which is exacerbated by living in a cold home. Finally the energy companies are beginning to reduce their fuel costs, but mostly too late for any benefit this winter. …

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What are the pros and cons of a ground-based solar PV system?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 January 2016 at 11:05 am

What are the pros and cons of a ground-based solar PV system?

The majority of the solar PV systems installed in UK communities have been roof-mounted. While this may take advantage of unused space on your property there is the option of ground-mounting your array which has its own pros and cons which I outline below. Pros of ground-mounted arrays: …

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immerSUN installation and first impressions

Posted by Jane Richardson Hawkes on 27 January 2016 at 9:40 am

immerSUN installation and first impressions



Jane Richardson Hawkes shares her first impressions of her new immerSUN unit. She recently had this installed in her home in the South East of England where she lives with her partner. This is her first report in a series of three:
 Why an immerSUN? Using as much of our PV generat…

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What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 January 2016 at 9:40 am

What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Tariff Information Labels (TILs) were introduced in 2014 by Ofgem to provide clarity to customers when they are shopping for the best energy deal. They include everything you need to know to understand the energy plan and compare costs between tariffs. The top section of the TIL has to includ…

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Are you paying too much for your energy?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 25 January 2016 at 10:45 am

Are you paying too much for your energy?

Oh, how many times have I thought about this? Back in 2012 Cathy Debenham promoted switching energy supplier. Well now there is even more reason to switch, because we are all paying TOO MUCH! It turns out that most of our energy companies are overcharging us. And there really is nothing to st…

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E.On announces 5.1% cut in gas prices

Posted by Anna Carlini on 21 January 2016 at 11:30 am

E.On announces 5.1% cut in gas prices

Energy Provider E.On has just announced a 5.1% cut in their gas prices. It is the first of the 'big six' energy providers to make cuts in the last six months. It is long-awaited news, but not everyone is greeting it with open arms. British Gas lowered their gas prices by 5% in Au…

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Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 January 2016 at 10:05 am

Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof fully or partly covered in vegetation. It is a layered system. You'll need a strong, waterproof, roots-resistant membrane at the bottom, then a growing medium like soil, then finally the vegetation on top. In some climates they also include an …

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Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 January 2016 at 10:50 am

Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Whether it’s building a house or laying the foundations for your new conservatory or for stabilising your new solar ground array there is no denying that concrete is a fantastic building material. Concrete is: Economical with readily available ingredients Long lasting and low …

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Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 15 January 2016 at 9:50 am

Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

In a word, No! ... despite the internet craze of using clay flowerpots to store and dissipate the heat energy from burning tea light candles. The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction.…

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How can you cut student energy bills?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 13 January 2016 at 10:15 am

How can you cut student energy bills?

I can honestly say I have done and still do all of these as a PhD student! Heat fewer rooms. (The living room is top priority.) Wear a hat, gloves and slippers. Keeping your hands, feet and head warm goes a long way to making you feel comfortable. Put an extra blanket on your …

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Renewable energy tops our wish list for more national infrastructure

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 January 2016 at 9:45 am

Renewable energy tops our wish list for more national infrastructure

What do we the public want from the new National Infrastructure Commission? Actually many of us want renewable energy.  A recent survey of 2,000 members of the public identified that 43% wanted renewable energy to be our investment priority for the UK , followed by 39% highlighting housebuil…

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How does a domestic micro-CHP boiler work?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 8 January 2016 at 12:15 pm

How does a domestic micro-CHP boiler work?

Micro combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) technologies generate both heat and electricity at the same time. They have a small fuel cell or heat engine which drives a generator and provides electric power and heat to a building. At a district scale, marine marine diesel engines modified to run…

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Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 6 January 2016 at 4:45 pm

Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Airbricks are hollow, vented blocks that are placed into walls to allow for air circulation in the subfloor of houses with suspended timber floor. This air circulation is designed to prevent the underfloor space becoming damp and stale. Damp problems can occur if airbricks are blocked, flooded, c…

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How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 January 2016 at 12:30 pm

How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

  Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) could be happening sooner than we had anticipated. Nissan and energy powerhouse Enel announced at the Paris climate change summit (COP21) that they have teamed up to test trial a V2G system in Denmark.[1] The V2G system will integrate electric vehicles (EVs) and th…

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What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 December 2015 at 10:40 am

What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

On Saturday 12th December 2015, as the climate conference in Paris came to a close, one day later than planned, many people sighed with relief that finally an agreement had been reached. The outcome: A commitment to aim to hold global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels …

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Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 21 December 2015 at 9:30 am

Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Santa's gone green this Christmas. Here, hot off the press, are his 7 top festive green tips: 1. People are an energy source - no not like in the Matrix! Have a party, enjoy yourself in the comfort of knowing all those extra bodies are warming your house for free. 2. Use energy effici…

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Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 18 December 2015 at 10:30 am

Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

The Renewable Heat Payment for Biomass boilers and stoves is due to reduce by 20% on 1st January 2016. This is inline with OFGEM expectations. The RHI is funded by general taxation and therefore the scheme budget is set at each Government Spending Review.  The expenditure is controlled v…

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Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

There are a number of ways to secure solar PV panels to a roof. Certified fixings, properly installed using approved tried and tested methods, will secure the panels to your roof without causing leaks. However, do ensure the installer you choose ticks all these boxes before proceeding. Installing…

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Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 3:42 pm

Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

The government has heeded the overwhelming responses against the proposed cuts to the Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. As of the 8 Feb 2016 domestic solar PV installations up to 10kW in will receive a generation tariff of 4.39 p/kWh. While this is significantly higher than the previously proposed 1…

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What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 10:30 am

What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

  What is living off-grid? In the simplest sense living off-grid is a life-style choice where you make yourself less dependent on public utilities and national infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, phone and internet lines.  Why would you want to live …

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Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 16 December 2015 at 11:15 am

Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

I stole solar panels off my neighbours’ roof this morning. It was daylight robbery.   Wind turbines. I'm a big fan.   Many scientists agree the only way to solve the planet's worsening energy crisis is for the whole world to convert to solar…

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Where do your solar PV panels come from?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Where do your solar PV panels come from?

I could ask a few more questions about this, such as ‘is it more important to you that they are cheap or that they are made in Europe?’, ‘do you worry that Chinese production will mean the closure of EU PV manufacturing plant?’, ‘are you concerned that panels which s…

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Does your home's energy efficiency influence its price and salability?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 14 December 2015 at 12:30 pm

Does your home's energy efficiency influence its price and salability?

It’s difficult to know how much energy efficiency measures or renewable energy technologies make a difference to the sale price of your home.  There is some evidence that better insulated homes or those with renewables can command more in an open market, but the facts aren’t clea…

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Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

Posted by Gordon Glass on 11 December 2015 at 3:50 pm

Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

The government has just launched a consultation related to a possible hike in VAT from 5% to 20% for a number of energy saving and renewable energy products. Any companies who supply and/or install such products into residential accommodation are invited to respond. As we wrote back in June, …

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Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 December 2015 at 2:15 pm

Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Solar panels and trees aren’t always the best of companions. Branches and leaves may cast shade over your panels reducing their efficiency. This is an interesting moral dilemma. On one hand you have the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint by switching to solar power. On the other…

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How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 9 December 2015 at 2:05 pm

How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

The amount of mass that is carbon within a tree is approximately 50%. To calculate how much CO2 this represents, times your carbon by 3.6. Now to the hard bit - WARNING - this involves maths! Calculating the amount of carbon sequested by a tree is a tricky business - the species, location and…

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One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 7 December 2015 at 10:20 am

One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Sara Rickards gives a talk as a clean, green, carbon reducing, cost-cutting machine. Aside from being really quite adorable in living in her childhood dream of being a ninja she explains how were are consuming resources 50% faster than the Earth can regenerate. If we all lived as we do in the UK …

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Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 December 2015 at 1:10 pm

Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

One of our readers recently responded to our blog on "When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?" with the following email: Dear YouGen, Regarding your article about the National Grid being unable to absorb excess power generated by renewable source…

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David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 December 2015 at 3:40 pm

David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

In a fascinating and inspiring TED (Technology, Enertainment, Design) talk David Mackay, an engineer and physicist at Cambridge University, talks us through how much space would be needed to power the entire UK as stands (with its petrol cars, gas boilers, electricity from coal etc) from renewabl…

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UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 November 2015 at 10:05 am

UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the UN climate change summit or COP 21, starts today (30 Nov 2015) in Paris. What is the aim of COP 21? The conference will bring together governments from 19…

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Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 November 2015 at 12:05 pm

Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Vehicle to grid (V2G): There are about 43,000 electric vehicles on the road in the UK and that number is set to reach one million around 2020. [1,2] With the expectation of smart meters in every home by 2020, the market looks ripe for the growth of V2G systems. A V2G system combines energy ma…

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Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 25 November 2015 at 11:05 am

Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Q. Can I move my solar panels to my new house and keep my Feed-in Tariff (FiT)? A.  No. Any PV (Photovoltaic) system under 50 kWp that is transferred to another property would be treated as “second-hand” and would not be eligible for the FiT. When a property is sold PV system…

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55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 November 2015 at 10:15 am

55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

The Government response to the Feed-In Tariff consultation is now going to be published ‘in due course’. Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State at DECC, confirmed that the consultation which was launched on 27th August and closed on 23rd October had received nearly 55,000 responses.  …

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200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 November 2015 at 11:30 am

200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Are you looking forward to the spending review on Wednesday? Do you think there will be anything positive for energy efficiency or renewables?  Many of us are thinking the opposite. The only way this can go for Climate Change, is badly. We all know that we are living in an age of austeri…

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Should I buy a solar PV system now?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 November 2015 at 2:30 pm

Should I buy a solar PV system now?

The answer is yes, absolutely, but you had better get moving.  With tariffs set to reduce or disappear altogether in the new year, you probably have until 31st December 2015 to get your system in and your application for Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) payments to your supplier. Your FiTs applicat…

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How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 November 2015 at 12:15 pm

How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

We're in Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (16 - 22 Nov 2015. Left undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas with no smell or taste. It is produced through the incomplete burning of carbon fuels... Potential…

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When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 19 November 2015 at 11:34 am

When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

The national grid is ill-equipped to deal with the intermittent supply of electricity from renewables. It was designed with energy production from fossil fuels in mind, leaving innovators and policy makers stuck with an ageing infrastructure which is costly to adapt. Of energy supply, Amber R…

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Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 November 2015 at 6:41 pm

Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

As the green energy technology market continues to grow and develop, the policies and regulation surrounding them need to evolve. The introduction of smart meters in every home could make real-time pricing for both the selling and buying of energy become an intriguing and very real possibility. I…

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Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 13 November 2015 at 12:45 pm

Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Britain is on course to miss a key renewable energy target according to Amber Rudd.  The Energy secretary has written to government colleagues to admit that we cannot meet the target and that we may incur the wrath of the EU if we don’t do more. We have a legally binding target to …

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With oil prices low, why go green?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 13 November 2015 at 11:55 am

With oil prices low, why go green?

With oil prices low, why go green? Oil prices have hovered between $50 and $70 a barrel for the past year, and have fallen a further 10% in the last week alone.  The Financial Times has reported that it expects oil markets are likely to stay oversupplied until 2020.[1,2] These decreased …

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For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 November 2015 at 3:05 pm

For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

You will have noticed that we have recently been posting quite a bit of information about Community Energy.  These are schemes which are usually Community-led and often involve off-site energy generation.  Some focus more on energy efficiency, and often those which focus on generation s…

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Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 November 2015 at 10:03 am

Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Earthship Brighton, the off-grid eco-building project, is crowdfunding to increase its impact. If successful, the fundraising will provide improved Earthship facilities, allowing the coordinators to run eco-education events and natural building courses to even greater effect. The Low Carbon T…

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Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 9 November 2015 at 10:45 am

Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

With the rising cost of energy and the ever-increasing demand, both you and your house have to get smart to keep bills down. Home energy management systems (HEMS) are devices that monitor, analyse and control energy in your home. HEMS first hit the market back 2008 and are on the rise. In Decembe…

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Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 November 2015 at 11:50 am

Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

In my previous blog I looked at the smart meter roll-out and how smart meters work. This blog will examine consumer privacy, prepayment customers and concerns with smart meters. Consumer privacy and prepayment customers You will have some control over how your energy consumption data is u…

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How smart are smart meters?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 3 November 2015 at 11:10 am

How smart are smart meters?

This autumn the official roll-out of smart meters across England, Wales and Scotland will begin, and it should be complete by 2020. Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They have in-home displays which help you keep track of the energy you use, and will cut out the …

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How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 29 October 2015 at 11:15 am

How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

A domestic electricity store (ie. lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries) could be one way to make the most of the free clean electricity that you are generating from your solar PV panels. These batteries will be familiar to you – lead-acid is often used in car batteries and lithium-ion is used…

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What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 28 October 2015 at 10:15 am

What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Conservatories give you extra living space which is filled with natural light, but so often they are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. So what do you need to know about the energy efficiency of a conservatory before you sign up for it? How energy efficient are the windows? Is …

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How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 27 October 2015 at 10:05 am

How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

If your experience of conservatories is as spaces that are freezing in winter and heat traps in summer, you might be surprised to learn that they can actually help you save energy. A well-insulated conservatory maximises solar gain by trapping heat from the sun, and that heat can then warm th…

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YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme Response on behalf of YouGen YouGen is a website which attracts over 550,000 users each year. The site provides information and advice on renewables and energy efficiency measures. It also provides a well-used recommendation service t…

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And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 October 2015 at 2:05 pm

And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

This year’s M&S Energy Community Energy Fund received over 600 registrations of interest and 246 projects were submitted. These were shortlisted to 132 projects which then went to a public vote. Over 51,000 votes were cast and the winners have now been announced. They include projec…

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Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 October 2015 at 2:02 pm

Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Up to 300,000 young people across the UK now have the opportunity to become an Energy Envoy in order to complete the Volunteering section of their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The National Energy Foundation (NEF) has recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering …

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Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

Posted by Alex Steeland on 20 October 2015 at 9:50 am

Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering scheme to help tackle the serious problem of the lack of understanding of energy issues and an inability to apply energy knowledge in practice. This blog is the second in a three-part series through which we…

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Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 19 October 2015 at 11:20 am

Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Last year the National Energy Foundation (NEF) commissioned a national energy literacy survey to find out how much the British public really knows about energy. The survey of 2,058 adults conducted by ComRes revealed troubling results and raised concerns that people think they know more about ene…

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Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Yay! Now I can buy my own home. Well not so fast, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on? Right to Buy (RTB) was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 and is now close to reaching the 2million homes mark. Defenders of the original policy will tell you how it has helped people…

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How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 October 2015 at 11:05 am

How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

I am writing this with my tongue slightly in my cheek, but I am wondering what you are going to spend your windfall on. I am sure that a rebate of any size will be welcomed by many and for some it could mean a free week or so of electricity use. However, what I really think is that £12 is n…

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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Are you one of those incensed by the current consultation to review the Feed-in Tariff? Are you unhappy that the government is back tracking on its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’? Do you think the cuts are going too far? Are you wondering why they would cut solar subsidie…

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Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

Posted by NEF Gordon on 9 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government.  The report explains that this could deliver economic benefits comparable to High Speed 2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads. The findings build on analysis from Cambr…

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Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 October 2015 at 12:15 pm

Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Climate Energy today became the second Green Deal Provider to call in the administrators within 24 hours. The company grew quickly from 2001 and at its peak employed 160 people. The number of employees had already fallen to 128, but a further 30 people were made redundant yesterday. Yesterday…

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Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2015 at 12:50 pm

Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tim Miller at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), Aston University. Here is some of what I learned. The National Grid's announcement of an increased risk of blackouts this winter has resulted in buying in additional supplies being p…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am

Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign whic…

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Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Decreased biomass RHI Biomass boilers must be popular at the moment because the biomass Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has passed another degression trigger. Degression is the process by which the government controls expenditure on the domestic RHI scheme and it involves reducing the tariffs …

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How much does solar thermal really save?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 21 September 2015 at 11:55 am

How much does solar thermal really save?

Solar thermal panels providing hot water for your domestic needs are a good way of reducing both your carbon emissions and your energy bill. Some households can use solar thermal to provide all of their hot water needs throughout the summer months. One SuperHomer manages to solely use solar heate…

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How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 September 2015 at 2:01 pm

How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

The basic theory of a heat exchange or heat recovery system is that heat from one fluid (either a liquid or a gas) is transferred to another fluid (also either a liquid or a gas) without the two fluids mixing. Q. How does a ventilation system with heat recovery work? A. For an explanation…

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Small changes for smaller energy bills

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 17 September 2015 at 4:20 pm

Small changes for smaller energy bills

With autumn fast approaching, it’s time to think about ways to help reduce those dreaded energy bills. Today, I want to share with you 10 simple changes that can offer big payoffs in the months to come. Abolish ‘stand-by’ in your house. Did you know that as much a 15% of…

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Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 16 September 2015 at 10:15 am

Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Standard ventilation, which is suitable for most houses, uses trickle vents, extractor fans, windows and a lack of airtightness. Extractor fans are located in the ‘wet’ rooms of the house, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Trickle vents in windows allow a small amount of air to move i…

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3D energy efficient house

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2015 at 10:50 am

3D energy efficient house

I just found a very attractive interactive web page with simple energy efficiency ideas for inside and outside the home. It’s interesting to see the little differences in language with this Irish site. For instance calling the airing cupboard a hot press and the loft an attic. I also fo…

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Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 September 2015 at 3:40 pm

Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

A house needs to be well ventilated for the comfort of its residents and to help care for the building. A house with poor ventilation can retain moisture and feel draughty or airless. Moisture can condense, leading to problems with damp, while inadequate air flow results in a build-up of indoor a…

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How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 September 2015 at 12:45 pm

How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Q. I would like to have more panels added to my existing system.  What do I need to know? A. There are a few things to consider, mainly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) since your last install.  Firstly the price you get per kWh has decreased substantially.  When you fir…

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Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 September 2015 at 12:20 pm

Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Would you like to see local community groups benefiting from renewable energy? If your answer is yes then why not log on to the Marks and Spencer Community Grants site and vote for a project near you.  Or perhaps vote for a project which you think is particularly inspirational.  Project…

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My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 4 September 2015 at 3:20 pm

My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Crittall is a company which produces steel framed windows and their name has become associated with metal windows in general, which are now produced by many other companies. First manufactured back in 1884, when someone says Crittall windows we know exactly what they mean. Steel and aluminium pro…

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Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

Posted by Helena Ripley on 3 September 2015 at 10:50 am

Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has started a consultation on the future of feed-in tariffs (FiTs). The government is looking at phasing out the subsidy by 2018/19 but if the scheme can’t be put on an “affordable or sustainable footing” then payments of the g…

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How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 26 August 2015 at 11:10 am

How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

A new EU Directive the ‘Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive’ will come into force on 26 September 2015. This will affect the eligibility of homeowners with heat pumps to receive payments from the renewable heat incentive (RHI) grant. This directive will set a minimum …

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Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 26 August 2015 at 11:05 am

Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Nothing beats a home cooked meal, especially when it’s made with homegrown ingredients. Growing your own food saves money, is eco-friendly, and creates produce that’s as fresh as it comes. For the green-fingered it can be an ideal eco hobby, and it’s one that more and more peopl…

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Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:45 pm

Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

The Solar Trade Association (STA) recently produced a guide to fitting solar PV on a large roof. This contains a checklist of actions needed in order to successfully install a solar PV array on a commercial building. What are the benefits of solar PV on a commercial building? Commercial b…

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Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:30 pm

Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Most people don’t get a wood burning stove for the cost benefits. Although there might be some saving in terms of money and carbon emissions, stoves are mostly attractive because they are cosy and homely. The best way to save money with a stove is to source your fuel as cheaply as possible …

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How much does a wood burning stove cost?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 August 2015 at 1:50 pm

How much does a wood burning stove cost?

A wood burning stove is a big investment: they can cost over £2000 to buy, plus a potential £1500 to install, and there is the on-going cost of fuel to consider as well. On the other hand, switching to a stove should decrease your current heating bills, so how do these costs and savin…

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What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:40 pm

What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

A stove is a good way to heat a single room when it isn’t cold enough to put the central heating on, or when you want to create a warm cosy atmosphere. But what is the best fuel to use? Before discussing the types of fuel that are available, it is worth noting that some urban areas are …

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What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

When you consider buying a wood burning stove you need to make sure you get one which is the right size for the room it will go in. Finding the right size stove is important to make the most of the fuel, providing the right amount of heat and not taking up more room than is necessary.  W…

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