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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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Increase in VAT on energy saving products postponed

Posted by Alex Barrett on 31 March 2016 at 10:40 am

Increase in VAT on energy saving products postponed

Amendments to the 2016 budget have removed controversial increases in the rate at which a variety of energy saving measures including solar panel installation are taxed [1, 2]. A variety of energy saving measures have long benefited from lower rates of VAT, being taxed at five percent, rather…

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Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 March 2016 at 12:55 pm

Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Battery storage bolt-on options for existing renewable energy generation systems are now becoming the next 'must have' for people looking to either reduce their energy bills or increase their energy security at times of power cuts. I have been providing different types of battery syst…

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How do solar panels work?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 March 2016 at 10:30 am

How do solar panels work?

TED-Ed have uploaded a fantastic video explaining the science behind solar panels as part of a TED lesson on solar by Dr Richard Komp. The video explains how solar panels work, what their limitations are and how they can be improved in the future. Definitely one of the better explanations on how …

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'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Posted by David Dean on 24 March 2016 at 12:05 pm

'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Recently, my energy supplier contacted me to remind me that my contract was coming to an end. Rather helpfully, they clearly laid out the various alternatives that were available to me: • Sign up to the new, cheaper deal they were offering – providing me with a saving of £89 …

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Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 23 March 2016 at 10:30 am

Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Santa Coloma de Gramenet cemetery, just outside Barcelona in Spain, brings a new environmentally friendly option to the table. Having installed 462 solar panels on top of their mausoleums they generate enough electricity to power 60 homes. It has become a 'solar cemetery'. Usually whe…

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10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 March 2016 at 11:05 am

10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

A recent report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provides some useful tips for installers on attracting new customers and keeping them satisfied. DECC commissioned 46 in-depth phone interviews as part of the evaluation of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The survey r…

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Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

Posted by Anna Carlini on 18 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

We wrote last July on the government scrapping new regulations that would have meant all houses built from 2016 would need to be carbon neutral. The regulations were first announced in 2006 and were therefore scrapped in the ninth year of a ten-year plan. But now the House of Lords have thrown th…

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Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 16 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

A report by Which? magazine has found that potentially hundreds of thousands of energy meters throughout the UK may be malfunctioning. Both electricity meters and gas meters have been found to be faulty, leading to incorrect bills and over or undercharging. On average 24% of gas meters tested sin…

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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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