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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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