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View blog posts for category: General

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

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

Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

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

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What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

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

What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

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

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Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

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

Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

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

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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

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

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

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

Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

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

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Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

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

Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

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

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

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

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

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

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Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

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

Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

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

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How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

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

How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

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

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

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

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

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

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

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

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to get your ideal solar PV system

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

How to get your ideal solar PV system

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

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

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

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

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

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Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

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

Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

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

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

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

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

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

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The slow progress of the domestic RHI: a rough timetable

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

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

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How installers can demonstrate their expertise

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

How installers can demonstrate their expertise

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

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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

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

Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

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

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Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

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

Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

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

Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

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

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

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

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

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

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There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

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

There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

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

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Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

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

Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

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

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New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 February 2014 at 10:28 am

New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Installers of renewable energy technologies will have to complete a compliance certificate for every installation, in order to meet new standards set out by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The certificate is part of a range of measures the MCS has introduced in preparation for…

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Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 January 2014 at 9:50 am

Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Q. Is it possible to have a ground source heat pump system linked to air vents rather than radiators and if so, would this be a less expensive option than installing radiators? A. The system you describe is known as a ground-to-air heat pump, as opposed to a ground to water (or 'wet')…

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How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 January 2014 at 9:05 am

How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Once you have decided that you’d like to install a renewable heating system in your home or office, it’s a good idea to write a brief for the project. Rather than detailing all the various technologies you’ll need, a brief is designed to set out your expectations and can be a be…

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Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 January 2014 at 9:28 am

Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Heather Hullah and Jenny Barnes are not your average pensioners. Where other 60-somethings might be thinking about winding down, these two are more likely to be found wielding chainsaws and humping logs in their 2.5 hectare woodland. But then Heather and Jenny’s ex-council house is no l…

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Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 January 2014 at 10:34 am

Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

If you’re considering installing a renewable heating system in your home and would like to take advantage of a one-off grant to help with the cost, then now’s the time to act. The deadline for applying for a renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) is fast approaching with all applic…

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Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Alastair Mumford on 15 January 2014 at 8:47 am

Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Government proposals to change the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) have created substantial uncertainty within the solid wall insulation (SWI) market and highlight the need for companies in the sector to make their voices heard.  With funding set to drop from April 2014, job cuts are predi…

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Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 14 January 2014 at 12:35 pm

Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

YouGen is pleased to support this year's Solar Energy UK Roadshow taking place at six locations across the UK in February. With domestic installations seeing better returns this quarter and the UK continuing as one of the strongest markets in Europe, how will you cope with the deman…

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District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 10 January 2014 at 9:30 am

District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

The difference between the actual and assumed efficiency of district heating networks has come under the spotlight from a number of different sources.  A YouGen reader, Adrian Turner, writes that his system linking three holiday cottages, runs at a disappointing 37 per cent. Bruno P…

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Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 January 2014 at 9:10 am

Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Homebuyers need no longer be put off by draughty homes under government plans to offer one-off grants for energy saving measures.  The proposal, which is yet to be consulted upon, is likely include a £1,000 discount on stamp duty for basic energy efficient measures and up to £…

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Readers' tips of the month - December

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2013 at 10:16 am

Readers' tips of the month - December

"Cut energy first by improved insulation, air tightness and appliance energy efficiency, then install renewables," is the tip from chartered building services engineer, Gary Bennett.  "You will spend less overall to acheive a better end result," he adds. He practices …

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Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 16 December 2013 at 10:10 am

Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

A newly-installed ground source heat pump is set to save an Elizabethan country house hotel £10,000 a year.  Historic Soulton Hall in Wem, Shropshire, has replaced traditional fossil fuels with two Stiebel Eltron ground source heat pumps, generating green hot water and heating for …

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When can I apply to the domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2013 at 10:30 am

When can I apply to the domestic RHI?

People with renewable heating systems installed since 15 July 2009 may have to wait to apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). Last week the government announced its plans to phase the process.  Phasing will enable those who installed without support from the renewable hea…

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Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 6 December 2013 at 9:54 am

Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Q. We are a community group who have received a grant to install some solar PV panels on the roof of our village hall. I understand that receiving a grant disqualifies you from receiving feed-in tariffs – but I’ve also heard that there are some exceptions to this rule. Can you please …

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Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 December 2013 at 11:34 am

Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

For anyone who has been baffled by the amount of technical information available on their green deal advice report, help may be at hand. The government has announced plans to make green deal advice reports clearer and easier to understand, and to contain more information about what support there …

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Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 December 2013 at 10:41 am

Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

The government has just announced a series of measures that it claims will reduce the average energy bill by £50, without slashing the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) which adds about £47 to every energy bill.  While we're glad that they haven't done away with ECO t…

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Worried about energy prices? Take control!

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 22 November 2013 at 10:02 am

Worried about energy prices? Take control!

According to the department of energy and climate change's (DECC) public attitudes tracker, 28% of us are giving a lot of thought to saving energy at home and 84% of us are concerned about energy price rises in the future.  This 84% of us are right to be concerned as the majority of the …

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Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 November 2013 at 9:26 am

Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Q. We have had solar thermal and a biomass heating system installed. I have two questions: firstly can we pre-register for the domestic renewable heat incentive, and secondly I have read that you need to be in full time employment to qualify, which seems a bit bizarre. Is that true? A. Provid…

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