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View blog posts for category: General

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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What is collective switching?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 November 2013 at 11:01 am

What is collective switching?

Q. What is collective switching and should I get involved? A. Collective switching is where a group of individuals club together to negotiate a better deal on their energy bills. While there is no set model for how such a scheme operates, it usually involves a third party such as a local coun…

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Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 November 2013 at 8:53 am

Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

A new office block built to exacting environmental standards aims to improve the productivity of its tenants by up to 18 per cent.  The Future Business Centre in Cambridge is a 35,000sq.ft. facility intended to provide a mix of office and workshop units and hot desk facilities for up to …

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How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 12:47 pm

How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

One of the key barriers to investing in renewable energy that I identified before I started YouGen is finding an installer that you trust to do a good job. How do you evaluate what they are saying, and compare them. Our response is to invite installers to become YouGen members. This means they ca…

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Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 10:59 am

Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Getting a green deal assessment is meant to be like getting a new prescription for your glasses. Once you have the prescription you can shop around for the style of frames you want and have your prescription made up by any provider.  So, the idea is that you invite a green deal advisor r…

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SMA goes zero carbon - how green are your suppliers?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 October 2013 at 9:21 am

SMA goes zero carbon - how green are your suppliers?

While the empasis on selling solar panels over the past few years has been on the financial benefits, I also find it very satisfactory to think about the environmental benefits. It's great that I'm generating free electricity, but I also like knowing that I've reduced the carbon emiss…

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What happens to the feed-in tariff if I move energy supplier?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 October 2013 at 11:31 am

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I move energy supplier?

Q: If I choose to change my present energy supplier (dual fuel), will I be able to leave my feed-in tariff (FiT) payment liability with my original supplier or must I take it with me to the new supplier. In either case will I still receive the same FIT rate as I currently receive.  A: Th…

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MCS deadline for registering legacy renewable heat systems - an update

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 October 2013 at 10:29 am

MCS deadline for registering legacy renewable heat systems - an update

Tomorrow is the deadline by which people who have installed a renewable heating system since 15 July 2009 must ensure that it is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) if they want to receive the renewable heat incentive. Yet, a quick check this morning reveals th…

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Green gas takes a step closer to your home

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 October 2013 at 10:41 am

Green gas takes a step closer to your home

The possibility of being able to buy truly green gas from the grid, has taken a step closer to realisation thanks to the arrival on the market of a second, certified supplier of 100 per cent green gas.  Ceres Energy has signed up to become the second registered supplier of biomethane und…

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Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 October 2013 at 11:17 am

Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Is it just me, or are heat pumps the most confusing of beasts? I had a Daikin Altherma air source heat pump installed by an MCS registered installer in 2012 to replace a hopelesssly out-of-date storage heating system in a 1950s chalet-style house. Last winter we received electricity bills…

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Installers: would you support a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology?

Posted by Ged Ennis on 14 October 2013 at 10:34 am

Installers: would you support a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology?

Five years ago I approached our local college about developing a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology. My company has worked with them for the past 20 years, taking a variety of apprentices through a range of building-related trade qualifications. I knew the staff well and thought would do somethi…

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Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 October 2013 at 3:31 pm

Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

If your renewable heating system is not registered with the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS), there are still a few things you can do, to ensure that you meet the 22 October 2013 deadline for registration.  If your heating system is not registered on the MCS installation databa…

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Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 September 2013 at 10:15 am

Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

A survey by the Energy Saving Trust has found that almost three quarters of respondents support the installation of smart meters in their homes.  But commentators are warning that the meters pose risks to individual privacy and national security.  The survey, conducted ahead of …

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Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 September 2013 at 9:22 am

Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Q: I have had a phone call from someone offering me a brand new boiler, absolutely free. Is this a scam? A: The phone rings and someone on the end of the line offers you a brand new boiler - absolutely free.  Naturally you are sceptical. After months of unsolicited calls offering you…

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Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 September 2013 at 9:15 am

Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

The government has issued a deadline for registering renewable heat installations under the microgeneration certification scheme (MSC). The deadline, of 4pm on October 22, 2013, applies to all renewable heat installations made since July 15, 2009. If you believe your installation has yet …

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Is YouGen on the right track? We'd like to know (good or bad!)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 23 September 2013 at 8:02 am

Is YouGen on the right track? We'd like to know (good or bad!)

YouGen has been up and running for more than four years now and we’re drawing up exciting plans for YouGen mark two, which we hope to build next year. We want to make sure that it delivers all the help and support you need both before and after you tackle an energy project. And, of cour…

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Another gong for YouGen!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 September 2013 at 9:01 am

Another gong for YouGen!

It's not like us to blow our own trumpets but - PARP! - we did just want to say how proud we are to have been named Green Business of the Year at an award ceremony for women in business. Our founder Cathy Debenham also reached the finals of the Inspirational Woman category of this year's …

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Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 September 2013 at 9:23 am

Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Converting your business to biomass heating has the potential to deliver some of the most significant and cost-effective carbon savings of all renewable heating technologies, The Carbon Trust has claimed. In its guide, Biomass heating: A practical guide for potential users, the Carbon Trust s…

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Big businesses to undergo compulsory energy assessments

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 September 2013 at 8:50 am

Big businesses to undergo compulsory energy assessments

The average big UK business could save £56,400 a year on energy bills under a government scheme to force businesses to undergo energy assessments. At least that’s the bold claim of the department of energy and climate change (DECC) who are consulting on proposals they hope will en…

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Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 September 2013 at 9:58 am

Why is my EPC rating so poor with my new biomass boiler?

Q: Following the installation of a super-efficient biomass boiler, my energy bills dropped but my energy performance certificate (EPC) rating plummeted 26 points to a G. I’m convinced that the report is incorrect but where do I turn to get this corrected? We removed a 20-year-old boiler…

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The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2013 at 11:01 am

The UK's most energy-efficient period properties throw open their doors

If you’re considering refurbishing your energy-guzzling period property to make it run more efficiently then here’s a chance to see how others have done it first. SuperHomes Open Days is a countrywide open house scheme where owners of 54 older, retrofitted homes throw open their d…

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Can I get the domestic RHI if I'm replacing a renewable heating system?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 September 2013 at 9:43 am

Can I get the domestic RHI if I'm replacing a renewable heating system?

Q: I installed a stove type pellet boiler back in 2006 - which is great. But last year we extended our house and the boiler is probably a bit on the small side. Also as we get older we will find it easier to have a boiler with a bulk store. If I install a bigger output boiler now will I qualify f…

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Why we should build renewables into new homes

Posted by James Page on 5 September 2013 at 9:20 am

Why we should build renewables into new homes

When the government proposed a 'bonfire of red tape' I never seriously thought they would want to stop renewable energy requirements for new buildings. One of the few levers local authorities have over builders is to make planning permission conditional on provisions, such as solar panels…

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How to choose a green deal advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 23 August 2013 at 9:41 am

How to choose a green deal advisor

Choosing a green deal advisor is the first step on your journey to participating in the green deal scheme. It is important to choose an advisor in whom you have confidence as it is their findings that will inform the energy saving measures your provider is able to install in your home. There …

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How do I find a local green deal advisor or provider?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 August 2013 at 9:31 am

How do I find a local green deal advisor or provider?

Q: I've had a green deal advice report done, and am trying hard to find a provider in Devon. Hope you can help. A: To find a green deal provider go to www.greendealorb.co.uk/consumersearch and enter your postcode. You can also search for green deal assessor organisations at the same …

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Will the green deal really make my home overheat?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 August 2013 at 9:06 am

Will the green deal really make my home overheat?

You’ve got to pity the poor department for energy and climate change. No sooner have they announced a flagship green deal scheme to beef up our home insulation and make us all cosy and energy efficient then the weather goes and gets all hot and we all start opening the windows and swit…

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I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 August 2013 at 9:49 am

I have heard that a green deal provider can increase my repayments by two per cent a year. Is this true?

Well, yes, it is. It has been widely publicised that a green deal plan offers a fixed rate of interest, meaning that in most cases, your repayments will remain the same throughout the course of your loan. But a little bit of digging has revealed that there could be circumstances in which your…

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My experience of staying in a Passivhaus

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 August 2013 at 10:31 am

My experience of staying in a Passivhaus

Having lived in a series of draughty old houses over the years, I've always wondered what it would be like living in a Passivhaus. So when i discovered there was a Passivhaus bed and breakfast in Dartington, Devon where I was due to attend a conference, I booked in. The B&B is one of …

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What will my electricity bills look like with a green deal plan?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 July 2013 at 9:30 am

What will my electricity bills look like with a green deal plan?

So, you’ve had your green deal assessment and you’ve chosen a green deal provider with whom you’ve agreed the terms of your loan.  You know the cost of the work proposed and how much energy you are predicted to save over the course of your loan. And you’ve reassur…

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Green deal to be delivered street by street with DECC funding

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 July 2013 at 10:26 am

Green deal to be delivered street by street with DECC funding

Plans by the government for energy efficiency experts to go street-by-street to encourage people to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat have met with suspicion on Twitter. Concerns expressed are mainly about conmen and pressure sales. But how likely is that in reality? The local c…

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Mortgage lenders give tentative thumbs up to Green Deal homes

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 July 2013 at 10:38 am

Mortgage lenders give tentative thumbs up to Green Deal homes

If you’re considering taking out a green deal loan on a house you’re planning to sell in the future, your prospective buyers will not find it harder to secure a mortgage.  At least that’s the message the body which represents mortgage lenders is keen to get across. …

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Why buyers should take care when investing in renewable heat

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 July 2013 at 9:41 am

Why buyers should take care when investing in renewable heat

Let me set my stall out: I'm a fan of renewable heat technologies if they are installed well in suitable buildings. I'm also delighted that details of the domestic renewable heat incentive scheme has finally been announced, and that the rates are higher than expected.  But, and g…

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RHI stands for really happy industry

Posted by Jennifer Arran on 16 July 2013 at 8:20 am

RHI stands for really happy industry

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has finally been unveiled, and the industry couldn’t be happier. This is the end of the beginning – the RHI represents the first step on the path to meeting the UK 2050 carbon targets. The tariff rates and the inclusion of hybrid systems…

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Usability testers wanted for RHI accreditation system

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 11:55 am

Usability testers wanted for RHI accreditation system

Ofgem has recently begun to build the IT system for accreditation on to the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme and hopes to start usability testing in the week commencing 22 July 2013. It aims to build a user-friendly system to ease the accreditation process for all, and needs help to…

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