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View blog posts for category: General

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 the South of England where I was due to attend a conference, I booked in. The B&B is one …

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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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Details of the domestic renewable heat incentive finally announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 10:25 am

After several delays, the details of the renewable heat incentive, originally announced in July 2010 have finally been announced. Its aim is to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies to cut carbon, help meet the renewables targets and to save money on energy bills. Who can apply …

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Electric vehicles can save businesses money

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2013 at 9:09 am

Electric vehicles can save businesses money

The UK ranks 15th in Europe for uptake of electric vehicles, despite attractive financial benefits for companies, according to a recent report by the IPPR. France and Norway have bought the highest proportion of electric vehicles. The report reveals that businesses can save £3,755 over …

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How to get started with the green deal: my experience

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2013 at 11:37 am

How to get started with the green deal: my experience

The Green Deal is the government's scheme to encourage people to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, by taking away the barrier of upfront cost. While the government is keen to meet carbon emissions targets, the benefits for the rest of us are also warmer homes, and lower energy bi…

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Win a copy of Old House Eco Handbook (worth £30)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 19 June 2013 at 9:10 am

Win a copy of Old House Eco Handbook (worth £30)

YouGen is giving away a copy of the brilliant Old House Eco Handbook worth £30. To thank you for Liking our Facebook page before the end July 2013, we will enter you in the draw to win. This guide, which is published in association with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Building…

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What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 June 2013 at 2:56 pm

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Q: I'd like to look for a different energy provider (my current one, nPower isn't paying its tax!). However, I don't want to lose my feed-in tariff (FIT) payments. Can I reapply for them with my new supplier and is it a complicated procedure? Or will my old supplier keep paying the FI…

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Small energy companies reluctant to offer Green Deal finance

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 8 May 2013 at 9:12 am

Small energy companies reluctant to offer Green Deal finance

If you are with a smaller energy supplier, you may have to switch companies in order to get Green Deal finance through your bill. Some smaller suppliers are signed up, but some are strongly against the Green Deal, while others are waiting to see how it goes before taking part. So which compan…

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DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 April 2013 at 12:09 pm

DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

You can use Green Deal finance to help meet the costs of installing solar PV, wind or even microCHP* on your property and receive the Feed In Tariff (FIT) as well. Hydro generation and anaerobic digestion receive FIT but are not eligible for Green Deal finance. The amount you can finance thro…

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When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 April 2013 at 9:17 am

When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

A: As RHI (renewable heat incentive) payments have been delayed again till Spring 2014, do we have to wait till then to get our payment? So there will be no payment in 2013 then? Q: If you are what the government describes as a 'legacy' applicant, which means someone who has installed…

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Infrared panel heating: your questions answered

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 19 April 2013 at 9:30 am

Infrared panel heating: your questions answered

What are infrared panels?  Infrared panels emit a very high ratio of heat as radiant heat. This heats objects directly, rather than warming the air (which is what convection heat does). Other examples of high-radiant heaters include portable halogen heaters, infrared outdoor patio heatin…

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REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 April 2013 at 9:21 am

REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

The consumer code for the domestic renewable energy sector has changed its name from the ‘REAL Consumer Code’ to the ‘Renewable Energy Consumer Code’ (RECC). The new name better describes the nature and purpose of the Code, and better reflects the fact that the Code is jus…

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And the winner is .....

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 16 April 2013 at 9:30 am

And the winner is .....

YouGen's energy saving and renewables photo competition has ended, and with a great selection of submissions from across the country. We had photos of DIY, wood-burning stoves, solar panels and windmills. Some of the photos were funny, and some artistic, but they all inspired energy effi…

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Fear and cost are the main barriers to investment in renewable energy

Posted by Jennifer Arran on 11 April 2013 at 9:48 am

Fear and cost are the main barriers to investment in renewable energy

Awareness of microgeneration has increased since last year, but fear has become a much stronger barrier to uptake according to our new research. Our Microgen Insight Service team held focus groups of owner occumpiers last month as part of our ongoing research programme. Some customers said fe…

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Why people choose their renewable energy installer (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 April 2013 at 8:10 am

  Customers are looking for installers who are: Knowledgeable about the product Provide information about the products and the installation Are good value for money Seem experienced at installing Seem friendly when discussing the quote / install …

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Radiator reflectors and boosters can keep you warmer

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 5 April 2013 at 4:21 pm

Radiator reflectors and boosters can keep you warmer

More efficient heating doesn’t always have to come with a big investment, as these two simple devices for your radiators show.  Radiator reflectors* work by reflecting the heat emitted from the back side of the radiator toward the wall back into the room. Depending on your circumst…

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A bad week for renewable energy

Posted by Stewart Boyle on 3 April 2013 at 3:54 pm

A bad week for renewable energy

Last week was a bad week for renewable heat, and biomass especially. The announcement that there would be a significant further delay to the introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI-2) scheme finally came. With RHI payments due to start no earlier than Spring 2014, this will mak…

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One way to find out where your home leaks heat and stay warm

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 28 March 2013 at 9:17 am

One way to find out where your home leaks heat and stay warm

Heat loss is one of the main causes of higher than necessary energy bills in the UK. In a survey NASA did of its buildings, 50% of heat loss was attributed to 5% of the surface area, what they referred to as like a prick in a balloon - all of the heat will eventually leave from even the smallest …

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Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 March 2013 at 9:08 am

Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Most existing recipients of the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive will receive an  increase in their tariff rates in line with the retail price index from 1 April 2013. However, for some recent recipients of the feed-in tariff of solar PV the first RPI increase will not happen …

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