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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Are you one of those incensed by the current consultation to review the Feed-in Tariff? Are you unhappy that the government is back tracking on its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’? Do you think the cuts are going too far? Are you wondering why they would cut solar subsidie…

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Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

Posted by NEF Gordon on 9 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government.  The report explains that this could deliver economic benefits comparable to High Speed 2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads. The findings build on analysis from Cambr…

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Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 October 2015 at 12:15 pm

Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Climate Energy today became the second Green Deal Provider to call in the administrators within 24 hours. The company grew quickly from 2001 and at its peak employed 160 people. The number of employees had already fallen to 128, but a further 30 people were made redundant yesterday. Yesterday…

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Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2015 at 12:50 pm

Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tim Miller at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), Aston University. Here is some of what I learned. The National Grid's announcement of an increased risk of blackouts this winter has resulted in buying in additional supplies being p…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am

Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign whic…

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Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 September 2015 at 12:05 pm

Lower RHI and tighter related fuel use regulation from Oct 2015

Decreased biomass RHI Biomass boilers must be popular at the moment because the biomass Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has passed another degression trigger. Degression is the process by which the government controls expenditure on the domestic RHI scheme and it involves reducing the tariffs …

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How much does solar thermal really save?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 21 September 2015 at 11:55 am

How much does solar thermal really save?

Solar thermal panels providing hot water for your domestic needs are a good way of reducing both your carbon emissions and your energy bill. Some households can use solar thermal to provide all of their hot water needs throughout the summer months. One SuperHomer manages to solely use solar heate…

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How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 September 2015 at 2:01 pm

How can ventilation with heat recovery help your home?

The basic theory of a heat exchange or heat recovery system is that heat from one fluid (either a liquid or a gas) is transferred to another fluid (also either a liquid or a gas) without the two fluids mixing. Q. How does a ventilation system with heat recovery work? A. For an explanation…

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Small changes for smaller energy bills

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 17 September 2015 at 4:20 pm

Small changes for smaller energy bills

With autumn fast approaching, it’s time to think about ways to help reduce those dreaded energy bills. Today, I want to share with you 10 simple changes that can offer big payoffs in the months to come. Abolish ‘stand-by’ in your house. Did you know that as much a 15% of…

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Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 16 September 2015 at 10:15 am

Which retrofit ventilation system - passive or mechanical?

Standard ventilation, which is suitable for most houses, uses trickle vents, extractor fans, windows and a lack of airtightness. Extractor fans are located in the ‘wet’ rooms of the house, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Trickle vents in windows allow a small amount of air to move i…

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3D energy efficient house

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 September 2015 at 10:50 am

3D energy efficient house

I just found a very attractive interactive web page with simple energy efficiency ideas for inside and outside the home. It’s interesting to see the little differences in language with this Irish site. For instance calling the airing cupboard a hot press and the loft an attic. I also fo…

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Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 September 2015 at 3:40 pm

Why does my home need ventilation and what are the options?

A house needs to be well ventilated for the comfort of its residents and to help care for the building. A house with poor ventilation can retain moisture and feel draughty or airless. Moisture can condense, leading to problems with damp, while inadequate air flow results in a build-up of indoor a…

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How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 September 2015 at 12:45 pm

How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Q. I would like to have more panels added to my existing system.  What do I need to know? A. There are a few things to consider, mainly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) since your last install.  Firstly the price you get per kWh has decreased substantially.  When you fir…

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Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 September 2015 at 12:20 pm

Vote now for your favourite Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund project

Would you like to see local community groups benefiting from renewable energy? If your answer is yes then why not log on to the Marks and Spencer Community Grants site and vote for a project near you.  Or perhaps vote for a project which you think is particularly inspirational.  Project…

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My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 4 September 2015 at 3:20 pm

My Crittall windows are cold, what are my options?

Crittall is a company which produces steel framed windows and their name has become associated with metal windows in general, which are now produced by many other companies. First manufactured back in 1884, when someone says Crittall windows we know exactly what they mean. Steel and aluminium pro…

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Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

Posted by Helena Ripley on 3 September 2015 at 10:50 am

Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has started a consultation on the future of feed-in tariffs (FiTs). The government is looking at phasing out the subsidy by 2018/19 but if the scheme can’t be put on an “affordable or sustainable footing” then payments of the g…

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How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 26 August 2015 at 11:10 am

How will the new EU ErP directive impact heat pump RHI?

A new EU Directive the ‘Ecodesign of Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive’ will come into force on 26 September 2015. This will affect the eligibility of homeowners with heat pumps to receive payments from the renewable heat incentive (RHI) grant. This directive will set a minimum …

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Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 26 August 2015 at 11:05 am

Aquaponics: visit the SuperHome where fish feed the plants

Nothing beats a home cooked meal, especially when it’s made with homegrown ingredients. Growing your own food saves money, is eco-friendly, and creates produce that’s as fresh as it comes. For the green-fingered it can be an ideal eco hobby, and it’s one that more and more peopl…

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Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:45 pm

Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

The Solar Trade Association (STA) recently produced a guide to fitting solar PV on a large roof. This contains a checklist of actions needed in order to successfully install a solar PV array on a commercial building. What are the benefits of solar PV on a commercial building? Commercial b…

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Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:30 pm

Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Most people don’t get a wood burning stove for the cost benefits. Although there might be some saving in terms of money and carbon emissions, stoves are mostly attractive because they are cosy and homely. The best way to save money with a stove is to source your fuel as cheaply as possible …

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How much does a wood burning stove cost?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 August 2015 at 1:50 pm

How much does a wood burning stove cost?

A wood burning stove is a big investment: they can cost over £2000 to buy, plus a potential £1500 to install, and there is the on-going cost of fuel to consider as well. On the other hand, switching to a stove should decrease your current heating bills, so how do these costs and savin…

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What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:40 pm

What is the best fuel for my wood burning stove?

A stove is a good way to heat a single room when it isn’t cold enough to put the central heating on, or when you want to create a warm cosy atmosphere. But what is the best fuel to use? Before discussing the types of fuel that are available, it is worth noting that some urban areas are …

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What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 18 August 2015 at 1:10 pm

What size or type of wood burning stove do I need?

When you consider buying a wood burning stove you need to make sure you get one which is the right size for the room it will go in. Finding the right size stove is important to make the most of the fuel, providing the right amount of heat and not taking up more room than is necessary.  W…

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Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 14 August 2015 at 10:50 am

Is a wood burning stove right for me?

Is there anything better, on a cold winter evening, than sitting by a wood burning stove with a good book and a hot cup of tea? Many people are installing stoves these days, but how can you know whether on would be right for you? The good news is that stoves can be fitted into almost any house, w…

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What is the future for sustainable homes in the UK?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 11 August 2015 at 9:55 am

What is the future for sustainable homes in the UK?

We repeatedly hear in the media that there is a housing shortage in the UK. With a growing population particularly in urban areas, we need to be smart about addressing this need. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the recent scrapping of the zero carbon homes policy but there is another policy, …

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How can we green our company HQ?

Posted by NEF Gordon on 4 August 2015 at 1:45 pm

How can we green our company HQ?

How to help your company HQ become greener with minimal hassle Of all the reasons to go green in business, I shall provide you with just two; it is good for the environment, and also, good for your bottom line. If you’re saving money whilst concurrently helping to improve the world in …

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Government ends the Green Deal

Posted by Helena Ripley on 28 July 2015 at 12:15 pm

Government ends the Green Deal

Only last week, we wrote a blog about the potential changes we might see in the provision of funding for energy efficiency given the cuts that government departments are expected to make. At the time there was no concrete information to back up the figures that the Financial Times article suggest…

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Government scraps zero carbon homes - what does it mean for UK housing?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 28 July 2015 at 11:50 am

Government scraps zero carbon homes - what does it mean for UK housing?

The chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to scrap the zero carbon building policy; the government says the decision will ensure that planning decisions can be made more quickly. However, industry leaders including house planners, builders and environmental groups have condemned the m…

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How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 27 July 2015 at 11:55 am

How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

There is no denying it: upgrading your home with eco-technologies costs. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are a variety of government-led subsidies for those upgrading homes with green technology, and one couple in Abertridwr, South Wales, say they are &…

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How does degression work with FiTs?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 24 July 2015 at 2:25 pm

How does degression work with FiTs?

If you have installed a renewable energy technology or low carbon technology in the past few years and you are receiving Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments then you may have come across the term degression. But what exactly is a degression, what is its purpose and how does it work? What is degress…

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Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 July 2015 at 1:50 pm

Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Over the last six months I have done a fair amount of research into photovoltaic solar panels. So I was surprised to discover recently that solar cells can be made in different colours. You might know all about this, but I had somehow missed the coloured solar developments! Coloured Rooftop S…

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Government to cut funding for household energy efficiency?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 22 July 2015 at 1:58 pm

Government to cut funding for household energy efficiency?

On 13 July the Financial Times (FT) published an article that suggests that the new budget for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will make household energy efficiency improvements more difficult. This because ministers are decreasing the amount of funding available to help instal…

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Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 21 July 2015 at 12:15 pm

Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Ofgem recently published a report on Year Four of the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) scheme (1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014). It makes for an interesting read, but rather than you trawling through the 50 page report, we’ve done it for you. Here are the highlights.  On 1 April 2010 the govern…

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Have you checked out the QR code on your energy bill yet?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 15 July 2015 at 2:35 pm

Have you checked out the QR code on your energy bill yet?

What is a QR code? A Quick Response (QR) code is a type barcode that can be scanned using a QR code reader application (app) on a smart phone. To make use of the QR code on your energy bill you will need a smart phone or access to one. You will also need to download a QR code reader app. Some…

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Sagging cavity wall insulation: why it happens, how do I know and what to do?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 July 2015 at 12:30 pm

Sagging cavity wall insulation: why it happens, how do I know and what to do?

Installing cavity wall insulation (CWI) can help to stop heat leaking through your walls and therefore decrease your spending on heating by up to £270 (based on an average gas heated detached home). However over time the insulation can sag or degrade. Gaps in insulation can cause nearly…

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Industry restates need for a new Energy White Paper

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 9 July 2015 at 11:30 am

Industry restates need for a new Energy White Paper

The recent progress report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has strongly recommended the need for a new action plan on low carbon and energy efficiency. It highlights the fact that many of the relevant policies and funding available to meet carbon reduction targets post 2020 are due to ru…

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What is the link between energy and water?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 July 2015 at 3:30 pm

What is the link between energy and water?

Would you like to save approximately £200 per year from your energy bills? Of course you would and, surprisingly, one way to do so is to become more water efficient. How does that work? Well, there is strong link between the amount of water we use in our homes and the amount of energy we us…

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What's the U-value of windows?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 3 July 2015 at 4:15 pm

What's the U-value of windows?

If you are considering buying new windows for your home, you may have come across the term the ‘U-value of windows’, but what exactly is a U-value and how do you use it?  In this case the U-value is a measurement of a window’s ability to retain heat and thus keep the bu…

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What to look for in energy efficient windows?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 1 July 2015 at 12:40 pm

What to look for in energy efficient windows?

If you are in the process of buying new energy efficient windows you could be forgiven for getting in a muddle. With the vast array of window styles, frames, panes and coatings in addition to window rating schemes on offer, it is not an easy task. Let’s begin with what most of us think abou…

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Which household would benefit from solar thermal?

Posted by Cecilia Eisner on 29 June 2015 at 1:15 pm

Which household would benefit from solar thermal?

Are you thinking of installing Solar Thermal? Are you wondering how much your family could benefit? It is always tempting to install Solar Thermal as a renewable way to heat your water since it can cut your home’s carbon emissions and help to reduce your energy bills.  Does your ho…

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Biomass RHI drops again

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 June 2015 at 1:30 pm

Biomass RHI drops again

Just as I write to tell you about the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) degression for solar PV the government announces a degression for the biomass section of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This time they say a ‘super trigger’ has been reached.  The Department of Energy and Climate…

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Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 June 2015 at 1:25 pm

Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Are you interested in Solar? From Cornwall to Aberdeen, the Solar Trade Association (STA) is holding open days for the public on 3 & 4 July.  Billed as Solar Independence Day this a unique opportunity to go and visit a solar farm or even a bus depot with a massive PV array. The …

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New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 June 2015 at 10:10 am

New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

If you aren’t already in the process of getting you Feed-in tariffs (FiTs) application in then you will probably end up with the new tariffs from 1 July. It’s all based on when your system is commissioned, so you don’t have much time. When the scheme was first introduced bac…

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How to become a green community transport provider!

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 June 2015 at 4:05 pm

How to become a green community transport provider!

Transport is not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of energy use, but the sector is responsible for 36 percent of total energy consumption in the UK. If we are serious about reducing our energy use and moving to more sustainable sources, the transport sector must play its part.…

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Join recommended renewables and energy efficiency businesses in YouGen's online directory

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 18 June 2015 at 10:55 am

Join recommended renewables and energy efficiency businesses in YouGen's online directory

One of the biggest barriers to householders installing energy efficiency measures and renewables is finding good quality installers. The best installer is one who comes highly recommended, one who will encourage potential customers to talk to previous customers and one who is happy to show off hi…

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Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 June 2015 at 10:35 am

Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

It used to be double glazing that was renowned for dodgy salesmen. Now some of the techniques they used are being kept alive by companies selling renewable energy technologies.  There are plenty of totally trustworthy companies out there, you can find many of them in our ‘find a&he…

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Watch out for an energy efficiency and renewables price hike

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 12 June 2015 at 11:05 am

Watch out for an energy efficiency and renewables price hike

No it’s not that prices for silicon are going through the roof, or tradesmen are getting above inflation pay rises, it’s all about the EU. It turns out that the UK’s low rates of VAT on energy efficiency and renewables are in breach of EU laws. This means that rather than paying…

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Where can I get an airtight external door?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 10 June 2015 at 11:45 am

Where can I get an airtight external door?

Q. Hello, I had a wee search in the "Find a.." system but not quite what I was looking for. I am simply looking for an external house door and have been reading a lot about air tightness. I am guessing the run of the mill hardware suppliers and double glazing sales companies don't s…

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