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Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: A renewable source of base load power?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 29 August 2017 at 11:10 am

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion: A renewable source of base load power?

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a renewable energy technology which generates electricity using sea water. 71% of the world’s surface is covered by ocean [1]. This means that a large amount of solar energy is constantly warming the upper layers of the oceans. This creates a strong…

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I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 24 August 2017 at 11:05 am

I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

With over 376 buildings belonging to the Church of England now sporting solar panels, including many protected churches (and even one cathedral), one may be forgiven for thinking that installing solar PV onto a listed or protected building is a straightforward affair. While installing solar panel…

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GreenWood Forest - The UK's first eco-friendly theme park

Posted by Jordan Willis on 22 August 2017 at 9:33 am

GreenWood Forest - The UK's first eco-friendly theme park

We at YouGen are always fascinated by the innovative developments of green energy enthusiasts in novel and interesting areas. A shining example of this are Andrea and Stephen Bristow, the husband and wife team behind GreenWood Forest Park, the UK’s first theme park to be powered entirely by…

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From energy importer to energy exporter - the story of The National Energy Foundation.

Posted by Sam Tonge on 17 August 2017 at 12:34 pm

From energy importer to energy exporter - the story of The National Energy Foundation.

YouGen is based in the National Energy Centre, which is the main office of the National Energy Foundation (NEF), an independent British charity, established to encourage the more sustainable use and generation of energy. As you’d expect, the centre features an exciting and inspiring arr…

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Air Leakage v Ventilation - Striking the Balance

Posted by Sam Tonge on 15 August 2017 at 2:03 pm

Air Leakage v Ventilation - Striking the Balance

Why is air leakage a problem? Air leakage is widely accepted as a major cause of thermal inefficiency within many of our homes in the UK, accounting for 30% of total heat loss on average. The uncontrolled flow of air through small gaps in our properties can rack up our utility bills as well a…

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Greywater systems - reusing your bath water

Posted by Anna Carlini on 10 August 2017 at 10:45 am

Greywater systems - reusing your bath water

Our water is too clean! This seems a strange complaint to make, but in the UK drinking water is flushed down the toilet every day, literally! As UK houses tend to only have one water system, all the water that currently flows around our pipes meets drinking standards. It is estimated that on …

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New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

Posted by Jordan Willis on 8 August 2017 at 10:36 am

New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

The Solar Trade Association (STA) marked a significant victory for solar PV and solar storage systems last week by securing a 5% rate of VAT on battery storage for householders who are installing a solar storage system alongside a new solar PV system. This is set to significantly improve the …

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Our view on Earth Overshoot Day: the time to improve your energy use is now

Posted by Sam Tonge on 3 August 2017 at 5:20 pm

Our view on Earth Overshoot Day: the time to improve your energy use is now

Calculations by international research organisation Global Footprint Network show that our yearly Earth Overshoot Day occurred on 2nd August in 2017. This annual milestone is the date within the year that we have used more of our natural resources than our planet can renew within that time. Tradi…

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The experience of an Eco Guesthouse and SuperHome owner

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 31 July 2017 at 2:30 pm

The experience of an Eco Guesthouse and SuperHome owner

SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of the 10th year celebrations happening across the UK. These are homes that have reduced their carbon footprint by at least 60%. This is a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated…

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Inside the Government’s plan to transform our energy system – all things V2G, battery storage and smart

Posted by Shanics Olton on 27 July 2017 at 5:03 pm

Inside the Governmentâs plan to transform our energy system â“ all things V2G, battery storage and smart

Will we really become a nation of clean energy creators sooner than we think? Some critics say we’ve been lagging behind the likes of Sweden and Denmark for far too long but the Government’s latest report sets out a plan to change this and make us leaders in the field of innovativ…

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The world's first floating wind farm

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 24 July 2017 at 3:43 pm

The world's first floating wind farm

At YouGen we love keeping up to date with the fantastic advancements in UK offshore windfarms. Such as the world’s largest wind turbines, recently switched on off the coast of Liverpool. Or the dramatic increases in onshore wind generation. Now we bring you something even more extraordinary…

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Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Posted by Ollie Gibbs on 20 July 2017 at 5:06 pm

Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Why should you buy a battery? If you have a well-designed PV system you’ll probably have noticed that on some days your system is exporting large amounts of energy back to the grid. This is because your system’s generating more energy than your home is using at that particular tim…

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Is this the start of the electric car revolution?

Posted by Louisa Clarke on 18 July 2017 at 9:01 am

Is this the start of the electric car revolution?

Last year the number of electric cars reached 2 million globally, and the number continues to grow. Despite this, electric cars still only hold a small share of the global car stock (with an estimated 1.2 billion vehicles worldwide). However, recent news of Volvo’s transition to electric ca…

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How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 13 July 2017 at 2:30 pm

How to reduce smoke emissions from domestic wood-burning appliances

Burning wood in a domestic stove or boiler can generally be regarded as a more sustainable approach to heating than traditional methods such as coal or gas heating. This is because the carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions produced as a result of burning wood fuel remain part of the carbon cycle, b…

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Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 11 July 2017 at 12:40 pm

Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

We have recently heard from readers with concerns about how switching energy supplier might affect their Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. From personal experience I can confirm that this is not an issue, although it might help to explain why this is the case. Firstly, everyone receiving FiT pay…

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Carbon Coop leads the way to new models of retrofitting

Posted by Károly Gergely on 7 July 2017 at 11:30 am

Carbon Coop leads the way to new models of retrofitting

Community Green Deal, a project by Manchester-based social enterprise, Carbon Coop has provided useful learning in three areas: technical, social and business-models. A summary of the report can be found here and the full report here. Our Community Green Deal project ran f…

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UK renewable energy industry breaks another record! A look at other achievements across the world

Posted by Shanics Olton on 5 July 2017 at 4:35 pm

UK renewable energy industry breaks another record! A look at other achievements across the world

Despite lower wind speeds and less rainfall than in 2016, from January to March this year renewable energy contributed a record breaking 26% of the total electricity generated in the UK. Onshore wind accounted for the biggest increase from 6.4 TWh to 7.7 TWh with bioenergy, offshore wind, hydro a…

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Should cogeneration be considered a green energy technology?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 June 2017 at 3:01 pm

Should cogeneration be considered a green energy technology?

We consume energy in two main ways, as electricity and as heat. These are produced, distributed and used in very different ways. Most electricity is generated by centralised power stations, with a relatively small fraction being produced at the point of use. It is then distributed, potentially ov…

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Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 21 June 2017 at 9:45 am

Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

The initial cost of a hybrid inverter is quite high, but this is offset by the ability to use your generated power more flexibly, rather than having to buy energy from the grid when the solar panel isn’t generating. Hybrid inverters have proven reliability across various grid types. Modern …

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Condensation and ventilation: preventing damp in your home

Posted by Anna Carlini on 20 June 2017 at 4:50 pm

Condensation and ventilation: preventing damp in your home

Ventilation is a surprisingly important element in keeping your heating bills down. How? Because a home that can’t “breathe” is one which traps moisture on the inside and causes damp. Even if a home has high levels of insulation, a damp wall can lose up to 40% more heat than a d…

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Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 19 June 2017 at 3:01 pm

Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of a funeral? You may be thinking this is a bit of morbid topic for a YouGen blog, but believe it or not 0.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to a variety of modern day funeral methods. Although the environmental impact is likely to be the …

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How do you assess the efficiency of a ground source heat pump?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 June 2017 at 10:57 am

How do you assess the efficiency of a ground source heat pump?

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) extract heat from the ground, and use it to produce hot water. The temperature in the subsurface remains around 11-12oC throughout the year [1]. By burying pipes just a few metres below the ground you can take advantage of this readily available supply of thermal e…

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Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2017 at 3:15 pm

Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

The solar chimney is designed to harness the fact that hot air rises, providing passive ventilation for a building. A solar chimney can be used to cool a house during warm weather, and generate heat during cold times of the year. There have also been efforts to build industrial scale solar chimne…

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What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 31 May 2017 at 11:50 am

What does biomass boiler maintenance involve?

If you are thinking of installing a biomass boiler, I'm sure you are thinking of how (and when) the boiler will be maintained. In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown tells us about the operation and maintenance of the KWB Easyfire wood pellet boiler fitted in 2009 in the five bedr…

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Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 30 May 2017 at 10:40 am

Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Everybody loves a freebie right? Especially when it involves sustainable energy. Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) Low Voltage (LV) Connect and Manage project is currently offering a free trial to residents in Furzton, Milton Keynes to help develop battery power technologies. Some hous…

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M & S Community Energy Fund applications now open!

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 25 May 2017 at 10:30 am

M & S Community Energy Fund applications now open!

Last year we were able to bring you the good news of the Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund and we’re happy to announce that for the third year running, the competition is back with a share of £300,000 for local community groups. Funding is available to support renewable energy p…

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A giant gain for wind power: World's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

Posted by Richard Vale on 24 May 2017 at 9:51 am

A giant gain for wind power: World's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

On a momentous day for renewable technology, the biggest and most powerful wind turbines in the world have begun generating electricity off the Liverpool coast. Dong Energy, from Denmark, has installed 32 turbines in Liverpool Bay, each standing at an impressive 195m tall. To put this into pe…

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Urban permaculture: farms in the city

Posted by Anna Carlini on 23 May 2017 at 12:21 pm

Urban permaculture: farms in the city

 “You can solve all the world's problems in a garden.”  ― Geoff Lawton Perhaps not completely, but it is certainly a good place to start. The ingredients in our meals travel thousands of miles just to get on to our plates. Our cities are physically and mentally…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 17 May 2017 at 4:55 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 10 May 2017 at 2:33 pm

What plumbing does a biomass boiler need?

Thinking of installing a biomass boiler? Have you considered the plumbing involved with this? In the video below, SuperHomer Mark Brown shows us the plumbing and 500 litre buffer tank installed for his wood pellet boiler. Mark chose this biomass boiler for the five bedroom house in South Buck…

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Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2017 at 2:50 pm

Are Infrared panel heaters a good way to heat a room?

Infrared panel heaters are a relatively new way to heat your house. They work very differently to radiators, and have some advantages when it comes to energy efficiency. Infrared panel heaters use radiation to heat the room instead of convection. This means that they deliver heat directly to …

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How green is Hydroelectricity?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 5 May 2017 at 4:24 pm

How green is Hydroelectricity?

Large hydropower schemes account for the majority of the world’s renewable energy supply. Unlike wind and solar, hydroelectricity can provide a constant stream of renewable power, regardless of the weather or the time of year. Hydroelectric dams can be used to store power, and can quickly b…

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Is it true that people in passive houses roast in summer?

Posted by Joanne Spurrell on 2 May 2017 at 2:45 pm

Is it true that people in passive houses roast in summer?

Passive House is a voluntary energy performance standard that results in buildings that are extremely airtight and have good levels of insulation. In such buildings, little energy is required for space heating and cooling so you can do away with conventional heating systems. But this begs the que…

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Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

Posted by James Page on 28 April 2017 at 11:35 am

Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

People often remark that solar panels do not need a sunny day to generate. Turns out a cloudy day can sometimes generate more than a sunny one. Three years ago, JoJu Solar installed a 10kW flat roof system on Artsadmin in Central London. It was the first project with panels facing East and We…

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Energy efficiency labels are changing (again!)

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 27 April 2017 at 10:03 am

Energy efficiency labels are changing (again!)

Have you upgraded any appliances in your home lately? If so, you may have noticed that items such as refrigerators or televisions are rated in terms of their energy efficiency between A +++ to G. Everyone hoped that these ratings would allow you make an informed choice to buy the most energy effi…

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Which devices are the most energy intensive?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 25 April 2017 at 3:31 pm

Which devices are the most energy intensive?

We live our lives surrounded by devices. We work on computers, carry phones and tablets with us wherever we go. Kitchens are full of fridges, freezers, microwaves and washing machines. Some are more energy intensive than others, but all of them are contributing to high energy bills, and higher ca…

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How important is solar shading to passive solar building design?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 April 2017 at 12:10 pm

How important is solar shading to passive solar building design?

Trying to get indoor spaces to be the right temperature is a constant struggle. During cold parts of the year we use large amounts of energy for heating, but when warm weather arrives we suddenly want to cool down our buildings, either with fans or air conditioning. There seem to be relatively fe…

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What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 21 April 2017 at 2:26 pm

What cleaning and maintenance does a biomass boiler need?

If you are thinking about installing a biomass boiler, you’ll want to know how much cleaning and maintenance is involved. A biomass boiler needs regular cleaning and servicing as build-ups of ash and clinker can stop it working efficiently and even cause damage. Some of these tasks you …

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What is the most energy efficient form of transport?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 12 April 2017 at 1:40 pm

What is the most energy efficient form of transport?

Many of you will be planning a long journey this bank holiday weekend and it’s worth considering which method of transport will be the most environmentally friendly. As you are probably aware, some transport methods are much more energy intensive than others and some have higher greenhouse …

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Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 April 2017 at 2:34 pm

Thermal Storage: How much could you save?

Storing the energy produced by solar panels is a hot topic. Developments in battery storage for solar photovoltaic systems are constantly improving, but when it comes to storing energy, thermal systems have a lot of advantages. Solar thermal systems work by pumping a mix of water and antifree…

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Soaring ahead: Gatwick Airport first in the world to turn waste into energy onsite

Posted by Richard Vale on 7 April 2017 at 12:03 pm

Soaring ahead: Gatwick Airport first in the world to turn waste into energy onsite

If you’re a fan of environmental waste management then fasten your seatbelt (and do not unbuckle until the landing light is switched off) because London Gatwick Airport and DHL supply chain have officially opened a new waste management plant, making it the first airport in the world to turn…

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Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 5 April 2017 at 12:59 pm

Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

With days becoming longer and sunnier afternoons on the rise, now is the perfect time to be generating electricity from your solar PV panels. Cast your minds back to the weekend of the 25th March 2017, temperatures were rising and you were dusting the cobwebs off the barbeque. However, that weeke…

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Can living in a Smart House help us save energy?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 3 April 2017 at 3:30 pm

Can living in a Smart House help us save energy?

With the spread of smart phones a variety of options now exist to remotely control how electricity is used throughout your home. It is now possible to create a “smart house”, where all appliances and devices are connected to a wireless network, so that they can be monitored and contro…

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What makes an energy-friendly garden?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 30 March 2017 at 3:01 pm

What makes an energy-friendly garden?

Don’t we all dream of having a green garden? I know I do. The thought of lush green grass, vibrant leaves and sheltering trees makes me want to retreat into that sweet haven for the whole of spring. But saving water and energy in your garden is something we should all take more care to do. …

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Greenwashing: products that dont live up to the label

Posted by Anna Carlini on 29 March 2017 at 4:40 pm

Greenwashing: products that dont live up to the label

Here at YouGen we love products that are environmentally friendly, and use less energy. But we do expect them to live up to expectations. We have a problem with products that do not match what they promise on the tin. We’ve covered cases where products are misleadingly advertised in our blo…

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Can you charge your electric car from a lamp post?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 27 March 2017 at 5:09 pm

Can you charge your electric car from a lamp post?

Well actually you can’t, unless you happen to live in Onslow Gardens in Kensington, but some residents there can.  Back in December the Government made £2.5m of funding available via its On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, which enabled Local Authorities to install charge p…

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Show Homes will inspire domestic retrofit finds study

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 March 2017 at 2:40 pm

Show Homes will inspire domestic retrofit finds study

The main purpose of Show Homes is to inform and inspire. In a recent study, we found that they can be used very effectively to raise public awareness of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, and generate interest among visitors who might then go on to install similar measures in their …

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How Green are Biofuels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 March 2017 at 5:15 pm

How Green are Biofuels?

Our society is addicted to oil. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world will use 96 million barrels of oil (152 billion litres) a day throughout 2016 [1]. Our oil usage shows no sign of slowing down, so we desperately need an alternative for this non-renewable resource.   …

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Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 17 March 2017 at 4:50 pm

Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Q. I have 12 solar panels, six facing east and six facing west. I have two inverters, one of which is a 'Sunnyboy', but I don't know which model. It was checked today and I was told its voltage is 281 when it should be around 240 volts. Is this a problem? Do I need something to reduce…

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Are smart meters overcharging?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 14 March 2017 at 11:23 am

Are smart meters overcharging?

I know I have written much about how great smart meters could be. They will help us to get rid of the antiquated idea of estimated bills, they will make is easier for everyone to see where they are using energy and they will make it much much easier for people to switch supplier.  But all of…

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