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View blog posts for category: Energy saving

Look at a property's energy efficiency before you rent

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 20 April 2011 at 1:05 am

Look at a property's energy efficiency before you rent

While the snow was on the ground at the start of the year, I carried out an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on a house in a pleasant street in a rural Buckinghamshire village, prior to its owner marketing it for let. Specifically, this house is in the most northerly village in the county, ri…

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Buildings don't use energy: people do

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 April 2011 at 10:46 am

Buildings don't use energy: people do

Smart buildings aren't the solution to reducing energy use, smart people are, according to research by Kathryn Janda of the UK Energy Research Centre.  Architects can specify "zero-energy" homes, which are designed to be energy efficient and produce their own energy through solar power, but …

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Renewable heat incentive - thoughts on deeming, SAP, equity and accuracy

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 9 March 2011 at 3:59 pm

Renewable heat incentive - thoughts on deeming, SAP, equity and accuracy

According to the briefing prepared by the REA (the Renewable Energy Association), the long awaited proposals for the Renewable Heat Incentive are expected this week. Following slowly on from the FIT (feed-in tariff), the renewable heat incentive is expected to apply the long-term tariff approach of…

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Energy grant of £1,000 available for community buildings in the south west

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 February 2011 at 3:28 pm

Energy grant of £1,000 available for community buildings in the south west

Grants of £1,000 are still available for community groups across the South West of England and South and West Wales, who are looking to reduce their energy use. The Western Power Distribution Community Chest is open to all eligible groups (although applications from Cornwall and Wales are partic…

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The best way to draught-proof an old window or door

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 February 2011 at 9:11 am

The best way to draught-proof an old window or door

However high you turn up the heating, a cold draught howling around your ankles is still uncomfortable, yet lots of the products on sale at the DIY shops don't manage to cut it off. Well, thanks to English Heritage, by way of Hook Norton Low Carbon, I've discovered the answer for casement windows…

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Ways in which Green Deal could be more ambitious

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2011 at 10:10 am

Ways in which Green Deal could be more ambitious

The plans for a Green Deal scheme to finance energy efficiency lack ambition and are in danger of only delivering the easy to install solutions such as loft and cavity wall insulation  according to a number of commentators. Speaking at this week's Low Carbon Community Conference in London, …

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New widget aims to reduce gas bills

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 January 2011 at 10:47 am

New widget aims to reduce gas bills

I've just received my gas bill and I'm not surprised to find that December's freezing temperatures mean that I've used a lot more gas than usual (and quite a lot more than the supplier has estimated too). I've been recording weekly readings from my gas and electricity meters for the past 2 and a…

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Finance for energy efficiency: how the green deal will work

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 December 2010 at 10:10 am

Finance for energy efficiency: how the green deal will work

More detail about the Green Deal - the government's plan to encourage us all to make our homes and offices energy efficient - were revealed in the Energy Bill earlier this month. In essence this is a mechanism to enable people to make improvements without having to bear the up-front cost. The 'go…

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Green Deal - will the advice be good enough?

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 3 December 2010 at 9:15 am

Green Deal - will the advice be good enough?

You're probably painfully aware that there's a lot still to be decided about how the Green Deal will work.  According to DECC the Green Deal process starts with the provision of advice: "All households and businesses will be entitled to an energy efficiency assessment as part of Green …

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Why would anyone be interested in the Green Deal?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 December 2010 at 8:42 am

Why would anyone be interested in the Green Deal?

This question was asked of the Question Time panel at RegenSW's conference last week, and their answers weren't a ringing endorsement of the Green Deal, the government's flagship policy for making domestic housing more energy efficient. "I'm pessimistic that it will work," said Ian Marchant, chie…

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Win a GEO Minim energy meter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 November 2010 at 11:37 am

Win a GEO Minim energy meter

What's the best energy efficiency measure you've taken at home. It may be the one that saved you the most off your heating bills, or the easy, quick fix that blocks off the draught that used to howl around your ankles while you watched TV. Or maybe it's the ingenious bodge job, that didn't cost you …

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Is your fridge an electricity-gobbling monster?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 November 2010 at 8:46 am

Is your fridge an electricity-gobbling monster?

Did you know that 23% of domestic energy use comes from fridges? That's a big percentage of electricity bills. Aaargh! Is your fridge a guzzler? Have you got an A++++ rated fridge? Well that's great, but it isn't the only way to lower the consumption of your fridge. The energy ratings system mea…

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Eliminating the draughts that push up your heating bills

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 November 2010 at 4:58 pm

Eliminating the draughts that push up your heating bills

Leaks and draughts are a guaranteed way of increasing your heating bills. You might as well throw your money on the woodburner! But, the good news is that it's relatively easy to block the worst ones up, and now, with a new gadget it's very easy to find where the worst ones are. …

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Planning an energy efficient renovation

Posted by Tim Pullen on 8 November 2010 at 9:35 am

Planning an energy efficient renovation

Why is it that people starting renovation projects have "so much to think about it is difficult to know where to start"? I am yet to meet a self-builder undertaking a new build that makes that complaint. Maybe the answer is that renovation is not treated with the same consideration and respect a…

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Get ready for winter: make your house cosy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 November 2010 at 9:40 am

Get ready for winter: make your house cosy

Last winter was one of shivering on the sofa, extra jumpers, and exorbitant heating bills. If you haven't already done anything to make your house a bit cosier, and warmer for winter, now's the time to get on and do it. The great news is that there are lots of small, practical and cheap things t…

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Life gets cosy in social housing in Manchester

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2010 at 12:55 pm

Life gets cosy in social housing in Manchester

Warm homes and lower energy bills for tenants have combined with lower carbon emissions from social housing managed by Ashden Award finalist Northwards Housing in Manchester. The company has gone well beyond the minimum standards of energy efficiency required by the Decent Homes programme which i…

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Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2010 at 3:14 pm

Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Electricity consumption has halved at an award-winning Devon school thanks to the energy saving measures it has introduced. Okehampton College’s good practice and leadership role was recognised as it was a finalist at the 2010 Ashden Awards. The college has replaced 3,000 fluorescent lights wit…

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12 things you may not know about the Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 October 2010 at 12:35 pm

12 things you may not know about the Green Deal

The Green Deal is aiming high, with a goal of retrofitting 14m homes in a decade. Minister of state for energy and climate change, Greg Barker spoke in detail about plans at today's online question time event organised by Great British Refurb. Here's some of what was revealed. 1. The green deal w…

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Find out what an energy efficient home really looks like

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 September 2010 at 2:22 pm

Find out what an energy efficient home really looks like

SuperHome owners across the country are throwing open their doors this month to inspire others to reduce the energy needed to run their house. These aren't high tech new builds, but old homes, that the owners have renovated to reduce carbon emissions by at least 60%. Convinced that seeing is beli…

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Poll reveals Government is on the wrong track with Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 August 2010 at 12:01 pm

Poll reveals Government is on the wrong track with Green Deal

The Government is talking to big national retailers about delivering the Green Deal, yet our poll on YouGen found that 84% of people would trust locally-based, specialist suppliers more than national retailers such as M&S, Tesco (15%). The idea for the poll came from Greg Barker saying that "…

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Renewable heat incentive: deeming explained part 2

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 9 August 2010 at 2:11 pm

Renewable heat incentive: deeming explained part 2

In the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) consultation published by the last administration, the incentive will be paid to households against a "deemed" amount of heat, rather than the heat actually used. Put simply, deeming is a method used to estimate how much heat is required to provide comfortab…

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Can Greg Barker, and his Green Deal, make insulation sexy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 July 2010 at 10:56 am

Can Greg Barker, and his Green Deal, make insulation sexy?

Energy efficiency has been the poor relation of British energy policy, according to Greg Barker, minister for climate change in the coalition government. Speaking in the debate on energy efficiency on 30 June, he outlined how he plans to raise its status. He will: 1.    Introduce t…

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The Green Deal: who would you prefer to deliver it?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 July 2010 at 10:56 am

The Green Deal: who would you prefer to deliver it?

For mass take-up of energy saving measures we need effective financing schemes, so we welcome the glimpses of detail on the Green Deal that Greg Barker gave us at the end of June. However, it’s not enough to get a clear view of how the scheme will work. How will it be delivered? Barker said…

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Ashden Award winner an inspiration for community energy schemes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2010 at 12:12 pm

Ashden Award winner an inspiration for community energy schemes

Energy use on the Isle of Eigg is half the national average and carbon emissions have fallen by 47% since the islanders switched to renewable energy. The islanders' pioneering approach has won them the 2010 UK Ashden Award, and you can watch the video case study here. Until Febuary 2008 each …

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Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 June 2010 at 9:02 am

Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

With thick insulation, ground source heat pumps feeding underfloor heating, and solar panels on the roof to power the heat pump, Branscombe village hall in East Devon must be one of the most energy efficient in the country. However, managing an ambitious project like this wasn't an easy task. It …

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Energy efficiency is focus of the Coalition's Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2010 at 9:09 am

Energy efficiency is focus of the Coalition's Green Deal

Domestic insulation is top of Chris Huhne's plans for A Green Deal for housing he said yesterday at the Economist UK Energy Summit. He also touched on the (much awaited) renewable heat incentive as he revealed measures in the pipeline from the self-acclaimed "greenest government ever". To summarise…

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Introduction to draught proofing your home

Posted by Tim Pullen on 9 June 2010 at 8:37 am

Introduction to draught proofing your home

Have you insulated your house, yet some of the rooms are still cold? Draught proofing may be the answer. Two clients I saw in recently both had this complaint and the solution was the same for both. The complaint; a room that has been insulated is still cold. In one case the problem was immedia…

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Tell Dave and Nick what you think of their energy plans

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 June 2010 at 9:22 am

Tell Dave and Nick what you think of their energy plans

The government is asking for our views on its programme for government. We've had a look at its proposed measures for energy and climate change, and our response is below. You can comment too - but get your skates on, they want to hear from us by Thursday 10 June. Our first thought is of motherho…

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Coalition plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 May 2010 at 4:20 pm

Coalition plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency

So now we know what the department of Energy and Climate Change's priorities are. It believes that "climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and …

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Goodby HIPs, Hello EPCs: a homeowners guide

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 21 May 2010 at 10:15 am

Goodby HIPs, Hello EPCs: a homeowners guide

Until yesterday, home sellers had to have a Home Information Pack (HIP) in place before they could put their home on the market. HIPs have now been suspended, pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition. Before the election, the Conservative Party promised a consultation on their complete…

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Why on earth would an energy company want me to use less energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 May 2010 at 2:03 pm

Why on earth would an energy company want me to use less energy?

It's so counter intuitive, I struggle to get my head round it. Why would an energy company want me to use less energy? And, stemming from that, why would the Government use energy companies – whose main interest is surely to sell more energy – to deliver their main energy efficiency measures?&nb…

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The future of home energy advice

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 30 April 2010 at 9:16 am

The future of home energy advice

Regulation of Home Energy Advisers (HEAs) is one of the recommendations of a recent strategy report from the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes has recommended. In addition, strategy document Warm homes, greener homes identified a need for well qualified, regulated HEAs to advise and encou…

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How much loft insulation is enough?

Posted by Tim Pullen on 19 April 2010 at 10:22 am

How much loft insulation is enough?

Everyone understands the need to insulate the loft but few people know how much is enough. The loft is second only to the walls in terms of the proportion of the heat lost at 25%, but it is by far the easiest to deal with. I often get told that the house is “super-insulated” as …

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Does DIY double glazing work?

Posted by Tim Pullen on 14 April 2010 at 9:10 am

Does DIY double glazing work?

Q: Would attaching a 4mm polycarbonate sheet to a single glazed window with magnetic tape (giving an air gap of 3mm) be worthwhile as thermal insulation? Is a 3mm gap too small to be effective? A: A single glazed window will have a U-value of around 5.4W/m2K. A 4mm thick sheet of polycarbonate (a…

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5 tips on choosing a home energy advisor

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 8 March 2010 at 9:35 am

5 tips on choosing a home energy advisor

Every home is different so a visit from a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) or Home Energy Advisor is the best way to get energy efficiency advice. However, choosing the right advisor can be a challenge. A DEA can provide the same energy audit that is legally required if you are selling or l…

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Warm homes, greener homes: the government's vision for 2020

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 March 2010 at 9:32 pm

Warm homes, greener homes: the government's vision for 2020

Reduced energy use, savings on energy bills and more comfortable homes in cold weather are the benefits claimed by government of its household energy management strategy, Warm Homes, Greener Homes launched on Tuesday at Ecobuild by Ed Miliband. Its aims are that: Every home, where practic…

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Energy efficiency a priority: call to politicians

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 March 2010 at 10:05 am

Energy efficiency a priority: call to politicians

Companies and NGOs set a benchmark to measure energy efficiency policy against with the release of an energy efficiency statement yesterday. Signatories included Cooperative Group, Friends of the Earth, Green Building Council, Marks & Spencer, the TUC and YouGen. The statement said: We are fa…

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Renewable energy is coming to a supermarket near you

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 March 2010 at 10:31 am

Renewable energy is coming to a supermarket near you

"I'm just popping down to Tesco for a solar panel" doesn't sound right somehow. Maybe it's just me, but I not sure that the entry of the supermarkets into the renewable energy market is a good thing.  Sainsbury is first out of the starting gates. It opened Home Energy Centres in three of its…

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How to use heating controls to reduce your energy bill

Posted by Tim Pullen on 15 February 2010 at 9:27 am

How to use heating controls to reduce your energy bill

The importance of good controls on the heating system cannot be over-emphasised. There are two main reasons: 1. An analogue room thermostat in the lounge or hall will make the heating system heat the whole house to the same temperature as the air around the thermostat, for the whole time the heat…

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Energy efficiency a priority for M&S home insurance

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 February 2010 at 9:41 am

Energy efficiency a priority for M&S home insurance

Recently I asked whether renewable energy affects your house insurance. In the twittering that followed the blog's publication I discovered a home insurance policy that stands out from the crowd for the approach it takes to energy efficiency. Ever since Stuart Rose announced its Plan A, M&S h…

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500 households to try Pay As You Save schemes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 February 2010 at 8:53 am

500 households to try Pay As You Save schemes

Talk on how to finance making your house more energy efficient has turned to action - that's the good news. The bad news is that it's a small scheme that will only reach about 500 households in five areas of England between December 2009 and April 2011. Households in Birmingham, Sunderland, Londo…

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How to find the best energy efficiency information and advice for your home

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 29 January 2010 at 9:24 am

How to find the best energy efficiency information and advice for your home

Making your home as energy efficient as possible makes sense for many reasons. Whether it's keeping warm, reducing bills or reducing carbon pollution emitted. YouGen is a first resource for many householders, but it's worth looking at where else you can go for help and advice on energy ef…

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Six steps to claiming £400 for a new boiler

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 January 2010 at 12:10 pm

Six steps to claiming £400 for a new boiler

Households with inefficient, old boilers (G-rated) can get £400 off the price of a new A-rated boiler thanks to the new boiler scrappage scheme launched yesterday by Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. You can also put the money towards a renewable heating system such as a biomass boiler or heat pump. …

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Is it worth insulating under the floor boards?

Posted by Tim Pullen on 4 January 2010 at 12:20 pm

Is it worth insulating under the floor boards?

Around 15% of the heat leaving a house exits through the ground floor. And that does not account for the draughts coming up through the floor. So the simple answer is Yes - it is worth insulating under the floor boards. The problem is that, unless you have space to get under the floor boards, it …

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Potential for energy bill savings are huge

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 16 December 2009 at 9:32 am

Potential for energy bill savings are huge

If new boilers were installed in all homes sold in a year, where recommended in the energy performance certificate, it would lead to total cash savings of almost £80 million on energy bills. On the same day last week that the Chancellor announced the boiler scrappage scheme in his pre-budget rep…

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Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2009 at 4:56 pm

Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub

YouGen will be giving away a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub every month for the next year, to thank people who recommend their renewable energy installer on the site. Everyone who makes a recommendation in the month will be entered in the draw. We're especially pleased to be able to offer a Mi…

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Test may lead to fall in cost of running a fridge

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 December 2009 at 9:52 am

Test may lead to fall in cost of running a fridge

Fridges and freezers tend are some of the most expensive home appliances to run,  and least energy efficient, as they constantly draw electricity. A new trial aims to manage the amount of electricity used to reduce carbon emissions associated with fridge use.  Appliances fitted with dyn…

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Pedal power

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 December 2009 at 10:46 am

Pedal power

I've written before about how difficult it is to get a grip on energy, and understand how much it takes to do different things. Well, you really find out when you try to power a whole house for 24 hours just using cycle power. Luckily for those of us whose muscles don't  feel up to the task,…

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Green party promises best finance scheme for microgeneration

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 November 2009 at 11:59 am

Green party promises best finance scheme for microgeneration

Proper insulation for every home and interest-free loans for domestic renewable energy are just some of the policies promised by the Green party if they win the next election. While it would be expensive, says Paula Black, Totnes councillor, and prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for Ex…

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Sash windows can be made energy efficient

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 November 2009 at 11:24 am

Sash windows can be made energy efficient

Traditional timber sash windows are often associated with howling draughts, and are under threat as people replace them with plastic double glazed units. But before you throw yours on the scrapheap, read English Heritage's research which shows that simple repairs and basic improvements can significa…

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