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View blog posts for category: General

How green is nuclear?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 June 2016 at 5:30 pm

How green is nuclear?

It turns out that green can be a tricky colour to define. For many of us, it means sustainable, clean and good for the planet.  So, is nuclear energy harmful to the planet or is it in fact a good, “green” option? In a way, it is both. Against Nuclear We are often…

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Greenwashing - how do you spot and avoid green fakery?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 15 June 2016 at 11:50 am

Greenwashing - how do you spot and avoid green fakery?

Beware green fakery! It is common to see a company, government or other group promote environmental initiatives. But how many of them actually subscribe to such environmentally friendly values? Many companies spout green rhetoric, but their actual business practices are counter to the claims …

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Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 June 2016 at 4:05 pm

Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

When you invest in solar panels, you want to know that you will be getting a good deal. Most installers deal reputably with their customers, but there will always be a few who do not. Sometimes a company might not be reliable, other times the deal they offer might actually be a con. Three fra…

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Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2016 at 1:55 pm

Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Ofgem has published an updated set of guidelines for schools and community organisations applying for the renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT). There have been a variety of changes to this scheme over the last few years, so this document sets out the current procedure for these organisations…

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Reforming the business energy tax landscape

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 June 2016 at 9:30 am

Reforming the business energy tax landscape

In the summer budget of 2015 the government announced a review to examine the energy efficiency taxes currently levied on businesses. The proposed changes were centred on streamlining the various taxes related to energy efficiency and climate change. Different businesses had previously been subje…

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Retrofit Pattern Book shares details it's vital we get right

Posted by Anna Carlini on 27 May 2016 at 11:50 am

Retrofit Pattern Book shares details it's vital we get right

The Retrofit Pattern Book is bringing tried and tested retrofit techniques out into the open. An online, open-source site for technical information, it is designed as a platform for designers and manufacturers to show their best practical detail to others. I had a phone call with Charlie Baker of…

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How do energy suppliers compare for green energy generated?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 May 2016 at 1:45 pm

How do energy suppliers compare for green energy generated?

Q. I am keen to switch energy providers but the one I favour says it cannot tell me how much of its energy is generated from green sources. This is an important criterion for me and I am a little suspicious of this company's supposed ignorance. Is there a definitive information source that st…

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Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

Posted by Alex Barrett on 17 May 2016 at 11:05 am

Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

The government has succeeded in scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes policy, despite opposition in the House of Lords. Last week we reported on the attempt by the lords to reinstate some of the zero carbon homes measures in an amendment to the housing and planning bill. This sparked additional deb…

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Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 May 2016 at 12:40 pm

Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Would you like your home transformed into a net-zero energy house, generating its own energy, all retrofit in less than a week and at no upfront cost to yourself? Well Energiesprong may become the answer to your prayers. What is Energiesprong?  Energysprong, meaning “energy lea…

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House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2016 at 2:05 pm

House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

In July of 2015 the government controversially scrapped planned building regulations that would have made all new houses “zero carbon” from 2016. Now there may be hope for zero carbon homes after all, as the House of Lords has moved to block the bill. The government set out to rel…

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M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 3 May 2016 at 12:10 pm

M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

The Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund has reopened for a second year. This scheme is intended to fund community energy projects across the UK. £350,000 will be split between a variety of renewable energy projects in different regions of the UK. The fund is open to not for profit organ…

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Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 April 2016 at 1:35 pm

Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

The National Infrastructure Commission has recently completed a study into the UK’s energy sector. The Smart Power report, published in March 2016 sets out a series of recommendations to replace aging UK infrastructure with “smart technologies” aimed at balancing supply and dema…

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Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 27 April 2016 at 12:25 pm

Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

The amount of energy which the UK generates from renewable sources is growing. Government figures suggest that in 2015 renewable sources contributed 17.8 TWh, 23.5 % of total UK generation [1]. However there are some countries which are well ahead of the UK when it comes to producing renewable en…

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How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 April 2016 at 10:30 am

How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

I know what you are thinking, ‘what’s the point’, but calculating your baseload is the first step to monitoring our energy use. It can also expose inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your use. For example, it isn’t unheard of for people to find that they are paying for…

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Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 April 2016 at 8:10 pm

Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

An ambitious project is underway to test the limits of solar powered transportation. The aim of the Solar Impulse project is fairly straightforward: Circumnavigate the Earth in a plane powered only by solar power. Completing that goal has required an astounding feat of engineering. The Solar …

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National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

Posted by Alex Barrett on 21 April 2016 at 11:40 am

National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

The Green Deal was set up to encourage homeowners to install green technologies and energy saving measures. The scheme was launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2012 and provided loans to fund the installation of green measures. These were then paid off using the energy bills…

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Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Posted by Anna Carlini on 15 April 2016 at 4:45 pm

Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Al Gore gives an uplifting and inspiring TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk to answer his own three questions:   Do we have to change in the face of climate change? Can we change? Will we change?  The former Vice President of the US and No…

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Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 April 2016 at 3:30 pm

Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

New government spending cuts will impact two organisations working to promote sustainable logging, and the reduction on CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations. The current government has a bad track record on sustainability. They have removed support for onshore wind farms, reduced subsidie…

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Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 12 April 2016 at 9:30 am

Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Empower Energy, a UK based installer of Solar panels and YouGen member, is running a competition to win a Tesla Powerwall battery. The competition is open to people anywhere in the UK, but entrants do need to already have a Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) system installed on their property. The…

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Zero Carbon Hub closed down

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 April 2016 at 12:30 pm

Zero Carbon Hub closed down

The Zero Carbon Hub has ceased operation as of the 31 March 2016. Industry funding for the organisation was withdrawn after the government decided to abandon targets on zero carbon housing last year. A statement from the zero carbon hub has now announced that the organisation has ceased opera…

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A message from the sun

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 1 April 2016 at 11:25 am

A message from the sun

Here at YouGen we are no stranger to recording our Solar PV data. Each day we like to record our daily kWp. Nothing stood out as unusual until we noticed the centre value of last month... Thinking that 6.66 was strangely close to 666 (aka the number of the beast), we decided to do a litt…

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'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Posted by David Dean on 24 March 2016 at 12:05 pm

'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Recently, my energy supplier contacted me to remind me that my contract was coming to an end. Rather helpfully, they clearly laid out the various alternatives that were available to me: • Sign up to the new, cheaper deal they were offering – providing me with a saving of £89 …

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Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

Posted by Anna Carlini on 18 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

We wrote last July on the government scrapping new regulations that would have meant all houses built from 2016 would need to be carbon neutral. The regulations were first announced in 2006 and were therefore scrapped in the ninth year of a ten-year plan. But now the House of Lords have thrown th…

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Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 16 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

A report by Which? magazine has found that potentially hundreds of thousands of energy meters throughout the UK may be malfunctioning. Both electricity meters and gas meters have been found to be faulty, leading to incorrect bills and over or undercharging. On average 24% of gas meters tested sin…

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DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 March 2016 at 12:30 pm

DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

On 3 March DECC announced changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive. These are detailed below. They also launched a consultation to underpin the changes, and to contribute to a second round of changes likely to come in later in the year. Changes now: Amending the regulation which requir…

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The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 4 March 2016 at 1:30 pm

The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

I know most people thought the Green Deal was dead and buried when the government announced in July 2015 that they wouldn’t provide any more support to the Green Deal Finance Company. But there was still some support for it within DECC and some legacy projects still required some Green Deal…

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TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

Posted by Anna Carlini on 3 March 2016 at 12:40 pm

TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

The number of people renting in the UK is soaring each year, a figure which the UK charity "Shelter" says has currently reached 9 million people.[1] The number is increasing so rapidly it is thought that by 2025 more than half of under 40 year olds will be living in properties owned by …

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SSE to deliver 5.3% gas price cut from 29 Mar 2016

Posted by Anna Carlini on 2 February 2016 at 10:15 am

 SSE to deliver 5.3% gas price cut from 29 Mar 2016

SSE has followed in the footsteps of E.On and cut its standard gas tariff by a slightly higher 5.3%. This comes amid calls for energy giants to pass on some of the savings from the fall in price of wholesale gas which is down by 51% since the end of 2013. They claim that this cut will re…

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Cold homes persist as high energy costs and energy efficiency grant cuts bite

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 1 February 2016 at 11:40 am

Cold homes persist as high energy costs and energy efficiency grant cuts bite

This weekend, people will die of cold in their own homes, or perhaps not die of cold, but of a pre-existing medical condition which is exacerbated by living in a cold home. Finally the energy companies are beginning to reduce their fuel costs, but mostly too late for any benefit this winter. …

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What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 January 2016 at 9:40 am

What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Tariff Information Labels (TILs) were introduced in 2014 by Ofgem to provide clarity to customers when they are shopping for the best energy deal. They include everything you need to know to understand the energy plan and compare costs between tariffs. The top section of the TIL has to includ…

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Are you paying too much for your energy?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 25 January 2016 at 10:45 am

Are you paying too much for your energy?

Oh, how many times have I thought about this? Back in 2012 Cathy Debenham promoted switching energy supplier. Well now there is even more reason to switch, because we are all paying TOO MUCH! It turns out that most of our energy companies are overcharging us. And there really is nothing to st…

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E.On announces 5.1% cut in gas prices

Posted by Anna Carlini on 21 January 2016 at 11:30 am

E.On announces 5.1% cut in gas prices

Energy Provider E.On has just announced a 5.1% cut in their gas prices. It is the first of the 'big six' energy providers to make cuts in the last six months. It is long-awaited news, but not everyone is greeting it with open arms. British Gas lowered their gas prices by 5% in Au…

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Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 January 2016 at 10:05 am

Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof fully or partly covered in vegetation. It is a layered system. You'll need a strong, waterproof, roots-resistant membrane at the bottom, then a growing medium like soil, then finally the vegetation on top. In some climates they also include an …

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Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 January 2016 at 10:50 am

Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Whether it’s building a house or laying the foundations for your new conservatory or for stabilising your new solar ground array there is no denying that concrete is a fantastic building material. Concrete is: Economical with readily available ingredients Long lasting and low …

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Renewable energy tops our wish list for more national infrastructure

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 January 2016 at 9:45 am

Renewable energy tops our wish list for more national infrastructure

What do we the public want from the new National Infrastructure Commission? Actually many of us want renewable energy.  A recent survey of 2,000 members of the public identified that 43% wanted renewable energy to be our investment priority for the UK , followed by 39% highlighting housebuil…

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Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 6 January 2016 at 4:45 pm

Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Airbricks are hollow, vented blocks that are placed into walls to allow for air circulation in the subfloor of houses with suspended timber floor. This air circulation is designed to prevent the underfloor space becoming damp and stale. Damp problems can occur if airbricks are blocked, flooded, c…

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How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 January 2016 at 12:30 pm

How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

  Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) could be happening sooner than we had anticipated. Nissan and energy powerhouse Enel announced at the Paris climate change summit (COP21) that they have teamed up to test trial a V2G system in Denmark.[1] The V2G system will integrate electric vehicles (EVs) and th…

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What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 December 2015 at 10:40 am

What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

On Saturday 12th December 2015, as the climate conference in Paris came to a close, one day later than planned, many people sighed with relief that finally an agreement had been reached. The outcome: A commitment to aim to hold global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels …

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What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 10:30 am

What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

  What is living off-grid? In the simplest sense living off-grid is a life-style choice where you make yourself less dependent on public utilities and national infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, phone and internet lines.  Why would you want to live …

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Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 16 December 2015 at 11:15 am

Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

I stole solar panels off my neighbours’ roof this morning. It was daylight robbery.   Wind turbines. I'm a big fan.   Many scientists agree the only way to solve the planet's worsening energy crisis is for the whole world to convert to solar…

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Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

Posted by Gordon Glass on 11 December 2015 at 3:50 pm

Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

The government has just launched a consultation related to a possible hike in VAT from 5% to 20% for a number of energy saving and renewable energy products. Any companies who supply and/or install such products into residential accommodation are invited to respond. As we wrote back in June, …

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How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 9 December 2015 at 2:05 pm

How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

The amount of mass that is carbon within a tree is approximately 50%. To calculate how much CO2 this represents, times your carbon by 3.6. Now to the hard bit - WARNING - this involves maths! Calculating the amount of carbon sequested by a tree is a tricky business - the species, location and…

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Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 December 2015 at 1:10 pm

Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

One of our readers recently responded to our blog on "When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?" with the following email: Dear YouGen, Regarding your article about the National Grid being unable to absorb excess power generated by renewable source…

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David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 December 2015 at 3:40 pm

David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

In a fascinating and inspiring TED (Technology, Enertainment, Design) talk David Mackay, an engineer and physicist at Cambridge University, talks us through how much space would be needed to power the entire UK as stands (with its petrol cars, gas boilers, electricity from coal etc) from renewabl…

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UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 November 2015 at 10:05 am

UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the UN climate change summit or COP 21, starts today (30 Nov 2015) in Paris. What is the aim of COP 21? The conference will bring together governments from 19…

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200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 November 2015 at 11:30 am

200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Are you looking forward to the spending review on Wednesday? Do you think there will be anything positive for energy efficiency or renewables?  Many of us are thinking the opposite. The only way this can go for Climate Change, is badly. We all know that we are living in an age of austeri…

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How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 November 2015 at 12:15 pm

How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

We're in Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (16 - 22 Nov 2015. Left undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas with no smell or taste. It is produced through the incomplete burning of carbon fuels... Potential…

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Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 13 November 2015 at 12:45 pm

Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Britain is on course to miss a key renewable energy target according to Amber Rudd.  The Energy secretary has written to government colleagues to admit that we cannot meet the target and that we may incur the wrath of the EU if we don’t do more. We have a legally binding target to …

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For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 November 2015 at 3:05 pm

For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

You will have noticed that we have recently been posting quite a bit of information about Community Energy.  These are schemes which are usually Community-led and often involve off-site energy generation.  Some focus more on energy efficiency, and often those which focus on generation s…

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Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 November 2015 at 10:03 am

Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Earthship Brighton, the off-grid eco-building project, is crowdfunding to increase its impact. If successful, the fundraising will provide improved Earthship facilities, allowing the coordinators to run eco-education events and natural building courses to even greater effect. The Low Carbon T…

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