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Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 April 2014 at 9:13 am

Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

If you’re thinking of installing a biomass boiler and are hoping to take advantage of government incentives for renewable heat, then choose your product carefully. I learnt this week that while there are more than 500 biomass boilers MCS-accredited biomass boiler currently listed by Ofg…

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My heat pump heats two properties, is it eligible for domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 April 2014 at 10:03 am

My heat pump heats two properties, is it eligible for domestic RHI?

Q: My property is made up of the principal property that I live in (The Mill), it also has a flat that I rent out (Mill Studio) that is part of the same building but has a separate entrance, electric meter and council tax bill. I fitted 1 x Nibe F1245 water source heat pump replacing 2 x oil boil…

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 31 March 2014 at 8:24 am

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen knows how temperatures can soar. Throwing open the windows and sticking on the fans is the obvious solution. But now an innovative new technology has been developed which harnesses the heat kicked out by stoves and fridges to heat water. …

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I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 March 2014 at 8:41 am

I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Q. My mother is an 87-year old who lives by herself in her own home and is in receipt of pension credit. Her home is run on electricity and she has three storage heaters. One of these broke a while ago and last week the one in the front room broke. She now has just one working heater wh…

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Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 March 2014 at 9:13 am

Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Radiators or underfloor heating? That has been the traditional question asked among those considering installing an air or ground source heat pump. But should we consider a new contender on the market? A study in Sweden has found that heated skirting boards are significantly more effectiv…

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How to get your ideal solar PV system

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 March 2014 at 10:50 am

How to get your ideal solar PV system

The decision to install solar PV panels can be motivated by a number of factors. Whether you’ve had enough of the Big Six et al constantly upping their prices and want a bit of stability or decided that the interest rates on offer from your banks aren't as good as those from solar, ever…

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What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 March 2014 at 8:31 am

What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Q. I have recently bought and moved into a new house. The house was built seven years ago and the energy performance certificate (EPC) dates from 2009. It states approximate bills of £128 lighting, £43 heating and £117 hot water. I thought this was a good guide taking …

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Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 March 2014 at 2:25 pm

Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Test drive a green car, quiz a renewable energy installer and find out about the renewable heat incentive direct from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem. These are just some of the treats on offer at the south west's largest energy efficiency and renewable energy show. …

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Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 March 2014 at 8:48 am

Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Q. I had a 4kWp solar panel system installed on my roof last October and on the face of it, it seems to be working really well. I have the owl intuition system installed and can monitor my system’s output online. What I would like to do now is to compare this output with what I should be ge…

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The slow progress of the domestic RHI: a rough timetable

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 March 2014 at 4:01 pm

Lots of us were hoping that the domestic RHI would go live on 1 April this year. Sadly, that doesn't look possible now. The good news is that I understand that department for environment and climate change (DECC) officials are still confident that it will launch in spring (real spring that is…

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Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Posted by Tom Bradley on 13 March 2014 at 3:01 pm

Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Following the second world war, new homes were urgently needed to replace those destroyed or damaged through the war. One of the options the UK government took was to use the wartime manufacturing and organisation structure to roll out prefabricated housing. 156,623 prefabricated homes had been c…

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How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 March 2014 at 8:47 am

How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Demonstrating your expertise and establishing trust with potential customers is always good for sales, but how do you do it? As all renewable energy installers in the domestic and small scale markets must be MCS accredited, it's no good for helping you stand out from the crowd. Testimonials f…

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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 March 2014 at 8:42 am

Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Q: I have a new red 24 pellet burner. I use one 15kg recyclable plastic bag per day. I live in Flintshire and the authority will not allow collection of plastic recyclables. They suggested I put them in ordinary refuse for landfill! They even said I could drive 12 miles to a skip site. What to do…

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Are new build houses eligible for the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 March 2014 at 9:16 am

Are new build houses eligible for the RHI?

Q: We moved into our new home last April, a new build, can we claim for the RHI as we have an air source heat pump. A: Well, it depends. If you are a self builder, then the answer is yes. You can claim the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). You will need an energy performance certi…

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Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 March 2014 at 11:36 am

Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

PEOPLE on low incomes will still be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation under the government’s proposed changes to the energy company obligation (ECO), announced this week. However, it will be harder for those not on low incomes who live in solid-walled or hard to treat ho…

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How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 March 2014 at 10:46 am

How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Q I am considering creating a new hydropower scheme. Can you please explain how to calculate the feed-in tariff for a small hydropower project? A Under the government’s new community energy strategy, greater financial incentives have become available for groups looking to generate power…

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Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 March 2014 at 8:34 am

Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Hot air rises. Galileo knew it. We know it. And staff at a Dorset soap factory certainly knew it when they shivered in their boots at work each day. That was until someone thought to install a destratification fan which recirculates the warm air that collects at the ceiling, pushing it ba…

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Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 February 2014 at 9:39 am

Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Q We would like to install a wood pellet-powered range cooker and boiler which is fed automatically from a pellet store. Do you know if such a product exists? So far we have only found ones where you have to manually lift the pellets into a hopper and we are getting to an age where we can’t…

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What is the real inflation rate for energy?

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 February 2014 at 12:01 pm

What is the real inflation rate for energy?

There’s been a lot of coverage of increasing energy bills in the media in recent months.  Also I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about the return on investment for solar thermal under the imminent domestic renewable heat incentive. (I like writing ‘imminent’ inst…

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Significant increase in green deal support for solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Significant increase in green deal support for solid wall insulation

Tricky and expensive home insulation work is now eligible for more financial help from the government under changes made to the green deal cashback scheme announced this week. Up to £4,000 is now available for solid wall insulation (up from £650). Up to £1,000 is available f…

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Feed-in tariff rates from 1 April announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 February 2014 at 9:50 am

Feed-in tariff rates from 1 April announced

The new feed-in tariffs from 1 April 2014 are now available. For new applicants after that date the rate will degress (reduce) for the first time since July last year. New installations of 4kW or less will get 14.38p per kWh. Existing recipients of the feed-in tariff will get their annual cost of…

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Data collection demonstrates the value of solar PV

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 19 February 2014 at 9:02 am

Data collection demonstrates the value of solar PV

A recent solar PV blog on YouGen highlighted the importance of making sure that your solar PV system is well managed, well designed and well maintained. We thought we’d illustrate this message with a case study of a solar PV system we installed in a 3 bedroom semi in Hertfordshire at the he…

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Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Posted by Gilly Jones on 17 February 2014 at 9:21 am

Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Our inbox here at YouGen has made it pretty clear to us that many of you would like to make your homes warmer, cosier and cheaper to run, but just don’t know where to start, or that you have taken the first steps but aren’t sure what should do next. Well, help is at hand. We have …

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Air-to air or air-to-water: which air source heat pump is best?

Posted by Graham Hazell on 13 February 2014 at 1:26 pm

Air-to air or air-to-water: which air source heat pump is best?

Air source heat pumps, which have been used extensively for many decades, are an increasingly popular form of heating. They take the heat from ambient, external air. There are two main choices for emitting the heat from an air source heat pump: via air - warm air is blown within …

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Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 February 2014 at 12:10 pm

Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

An abattoir looking for a biogas plant to take away 10 tonnes of sheep guts a week; a willow coppice ready for harvesting; and someone looking for a source of waste heat to warm some greenhouses. These are just a few of the posts that have appeared on the online networking platform, the Renew…

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Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 February 2014 at 3:24 pm

Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Solar panel installers have a two-year window in which to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the government incentives for installations. At least that’s the message from one of the country’s leading solar experts and government advisor on solar energy. Speaking at the Sol…

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There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2014 at 9:01 am

There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Q: We installed a ground source heat pump about 4 years ago and have been waiting to claim RHI to help pay for the cost. We now may have to sell our house before we can claim, and certainly before the full payment has been made. It seems wrong that the benefit passes to the new owner when we…

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Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

The government’s new community energy strategy has been given a lukewarm welcome by groups who have already developed their own community energy schemes. Kevin Frea, part of the Halton Lune community hydro project and a director of LESS CIC, an energy saving community interest…

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New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 February 2014 at 10:28 am

New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Installers of renewable energy technologies will have to complete a compliance certificate for every installation, in order to meet new standards set out by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The certificate is part of a range of measures the MCS has introduced in preparation for…

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Speakers and sponsor confirmed for Solar Energy UK installer roadshow

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 January 2014 at 9:01 am

Speakers and sponsor confirmed for Solar Energy UK installer roadshow

Natural Sparx powered by Rexel Energy Solutions have confirmed as headline sponsors for this year’s Solar Energy UK (SEUK) Roadshow (previously branded as Solar Power UK Roadshow) taking place in six locations across the UK in February. The roadshow, now in its third year, is a series o…

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Domestic RHI: how do we know which products are eligible?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 January 2014 at 9:41 am

Domestic RHI: how do we know which products are eligible?

Q: We received an email yesterday from MCS which had the following paragraph: RHI Products Reminder: The MCS Helpdesk has been receiving an increasing number of phone calls regarding what products will be eligible for the RHI and whether all MCS products do qualify.  Please be a…

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Register for TWO FREE tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show worth £34*

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2014 at 9:08 am

Register for TWO FREE tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show worth £34*



Whether you’re planning to build your own home, add an airy new loft conversion, create a family-friendly kitchen, fit a green heating system or replace tired windows and doors – help is at hand. A visit to The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show will give you all the pr…

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35% of domestic solar systems may be underperforming

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2014 at 11:23 am

35% of domestic solar systems may be underperforming

Some homeowners are getting a significantly lower return on investment from their solar panels than expected according to PassivSystems. The company found that a third of residential solar panels monitored by its home energy management systems are not generating as much electricity as promised. I…

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Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 January 2014 at 9:50 am

Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Q. Is it possible to have a ground source heat pump system linked to air vents rather than radiators and if so, would this be a less expensive option than installing radiators? A. The system you describe is known as a ground-to-air heat pump, as opposed to a ground to water (or 'wet')…

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6 ways to keep the heat in with sash windows

Posted by Chris Newman on 24 January 2014 at 10:15 am

6 ways to keep the heat in with sash windows

Sash windows are inherently draughty. A combination of age, the hollow boxes and the requirement to slide rather than abut all contribute. A single-glazed sash window has a U-value somewhere between the centre pane U-value of around 5.7 and the whole window U-value of around 4.5W/m2K. As a co…

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How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 January 2014 at 9:05 am

How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Once you have decided that you’d like to install a renewable heating system in your home or office, it’s a good idea to write a brief for the project. Rather than detailing all the various technologies you’ll need, a brief is designed to set out your expectations and can be a be…

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Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 January 2014 at 9:28 am

Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Heather Hullah and Jenny Barnes are not your average pensioners. Where other 60-somethings might be thinking about winding down, these two are more likely to be found wielding chainsaws and humping logs in their 2.5 hectare woodland. But then Heather and Jenny’s ex-council house is no l…

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Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 January 2014 at 10:34 am

Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

If you’re considering installing a renewable heating system in your home and would like to take advantage of a one-off grant to help with the cost, then now’s the time to act. The deadline for applying for a renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) is fast approaching with all applic…

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Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Alastair Mumford on 15 January 2014 at 8:47 am

Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Government proposals to change the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) have created substantial uncertainty within the solid wall insulation (SWI) market and highlight the need for companies in the sector to make their voices heard.  With funding set to drop from April 2014, job cuts are predi…

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Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 14 January 2014 at 12:35 pm

Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

YouGen is pleased to support this year's Solar Energy UK Roadshow taking place at six locations across the UK in February. With domestic installations seeing better returns this quarter and the UK continuing as one of the strongest markets in Europe, how will you cope with the deman…

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6 key things to consider when choosing insulation materials

Posted by Chris Newman on 13 January 2014 at 9:09 am

6 key things to consider when choosing insulation materials

1. Insulation myths busted It's never easy knowing which insulation materials to choose, especially with a lot of the guff you see on many TV programmes. In this blog we'll give you some hints and tips to guide you through the quagmire. Starting with a few truths to keep in mind: …

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District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 10 January 2014 at 9:30 am

District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

The difference between the actual and assumed efficiency of district heating networks has come under the spotlight from a number of different sources.  A YouGen reader, Adrian Turner, writes that his system linking three holiday cottages, runs at a disappointing 37 per cent. Bruno P…

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Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 January 2014 at 9:10 am

Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Homebuyers need no longer be put off by draughty homes under government plans to offer one-off grants for energy saving measures.  The proposal, which is yet to be consulted upon, is likely include a £1,000 discount on stamp duty for basic energy efficient measures and up to £…

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Which brand of biomass boiler is best?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 January 2014 at 9:52 am

Which brand of biomass boiler is best?

Q: We are going to put in a log gasification biomass boiler, and while there seem to be many companies out there that can do the job, none of them can provide us with unbiased advice on what is the best boiler. They have one brand /manufacturer that they deal with and proceed to sl…

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Readers' tips of the month - December

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2013 at 10:16 am

Readers' tips of the month - December

"Cut energy first by improved insulation, air tightness and appliance energy efficiency, then install renewables," is the tip from chartered building services engineer, Gary Bennett.  "You will spend less overall to acheive a better end result," he adds. He practices …

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Can I get RHI for my biomass boiler if it's not recommended by the green deal?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2013 at 12:20 pm

Can I get RHI for my biomass boiler if it's not recommended by the green deal?

Q: I have just taken a call from a lady who is considering installing a biomass boiler to replace her current LPG boiler.  A couple of green deal assessors have told her that she will only be eligible for domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) if her green deal assessment report recommends …

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Is my boiler stove eligible for the renewable heat incentive?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2013 at 9:20 am

Is my boiler stove eligible for the renewable heat incentive?

Q: I own and am having installed a Aquatherm ECoF34V boiler stove‏ which seems an extremely substantial piece of Italian kit that should meet MCS criteria but the machine is not MCS certified. There is a considerable amount of money at stake for me personally, and I'm sure the machine wil…

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Solar allowances to change in Northern Ireland

Posted by Andy Baird on 18 December 2013 at 12:01 pm

Solar allowances to change in Northern Ireland

The size of solar installations allowed without applying for permission will reduce from 1 March next year. Under the G83 rules Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) currently allows people to insall arrays of up to 6.5 kWp and 20 kWp on single- and three-phase supplies respectively. This generous a…

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Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 16 December 2013 at 10:10 am

Ground source heat pump warms guests at country house hotel

A newly-installed ground source heat pump is set to save an Elizabethan country house hotel £10,000 a year.  Historic Soulton Hall in Wem, Shropshire, has replaced traditional fossil fuels with two Stiebel Eltron ground source heat pumps, generating green hot water and heating for …

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If I install a biomass boiler now will I definitely get the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2013 at 11:50 am

If I install a biomass boiler now will I definitely get the RHI?

Q: I have had my green deal assessment done and have an EPC and report with my heat requirements. I want to install a log gasification boiler. I seem to be stuck in that the installer wants a 20% deposit to go ahead but I can't seem to get a firm guarantee that I will receive £x for my …

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How to make your windows more energy efficient

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 10 December 2013 at 12:59 pm

How to make your windows more energy efficient

Windows and doors typically account for 20% of all heat loss in a home according to National Insulation Association figures. A leaky single glazed window also has a big impact on comfort thanks both to draughts and the cool temperature adjacent to the window. This is frequently borne out in our e…

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When can I apply to the domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2013 at 10:30 am

When can I apply to the domestic RHI?

People with renewable heating systems installed since 15 July 2009 may have to wait to apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). Last week the government announced its plans to phase the process.  Phasing will enable those who installed without support from the renewable hea…

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Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 6 December 2013 at 9:54 am

Community groups can get the feed-in tariff and grant funding (sometimes)

Q. We are a community group who have received a grant to install some solar PV panels on the roof of our village hall. I understand that receiving a grant disqualifies you from receiving feed-in tariffs – but I’ve also heard that there are some exceptions to this rule. Can you please …

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Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 December 2013 at 11:34 am

Green deal advice to be made easier to understand says Government

For anyone who has been baffled by the amount of technical information available on their green deal advice report, help may be at hand. The government has announced plans to make green deal advice reports clearer and easier to understand, and to contain more information about what support there …

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DIY solar PV installation - is it a good idea?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 4 December 2013 at 9:13 am

DIY solar PV installation - is it a good idea?

Q. I am thinking of building a solar PV system as a project and doing the install myself. I have been told that I would not be able to claim the FIT (feed-in tariff) unless the system was installed by an approved installer, but that as long as the inverter had G83/1 approval I would be able to bu…

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Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 December 2013 at 10:41 am

Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

The government has just announced a series of measures that it claims will reduce the average energy bill by £50, without slashing the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) which adds about £47 to every energy bill.  While we're glad that they haven't done away with ECO t…

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Readers' tips of the month - solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 November 2013 at 9:33 am

Readers' tips of the month - solar PV

We always advocate a bit of rigour in choosing a renewable energy installer and we're not surprised to find that also being recommended by a a retired environmental scientist and chartered town planner.  Steven Shuttleworth installed 16 x 250KWh solar panels last month. They are in t…

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Watch a solar PV installation in double quick time

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2013 at 10:47 am

If you've ever wondered what's involved in a solar PV installation, these timelapse videos made by GenFit will give you a good idea of the process and some of the situations that they can be installed in: Solar PV on a timber shelter at Upton Heath Primary School   4…

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Insulating under the floor - a photo case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2013 at 10:16 am

When insulation is mentioned we tend to think about lofts and walls, but insulating under the floor can make a significant difference too. When we did up our house, we didn't do anything to most of the floors - except lift the carpets and sand them. Since then, annoyed by the howling drau…

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Worried about energy prices? Take control!

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 22 November 2013 at 10:02 am

Worried about energy prices? Take control!

According to the department of energy and climate change's (DECC) public attitudes tracker, 28% of us are giving a lot of thought to saving energy at home and 84% of us are concerned about energy price rises in the future.  This 84% of us are right to be concerned as the majority of the …

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10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2013 at 4:08 pm

10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

The start of this winter's first cold snap really contentrates the mind on ways to keep warm. While you can just turn the heating on for longer, or turn the thermostat up, that's a very expensive way of managing the problem. Luckily, there are other ways of improving the energy efficiency…

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Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 November 2013 at 9:26 am

Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Q. We have had solar thermal and a biomass heating system installed. I have two questions: firstly can we pre-register for the domestic renewable heat incentive, and secondly I have read that you need to be in full time employment to qualify, which seems a bit bizarre. Is that true? A. Provid…

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How closely should the input of an inverter match the output of a solar array?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 18 November 2013 at 10:31 am

How closely should the input of an inverter match the output of a solar array?

Q: How important is it to match the Max DC input of the inverter, to the maximum possible output of the solar array? Some companies have given me quotes where the output/input are miles different. A: It is standard procedure to install an inverter that is up to 20% lower in power rating than …

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Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2013 at 10:16 am

Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

The challenge for green deal providers and installers is to "sell or package" energy efficiency measures as a solution to the trials and tribulations of domestic life according to research published earlier this year by the UK Energy Research Centre.  Researchers debunked the i…

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What is collective switching?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 November 2013 at 11:01 am

What is collective switching?

Q. What is collective switching and should I get involved? A. Collective switching is where a group of individuals club together to negotiate a better deal on their energy bills. While there is no set model for how such a scheme operates, it usually involves a third party such as a local coun…

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How to check that you are getting the most out of your solar panels

Posted by EvoEnergy . on 11 November 2013 at 9:48 am

How to check that you are getting the most out of your solar panels

Q: I am not sure if we are getting the benefit of the solar panels we had fitted in 2011. In short, we appear to be using the same amount of units as we did before the panels were installed. I understand it may be different appliances in the house which are responsible for the increase in ex…

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Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 November 2013 at 8:53 am

Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

A new office block built to exacting environmental standards aims to improve the productivity of its tenants by up to 18 per cent.  The Future Business Centre in Cambridge is a 35,000sq.ft. facility intended to provide a mix of office and workshop units and hot desk facilities for up to …

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Can I get the feed-in tariff for more than one renewable technology

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 November 2013 at 11:41 am

Can I get the feed-in tariff for more than one renewable technology

Q: I have already have installed a solar PV system for which I get a feed-in tariff payment. If I install a micro CHP (combined heat and power) unit, I can get the feed-in tariff for that too? A: Yes, you are eligible to apply for the feed-in tariff for as many renewable energy technologies a…

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Community hydro power project close to realisation

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 November 2013 at 12:20 pm

Community hydro power project close to realisation

The water that is regularly let out of the Dove Stone reservoir used to tumble, unchecked, into the River Tame.  The so-called compensation flow was simply part of United Utilities obligations in maintaining the reservoir and was of scant interest to local residents so long as the water …

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Will I get the same feed-in tariff rate if my solar panels are storm damaged?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 November 2013 at 10:01 am

Will I get the same feed-in tariff rate if my solar panels are storm damaged?

Q: Following on from the 'storm', I was wondering what would happen if any existing registered solar panels were damaged and needed to be replaced. Would they slot into the existing feed-in tariff (we got on to the higher rate before it was changed), or would they be under the new lower r…

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What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2013 at 9:21 am

What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Q: I have a typical 60s semi. Unfortunately I don't have a central heating system (warm air broken down). I am now retired and on pension credit. I have tried to get something done via the Affordable Warmth scheme but all they seem interested in is replacing boilers which I don't have! …

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How to find an energy efficient alternative to American-style fridge freezers

Posted by Amanda Harvey on 31 October 2013 at 9:43 am

How to find an energy efficient alternative to American-style fridge freezers

American-style fridge freezers are often prized as a must-have appliance for a modern kitchen – and the bigger the better it seems! But should you choose a supersized fridge to complete your kitchen or opt for something more energy efficient? Whether you’re planning an entire kitc…

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How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 12:47 pm

How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

One of the key barriers to investing in renewable energy that I identified before I started YouGen is finding an installer that you trust to do a good job. How do you evaluate what they are saying, and compare them. Our response is to invite installers to become YouGen members. This means they ca…

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Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 10:59 am

Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Getting a green deal assessment is meant to be like getting a new prescription for your glasses. Once you have the prescription you can shop around for the style of frames you want and have your prescription made up by any provider.  So, the idea is that you invite a green deal advisor r…

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New solar thermal calculation for domestic RHI increases returns

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 28 October 2013 at 9:26 am

New solar thermal calculation for domestic RHI increases returns

MCS recently published a new calculation method for predicting the energy benefits from solar water heating. The announcement has been eagerly awaited by the solar industry because it will be the way payments are calculated under the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. As we’ll see, the …

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SMA goes zero carbon - how green are your suppliers?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 October 2013 at 9:21 am

SMA goes zero carbon - how green are your suppliers?

While the empasis on selling solar panels over the past few years has been on the financial benefits, I also find it very satisfactory to think about the environmental benefits. It's great that I'm generating free electricity, but I also like knowing that I've reduced the carbon emiss…

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Tansor village hall: a case study of a solar-powered heat pump in a community building

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 October 2013 at 9:27 am

Tansor village hall: a case study of a solar-powered heat pump in a community building

A village hall which is using a lottery grant to install an air source heat pump partially powered by solar panels has come up with a way of still qualifying for the government's feed-in tarrif (FiTs). Under FiT rules, installations that are funded by public money, includin…

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What happens to the feed-in tariff if I move energy supplier?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 October 2013 at 11:31 am

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I move energy supplier?

Q: If I choose to change my present energy supplier (dual fuel), will I be able to leave my feed-in tariff (FiT) payment liability with my original supplier or must I take it with me to the new supplier. In either case will I still receive the same FIT rate as I currently receive.  A: Th…

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MCS deadline for registering legacy renewable heat systems - an update

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 October 2013 at 10:29 am

MCS deadline for registering legacy renewable heat systems - an update

Tomorrow is the deadline by which people who have installed a renewable heating system since 15 July 2009 must ensure that it is registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) if they want to receive the renewable heat incentive. Yet, a quick check this morning reveals th…

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Green gas takes a step closer to your home

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 October 2013 at 10:41 am

Green gas takes a step closer to your home

The possibility of being able to buy truly green gas from the grid, has taken a step closer to realisation thanks to the arrival on the market of a second, certified supplier of 100 per cent green gas.  Ceres Energy has signed up to become the second registered supplier of biomethane und…

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Do self builders need a green deal assessment to claim RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 October 2013 at 9:55 am

Do self builders need a green deal assessment to claim RHI?

Q: We have had a single new house built for us this year and have an air source heat pump. Naturally we would like to apply for the renewable heat incentive when it comes in next year. You said in your blog of 25 July 2013 that you need a green deal assessment to apply unless you are a self-build…

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Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 October 2013 at 11:17 am

Volunteers wanted for trial of heat pump controls

Is it just me, or are heat pumps the most confusing of beasts? I had a Daikin Altherma air source heat pump installed by an MCS registered installer in 2012 to replace a hopelesssly out-of-date storage heating system in a 1950s chalet-style house. Last winter we received electricity bills…

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Installers: would you support a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology?

Posted by Ged Ennis on 14 October 2013 at 10:34 am

Installers: would you support a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology?

Five years ago I approached our local college about developing a level 3 NVQ in renewable technology. My company has worked with them for the past 20 years, taking a variety of apprentices through a range of building-related trade qualifications. I knew the staff well and thought would do somethi…

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I've got RHPP - is it worth applying for RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 October 2013 at 10:07 am

I've got RHPP - is it worth applying for RHI?

Q: I am trying to calculate whether it is going to be worth us applying for RHI (renewable heat incentive) since we have already obtained RHPP (renewable heat premium payment). Am I right in thinking that those with a high efficiency construction, requiring a smaller boiler, will we get less…

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Is all my solar electricity being exported?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 10 October 2013 at 9:22 am

Is all my solar electricity being exported?

Q: I suspect that all the generation from my 3.12 kW Solar photovoltaic panels is being exported as since installation almost 2 years ago my electricity bills have increased rather than reduced despite over 5,000 kWh being generated. How can I check this is the case? A: Any power be…

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Will solar panels affect the warranty on my new build home?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 October 2013 at 9:10 am

Will solar panels affect the warranty on my new build home?

Q: I have a question relating to solar panels and the NHBC warranty on our new build property. We have recently moved in to a new, two bedroom bungalow in Scarborough and thought that we would get a few quotes for solar panels on the roof. On contacting NHBC regarding the 10-year warranty pr…

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How good a deal are solar panels from Ikea?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 October 2013 at 10:46 am

How good a deal are solar panels from Ikea?

Famous for flat-pack furniture and its clean, Scandinavian design, Ikea is a surprise entrant into the solar PV market. With 18 massive stores in the UK it's known for value for money household goods (some would say cheap) and jokes about Allen keys. So would you trust it to sell you solar pa…

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Will installing a wind turbine affect my RHI application for a heat pump?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 October 2013 at 9:36 am

Will installing a wind turbine affect my RHI application for a heat pump?

Q: We have installed a ground source heat pump and will be applying for the renewable heat incentive (RHI). We are now considering installing a wind turbine. How will this interact with our heat pump RHI application, if at all? Our EPC rating will improve with a turbine and as I understand it RHI…

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Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 October 2013 at 3:31 pm

Beat the RHI deadline for MCS registration of renewable heat systems

If your renewable heating system is not registered with the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS), there are still a few things you can do, to ensure that you meet the 22 October 2013 deadline for registration.  If your heating system is not registered on the MCS installation databa…

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Will solar panels affect the sale of my house?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 October 2013 at 12:40 pm

Will  solar panels affect the sale of my house?

Q: I recently purchased a buy to let property with a mortgage and would like to know my options for solar panels. I would be buying the panels outright but I am unsure as to whether I can benefit from the feed in tariff as my property has a mortgage. Also would there be issues with re-selling the…

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Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 September 2013 at 10:15 am

Smart meters: too smart for our own good?

A survey by the Energy Saving Trust has found that almost three quarters of respondents support the installation of smart meters in their homes.  But commentators are warning that the meters pose risks to individual privacy and national security.  The survey, conducted ahead of …

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Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 September 2013 at 9:22 am

Are there really brand new boilers available free of charge?

Q: I have had a phone call from someone offering me a brand new boiler, absolutely free. Is this a scam? A: The phone rings and someone on the end of the line offers you a brand new boiler - absolutely free.  Naturally you are sceptical. After months of unsolicited calls offering you…

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How is the seasonal performance factor of my heat pump calculated?

Posted by Graham Hazell on 26 September 2013 at 9:09 am

How is the seasonal performance factor of my heat pump calculated?

Q: I am still unclear how the seasonal performance factor (SPF) of my heat pump is calculated for the purposes of making tariff payments under forthcoming domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). Is it simply based on the manufacturers' claims or is there some way of calculating it from real …

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How to make the most of bio-energy

Posted by Stewart Boyle on 25 September 2013 at 9:18 am

How to make the most of bio-energy

Bio-energy (or biomass) tends to divide a generally pro-renewables audience. Fed by countless images of rainforest destruction, ‘Fuel vs Food’ slogans, and general suspicion of anyone who chops down trees, bio-energy has its fans but its detractors. ‘Do we have enough fuel?&rsqu…

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Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 September 2013 at 9:15 am

Deadline to register your renewable heat installation looming

The government has issued a deadline for registering renewable heat installations under the microgeneration certification scheme (MSC). The deadline, of 4pm on October 22, 2013, applies to all renewable heat installations made since July 15, 2009. If you believe your installation has yet …

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How to choose internal solid wall insulation

Posted by Chris Newman on 23 September 2013 at 9:37 am

How to choose internal solid wall insulation

10 million properties in the UK which are solid walled. This accounts for slightly less than half of the total properties. Energy loss through the walls accounts for around one third of all wasted energy in solid walled properties and with rising energy costs and tougher building regulations …

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Is YouGen on the right track? We'd like to know (good or bad!)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 23 September 2013 at 8:02 am

Is YouGen on the right track? We'd like to know (good or bad!)

YouGen has been up and running for more than four years now and we’re drawing up exciting plans for YouGen mark two, which we hope to build next year. We want to make sure that it delivers all the help and support you need both before and after you tackle an energy project. And, of cour…

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How to choose low energy lightbulbs

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 20 September 2013 at 9:20 am

How to choose low energy lightbulbs

Somewhere between 16 and 19 per cent of global power consumed is used for lighting so it makes sense to look at how efficiencies can be made. Traditional lightbulbs, also known as incandescent bulbs (for the purposes of this blog this includes halogens), work by passing electricity through a …

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Another gong for YouGen!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 September 2013 at 9:01 am

Another gong for YouGen!

It's not like us to blow our own trumpets but - PARP! - we did just want to say how proud we are to have been named Green Business of the Year at an award ceremony for women in business. Our founder Cathy Debenham also reached the finals of the Inspirational Woman category of this year's …

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Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 September 2013 at 9:23 am

Biomass 'best heating solution' for businesses

Converting your business to biomass heating has the potential to deliver some of the most significant and cost-effective carbon savings of all renewable heating technologies, The Carbon Trust has claimed. In its guide, Biomass heating: A practical guide for potential users, the Carbon Trust s…

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