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View blog posts for category: General

Electricity meters about to get smarter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 May 2009 at 1:55 pm

Electricity meters about to get smarter

A smarter grid, more suitable for transmitting renewable energy, is a step closer with the Government’s announcement on Monday that every home in the UK must have a smart meter installed by 2020.Smart meters transmit and receive information from your electricity or gas supplier in real time. This …

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What's the point of a cavity wall?

Posted by Tim Pullen on 5 May 2009 at 2:30 pm

What's the point of a cavity wall?

Once again I recently surprised a client by suggesting that single-skin timber-frame wall construction would be a good idea. Shock and horror hardly describe it. It was like I suggested that his children be sold into slavery to fund the new home. But think about it, what is the point of the cavity? …

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Kevin McCloud champions energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 April 2009 at 8:03 pm

Kevin McCloud champions energy efficiency

Self-build guru Kevin McCloud has added his weight to the call for more energy efficient homes, with the launch of the Grand Designs Great British Refurb campaign. While we know and love him for bringing the ups and downs of building a dream home into our living rooms, Kevin is focusing firmly on ex…

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YouGen community starts here

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 April 2009 at 9:52 am

YouGen community starts here

Last week a dream became reality for me. Three and a half years after I threw my hands in the air and bought a condensing gas boiler because, despite days of research, I couldn't be sure whether the various biomass boilers suppliers were trying to sell me were appropriate for my house; whether there…

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Great British Refurb gets the thumbs up

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 April 2009 at 2:34 pm

Great British Refurb gets the thumbs up

Generating your own renewable energy, increased energy efficiency and whole-house eco-makeovers received the thumbs up from the UK public yesterday, according to new research. The survey aimed to establish what is needed for the public to take action to install renewable energy and generation and en…

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Renewable energy made normal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 April 2009 at 8:19 am

Renewable energy made normal

Congratulations to the Forestry Commission in Wales which is doing a great job of bringing renewable energy into the mainstream. We had a well-earned rest over Easter at Nant yr Arian, near Aberystwyth. Though our main reason for going there was the excellent mountain bike tracks they've built there…

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Every home a low-carbon home

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 April 2009 at 1:55 pm

Every home a low-carbon home

Friends of the Earth reacted to Gordon Brown's promise today that he would set out measures to make Britain a world leader in producing and exporting electric cars in this month's budget with calls for investment in renewable energy. "Gordon Brown's electric dream is commendable but essent…

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Blueprint for feed-in tariffs proposed by industry

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 March 2009 at 11:58 am

Blueprint for feed-in tariffs proposed by industry

The renewable energy industry presented its proposals for how feed-in tariffs could best be introduced to energy minister Mike O’Brien last week. Last year’s Energy Act outlined plans for a feed-in tariff to pay microgenerators for the electricity and heat that they produce from April 2010. The …

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Will feed in tariffs deliver for us?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 27 March 2009 at 7:38 am

Will feed in tariffs deliver for us?

I spent most of yesterday at a conference about feed in tariffs, the new incentive mechanism proposed for renewable energy technologies from next April (2010) to replace the existing grant regime. It was organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) It is encouraging to see the government …

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Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 March 2009 at 11:16 am

Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Comparing costs of different renewable technologies and working out potential savings in cash and carbon has just got a whole lot easier. Encraft has developed a range of calculators that help you work out all the figures, so that you can see what's best for your house much more easily. Anyone can u…

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Maldives to be powered by wind and solar

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 March 2009 at 10:35 am

Maldives to be powered by wind and solar

The President of the Maldives has set an example for the world by announcing that his country will be carbon-neutral within a decade. Half a square kilometre of rooftop solar panels, 155 large wind turbines and a biomass plant burning coconut husks will generate the electricity the island country ne…

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Stupid, or not stupid?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 March 2009 at 9:20 am

Stupid, or not stupid?

I went to the premiere of The Age of Stupid on Sunday night. That's a first for me, having never been to a premiere before. But I didn't walk down the green carpet in Leicester Square - just a trip to Exeter Picture House - where we watched what was going on in London, before the simultaneous showin…

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Planning for solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 March 2009 at 11:59 am

Planning for solar panels

Living in a listed building or conservation area doesn't mean that you can't have solar panels, as Anne Robbins' experience shows. You may, however, need determination and energy, and money for an appeal, if you want to leap over all the planning hurdles. Anne lives in a conservation area in Gre…

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Scots make renewable energy easier

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 February 2009 at 11:06 am

Scots make renewable energy easier

The Scottish Government has made it easier for people to get renewable energy for their home following a consultation on planning reform. The aim of the consultation was to increase renewable energy generation and cut carbon emissions. The result is that anyone living in Scotland will be able to ins…

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Living the green dream

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2009 at 2:15 pm

Living the green dream

Comfort and beauty don’t have to go out of the window in pursuit of energy efficiency and low carbon living. It is possible to live in beautiful luxury, with barely a fossil fuel involved. Banish all thoughts of The Good Life, I know it’s true, I’ve just seen the evidence. R…

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Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2009 at 9:07 am

Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Large scale use of renewables are part of the Conservative party's plans for a low carbon economy published last week. With a feed-in tariff, they hope homes, businesses, schools and hospitals will contribute the electricity they produce into the national grid, earning money in the process. To m…

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Renewable energy grants still available

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2009 at 9:23 am

Renewable energy grants still available

Homeowners who want to install energy generating equipment such as solar panels, wind turbines or biomass boilers will be able to apply for grants until June 2010. It is anticipated that a feed-in tariff should be in place by then, which will incentivise homeowners and communities to invest in micro…

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Monbiot launches war on Agas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2009 at 10:34 am

Monbiot launches war on Agas

Agas are the antithesis of energy efficiency and renewable energy, so when I heard on the Today programme this morning that George Monbiot has launched a war on Agas in today's Guardian a lightbulb pinged on. Why didn't I use Agas as the ultimate example of the heart winning over head in yester…

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Bring some heart into renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 January 2009 at 4:31 pm

Bring some heart into renewable energy

I’m fascinated by the psychology of how we spend money. Is it our heads or our hearts that rule? While we probably like to think of ourselves as rational, logical human beings – and we even sometimes spend lots of time researching things to back up our beliefs – my feeling is that the he…

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Microgeneration makes you feel good

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2009 at 10:55 am

Microgeneration makes you feel good

What makes you feel good? For me, the sun is one of many things. When it pops it's head out on a cloudy day life just perks up. When it streams through my office window on a winter's afternoon, not only am I warmer, but I feel better, and I think I get more done. Watching it light up the hills as i…

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Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 January 2009 at 4:21 pm

Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Part of the difficulty of encouraging people to invest in low-carbon living is the difficulty of imagining what it will be like. Too much of the media coverage paints a picture of deprivation and hair shirts, leaving us shivering at the thought, and tempted to stick our heads in the sand. Now a…

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Welcome to YouGen

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2008 at 5:29 pm

This is a great week for YouGen to go live, as renewable energy is high on the international agenda. On Tuesday EU leaders agreed that a fifth of Europe’s energy mix should come from renewable sources by 2020. Politicians and green campaigners alike welcomed the decision (“a ray of hope admidst …

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Feed-in tariff likely to boost microgeneration

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 November 2008 at 10:44 am

How lovely (and how rare) to be applauding an announcement from the Government. Not only has the newly appointed energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, just committed the UK to the 80 per cent cuts in greenhouse gases by 2050 that scientists say we need, but he’s also promised a feed-…

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A mini power station in every building

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 August 2008 at 10:17 am

Renewable energy is at the heart of new proposals to solve the triple crunch of the credit crisis, climate change and high oil prices. The goal of ‘every building a power station’ is just one of the ideas outlined in the recently published. A Green New Deal. The proposals put forward by t…

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