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How can I future-proof my heating and hot water?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 17 June 2013 at 10:04 am

How can I future-proof my heating and hot water?

Q: I need to upgrade my heating and hot water system.  I am on mains gas and will move to an unvented system. I have looked at heat pumps but the size and location of my property does not seem to make this a sensible choice at the moment.  I even considered a thermodynamic solar pa…

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Risks identified for buyers as two-tier market for heat pumps emerges

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 14 June 2013 at 10:04 am

Risks identified for buyers as two-tier market for heat pumps emerges

With the uncertainty caused by another delay to the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme, we are seeing a two-tier market for heat pumps emerge, where some people are opting for the cheaper option of using products and installers who are not accredited under the microgeneration certific…

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How important is the efficiency of solar panel?

Posted by Chris Jardine on 13 June 2013 at 10:05 am

How important is the efficiency of solar panel?

A more efficient solar panel is a better one, right?  Well arguably, but it doesn’t necessarily make it the most appropriate choice for use in any given situation. That's why I'm starting my series on what is the ‘best’ solar panel by looking at the sometimes c…

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Is the UK low carbon heat industry ready to deliver? A case study of a customer who can't buy a heat pump

Posted by Jennifer Arran on 10 June 2013 at 9:16 am

Is the UK low carbon heat industry ready to deliver? A case study of a customer who can't buy a heat pump

Is the renewable heat industry ready to deliver? This critical question was raised by the most recent interviews in our on-going research program. The Microgen Insight Service carried out in-depth phone interviews with owner-occupiers on- and off-gas, including a a small number of …

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What is the feed-in tariff rate with inflation rise?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 June 2013 at 10:09 am

What is the feed-in tariff rate with inflation rise?

Q: My PV installation is now 2.5 years old. The feed-in tariff (FIT) is supposed to rise with inflation each year but wherever I search on the web I can only seem to find the rates for new installations. I am registered with Scottish and Southern who no longer provide a breakdown of payments and …

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Have pigeons been playing on your solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 June 2013 at 9:57 am

Have pigeons been playing on your solar panels?

"We had our solar panels installed in January last year and are very pleased with their efficiency," writes a YouGen reader. "However, something that no-one mentioned to us is that we would be plagued by pigeons thereafter. "They have become a complete pest with both noise…

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What makes an energy efficient vaccum cleaner?

Posted by Ross Lammas on 3 June 2013 at 9:21 am

What makes an energy efficient vaccum cleaner?

We typically spend one hour a week vacuuming according. Although rather dull, this fact makes it easy to work out how much it costs in electricity usage.  You simply look for your vacuum cleaner's motor power, which is usually quoted in watts, then use Sust-it’s energy calculator t…

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Reader's tip of the month - May 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 May 2013 at 11:13 am

Reader's tip of the month - May 2013

Retired, and living in a detached dorma bungalow built in the 1960s with almost no insulation, Tony Seaford and his wife were interested in reducing their domestic carbon footprint as much as they could without moving. "After double glazing and cavity wall insulation, we spent £800…

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Which is the the best heat pump?

Posted by Graham Hazell on 30 May 2013 at 11:47 am

Which is the the best heat pump?

“Which is the best heat pump, in your view?” is the question I’m most frequently asked by callers to the Heat Pump Association's information desk. I usually turn the question back and ask them, in their view, which is the best car. Straight away they ask “what do you w…

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Can I charge my tenants for solar generated electricity?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 28 May 2013 at 9:01 am

Can I charge my tenants for solar generated electricity?

Q: I have a property which is a farmhouse with attached barn conversion. I live in the barn and I rent out the attached house to tenants. The two properties are on one electric supply and we have PV array on the barn roof with meters in both properties so we can monitor who uses how much electric…

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How does underfloor heating work? Your questions answered

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 24 May 2013 at 9:52 am

How does underfloor heating work? Your questions answered

What is underfloor heating? Underfloor heating can be either a system that pumps warm water through piping under the floor (a ‘wet’ system) or electric coils placed under the floor (a ‘dry’ system). Taking advantage of the basic principle that heat rises, warmth from u…

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What happens to the FIT if your solar panels are destroyed in a fire?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 May 2013 at 9:48 am

What happens to the FIT if your solar panels are destroyed in a fire?

Q: We fitted  a 3.2kw solar panel system in August 2011 were on the higher levy (feed-in tariff rate). We had a house fire in March 2012 and rebuilt the house putting a complete new system on it. We notified British Gas, who we signed up with about the fire and they said notify them when we …

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How free biomass boiler deals may lose businesses £23k a year

Posted by Amanda Hobbins on 21 May 2013 at 10:37 am

How free biomass boiler deals may lose businesses £23k a year

Companies offering free biomass boilers to replace your oil- or LPG-fired boiler take the Government’s Non-Domestic RHI tariff payments instead of up-front payment for the installation. This is fine if you really can’t afford to buy your biomass boiler yourself, and you’ll still…

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DECC doubles upfront grants for renewable heat technologies

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 May 2013 at 3:32 pm

More help with the upfront cost of installing renewable heat is now available as the Department of Energy and Climate Change announces a doubling of the Renewable Heat Premium Payments. These money off vouchers have been increased to: £2,300 for ground source heat pumps £2,0…

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Will solar PV power my underfloor heating?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 20 May 2013 at 9:29 am

Will solar PV power my underfloor heating?

Q: We are having a 4kW solar pv system fitted. We are also considering electrical underfloor heating. After reading some very interesting pages on your site I am beginning to wonder if electrical underfloor heating is the best option as this will mainly run when it is dark? Is my thinking flawed …

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How do I find the best performing heat pump?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 May 2013 at 9:35 am

How do I find the best performing heat pump?

Q: There is a great deal of information on the Internet as regards heat pumps but no information about recommended manufacturers of ground source heat pumps. Please can you help me. I would like someone to recommend which ground source heat pump ie Kensa, Nibe Danfoss performs best. A: Good q…

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Old House Eco Handbook: a review

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 May 2013 at 11:15 am

Old House Eco Handbook: a review

Old houses can be green. This is the title of the first chapter of Old House Eco Handbook: a practical guide to retrofitting for energy-efficiency & sustainability by Marianne Suhr & Roger Hunt. It's an encouraging start, as not everyone believes it's possible, and as a result too…

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Who deals with claims on an inverter warranty?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 May 2013 at 10:52 am

Who deals with claims on an inverter warranty?

Q:I have a quote for the installation of solar panels. The quote says that the inverter is guaranteed for 10 years and that the guarantee is directly with the manufacturer; ie the installer does not wish to be involved in any guarantee claims. Is this normal? Is this contrary to the Sale of Goods…

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How voltage affects solar PV

Posted by James Page on 13 May 2013 at 9:40 am

How voltage affects solar PV

As most people will know mains voltage in the UK is  - nominally - 230V (it was 240V until we compromised with the European 220V supply).  But why does it change in both time and place even within mainland Britain? The answer to both stems from Ohm’s law. The voltage drop in t…

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Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV to fall by 3.5% from 1 July 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 May 2013 at 12:25 pm

Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV to fall by 3.5% from 1 July 2013

Feed-in tariff rates for all solar PV installations under 50kWp will fall by 3.5% from 1 July, even though the  levels of installation to trigger a fall has not been reached. Under the government's rules the three monthly degression can be skipped for two quarters if uptake is low, after…

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