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Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 2:34 pm

Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

My wife and I have been considering installing some form of renewable energy for several years. With teenagers in the house, a boiler and hot water tank that needed replacing we opted to install a solar heated hot water system. Since the installation of a 30 tube collector and a 300 litre dual co…

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Vote for your favourite

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 12:18 pm

Vote for your favourite

We asked for your stories on how you've managed to keep warm at home while spending less. This week we published the five shortlisted stories, and we're asking you, our readers, to choose the winner (they will get a Black & Decker thermal heat detector). These are the blogs: DIY double gla…

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DIY double glazing solves chills in a Victorian semi

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 9:33 am

DIY double glazing solves chills in a Victorian semi

'My wife and I moved into our new home with baby and toddler in tow some six years ago,' writes Dan Saniaszek. 'I say “new”, but in reality it was a late Victorian semi.  Thankfully, not a draughty and cold horror story, but still a long way from being energy efficient.  Over the years…

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Barker confirms 21p FIT rate: could this spark another mini solar boom?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 December 2011 at 10:21 am

Barker confirms 21p FIT rate: could this spark another mini solar boom?

In an uncertain world even a little bit of clarity is good, so we welcome energy minister Greg Barker's confirmation that, whatever the outcome of the consultation, the 21p rate of feed-in tariff (FIT) is fixed for the period from 12 December 2011 to 31 March 2012. That means that all systems instal…

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Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 December 2011 at 9:55 am

Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort

'I bought my existing house in 2009 and, although the walls had been well insulated in 1994 by the developer with 100mm expanded polystyrene fitted between the studs, there were improvements that could be made,' writes Brian John Griffiths, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'Firstly, I topped …

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How we reduced electricity consumption from 10,000 to 1,500kwh a year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 December 2011 at 8:40 am

How we reduced electricity consumption from 10,000 to 1,500kwh a year

"Around the time our second one was on his way and my office at home needed to get converted back to a bedroom for his sister, I was struck by how much energy I was wasting," writes Damon Hart-Davis, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'The single biggest improvement in energy efficiency that I …

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Suffolk community take action to reduce heating costs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2011 at 11:39 am

Suffolk community take action to reduce heating costs

'We live in Walpole, a small village in north Suffolk. It has approximately 240 residents, but lost its pubs, shops and village school years ago,' writes Anne Thomas, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'About 2 years ago, the Parish Council (for Cookley and Walpole - Cookley has approximately 8…

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How the non-domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) works: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2011 at 3:58 pm

How the non-domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) works: your questions answered

Can anyone in the UK benefit? No – just non-domestic installations in England, Scotland and Wales. A domestic version is expected to start in October 2012. Installations completed and commissioned on or after 15 July 2009 can apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Those installed pr…

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Freezers: out of sight, out of mind, and eating electricity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2011 at 9:49 am

Freezers: out of sight, out of mind, and eating electricity

'Now here is a serious energy saver,' writes David Ham, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'For years we have run without question - out of sight out of mind - two modestly sized freezers purchased probably 15 years ago. Over the summer with no heating on I questioned why our utility room always …

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Help us choose the best energy efficiency case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2011 at 2:18 pm

Help us choose the best energy efficiency case study

Next week we will publish the five shortlisted stories in our competition for the best practical energy efficiency stories submitted by a YouGen visitor.  We’ll post a new one up each day, and we hope you will let us know which you think deserves to win. You can do that by adding a comment be…

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Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 9 December 2011 at 9:57 am

Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

There has been much talk and debate about solar panels recently; most of it about solar PV and the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT). However, there is another game in town and it is potentially far larger than solar PV. Space and water heating in buildings accounts for nearly 70% of the energy consumed by the…

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£30m of new funding for energy efficiency in communities and public sector

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 December 2011 at 9:13 am

£30m of new funding for energy efficiency in communities and public sector

The good news: there's £10m worth of funding for local communities to use to assess the potential for energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation. The bad news is that the deadlines for applications are tight, and the work must be finished by the end of March 2012. There is also £20…

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'World's first RHI' launch over-shadowed by FITs debacle

Posted by Stewart Boyle on 7 December 2011 at 10:08 am

'World's first RHI' launch over-shadowed by FITs debacle

The long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) officially ‘opened for business’ on 28th November. With £864 million available for the cashback scheme to support biomass boilers, solar water heating systems, heat pumps and bio-methane projects, it should have been a day of great celebration…

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Are the big energy companies obliged to take on new FIT generators?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 December 2011 at 9:22 am

Are the big energy companies obliged to take on new FIT generators?

Q: I am trying to sort out a FiT (feed-in tariff) supplier. I have emailed all the suppliers shown on the Ofgem website with a range of questions. As far as I can make out only two of the big suppliers will pay the feed-in tariff if you are supplied by one of the other big suppliers (British Gas and…

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How wood pellets are made

Posted by David Fields on 2 December 2011 at 9:40 am

How wood pellets are made

Wood pellets are essentially biomass materials that have been shredded into sawdust and then compressed through a die cast to create the pellet shape. The materials are then held in place by a binding agent, such as naturally forming lignin, and produced into their 6mm size. To go into more detail,…

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Changes to permitted development for microgeneration in the UK

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 November 2011 at 9:33 am

Changes to permitted development for microgeneration in the UK

The following changes to permitted development regulations for England came into effect on 1 December 2011. The main changes are to that wind turbines and air source heat pumps have become permitted development (with significant caveats). See below for the complete wording. Click the following link …

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Just another day in the Commons - where we merrily destroy the PV sector with spin

Posted by Howard Johns on 29 November 2011 at 9:31 am

Just another day in the Commons -  where we merrily destroy the PV sector with spin

Anyone working in the solar industry will have been appalled,  dismayed and almost certainly angered to watch the debate on their future and the feed in tariff that took place in the House of Commons. I was sat in the viewing gallery watching and despite the best efforts of Caroline Flint and m…

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Renewable Heat Incentive for non-domestic generators is open for applications

Posted by Gilly Jones on 28 November 2011 at 5:51 pm

Renewable Heat Incentive for non-domestic generators is open for applications

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Phase 1 for non-domestic generator is opened for applications. Heat is the biggest use of energy in the UK. Just under half of the UK's CO2 emissions are used on heating space and water. Heat in the UK is currently supplied predominantly by fossil fuels - with les…

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10 Questions to ask when choosing your air source heat pump installer

Posted by John Lightfoot on 28 November 2011 at 9:13 am

10 Questions to ask when choosing your air source heat pump installer

1. Are you MCS certified? The Government is currently offering incentives (Renewable Heat Premium Payment) to people who install renewable energy heating equipment, including air source heat pumps, if your property does not have access to mains gas. It is also considering offering further…

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Homebuyer & sellers' guide to reading an EPC: part 2

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 25 November 2011 at 10:30 am

Homebuyer & sellers' guide to reading an EPC: part 2

Energy performance certificate (EPC) gives information that can be very helpful to both homebuyers and homesellers, but only if you know what to do with it. This article should be read in conjunction with previous guides to reading page one of the EPC for the buyers and renters, and for sellers. I w…

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