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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen press release

YouGen wins a Green Web Award

Posted on 12 February 2010 at 9:43 am

YouGen has been voted winner of the green living advice category of the Green Web Awards. The website, which aims to make it easy for people to work out whether or not renewable energy is a appropriate for their house, had been up for less than a year when it was shortlisted.

"To be publicly recognised like this is a huge boost," said Cathy Debenham, founder of YouGen. "I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us." It was a nail-biting contest, as we were shortlised against two really good websites: The Guardian’s Ethical Living site, and My Zero Waste. It is a real honour to win.”

The Government’s announcement of financial incentives for people who want to install microgeneration technologies last week, makes websites like YouGen even more vital. "The Clean Energy Cashback (feed-in tariff) makes it likely that more and more people will be tempted to install solar panels or other types of renewable energy," says Cathy. “More installers will enter the market too, making it harder to identify the good ones. This is where YouGen differs from most renewable energy websites – helping people find an installer they can trust is at the heart of what we do."

Research by Oxford University’s Enviromental Change Institute and the Energy Saving Trust has  found that the newness of the market makes it difficult for potential buyers to assess what they are being offered by suppliers. YouGen aims to help people overcome that barrier.

We provide practical, down to earth information, in plain English," adds Cathy. "This means that people have a good understanding of what to ask an installer. They can search for local companies on the site, and we encourage existing microgenerators to rate their supplier under five different criteria, to make it easy for others to choose an installer they can trust to do a good job. In a new market it’s often impossible to ask a friend for a recommendation. Getting one from the YouGen community is the next best thing."

YouGen has also been vocal in championing early adopters of microgeneration whose income from microgeneration will fall when the feed-in tariffs start in April 2010. "They have been treated unfairly,” says Cathy. “These derisory rates throw all their payback calculations out. The pioneers will be left with even longer payback times, while watching those who played safe and waited getting a healthy return on their investment. We have done our best to give them a voice, and get their message heard."

For more information contact Cathy Debenham, t: 01395 597879, m: 07786 440129, e: , w:

Notes to editors
On YouGen people can:

Work out whether a technology is suitable for them

Ask an energy expert a question

See what other people have done, and learn from their experience
Find a recommended local supplier (or help others by recommending theirs)

Keep up to date with what’s new in energy efficiency and renewable energy

Benefits of generating our own power and heat at home include:

· the security of being independent of power companies and dodgy regimes

· protection from oil and gas price rises

· reducing carbon pollution, helping to prevent devastating climate change

· the pleasure of using cutting edge technology

· better understanding of how energy works in the home, and reductions in use (and bills) that comes from that understanding.

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