Scotland's £74M fund helps with heating bills


Consumers are being urged to make use of a £74 million fund to help with home heating bills, says

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is to launch a national awareness campaign today in the wake of a survey showing three-quarters of householders are worried about their energy bills.

Free impartial energy advice and support is being offered through the Scottish Government's home energy hotline, with money available for home improvements such as insulation.

AlertMe puts buzz in British Gas’ Hive


British Gas has unveiled the next generation of smart heating for the home based on clean technology from Cambridge UK business AlertMe, says

AlertMe says the smart solution helps consumers take control of over 80 per cent of energy used in the home.

The Smart Heating Control service encompasses hot water control and has been deployed by British Gas for its new Hive Active Heating.

Hive allows customers to manage, control and schedule their home heating and hot water over the internet or on their smartphone for both maximum comfort and efficiency.

UK faces winter power rationing as risk of blackouts rises


The risk of electricity shortages this winter is at its highest level for nearly 10 years, National Grid warned today, with the situation likely to get worse before it gets better.

The company said that in a cold winter, the UK's electricity “margin”, or safety buffer, would be just five per cent - almost half last year’s level and the lowest since early in 2007.

But the company insisted it was wrong to say Britain faced blackouts and was confident extra energy would flow from the Continent if the country risked a supply shortage.

Visit a green super home


SuperHome Open Days this September will reveal the inside story of 54 of the UK homes most improved for energy use. These are older homes refurbished by their owners to produce a carbon footprint at least 60% smaller. These are real homes where the owners can explain the benefits and challenges involved.

Life in a box


It looks like, er, a box. But in fact it’s a home – and a comfortable one at that, says Sussex Press.

The Cube has been billed as “an innovative modular living prototype”.

It is likely to attract great interest at the forthcoming Lewes and district Eco Open Houses event, which showcases homes that inspire with ideas for green living and cutting energy bills.

The Cube Project is an initiative of Dr Mike Page, of the University of Hertfordshire, who set out to build a compact, modern home no bigger than 3x3x3 metres on the inside - that’s just shy of 10ft square - in which one person could live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment.

Zero carbon Britain

Updated renewable energy scenario suggests a promising future for the UK

The Center for Alternative Technology, a leading environmentalist group, has released an update to its Zero Carbon Britain scenario. This scenario models the path that the United Kingdom must take in order to reach carbon neutrality and be accountable for no harmful emissions. The update, called Rethinking the Future, aims to show that carbon neutrality in the United Kingdom is a possibility without the need for innovative technology or exotic new forms of renewable energy.

Cambridge team enters solar race


The car may look like a space pod that could fly but it’s actually hoping to do something debatably far more impressive: win a marathon desert race powered by solar energy.

The group of Cambridge students who designed and built the teardrop-shaped green car hope it will win the World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The competition pits entrants from across the globe against each other on a 3,000km drive from Darwin to Adelaide, in which the vehicles must be powered purely by the sun.

The Cambridge car called Resolution has a set of moving solar panels which track the path of the sun across the sky. The team claims this gives it 20% more power than it otherwise would get.

Energy saving measures increase UK house prices


Making energy saving improvements to your property could increase its value by 14 per cent on average - and up to 38 per cent in some parts of England - new research released today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) reveals.

For an average home in the country, improving its EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) from band G to E, or from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 to the sale price of the property. In the North East, improved energy efficiency from band G to E could increase this value by over £25,000 and the average home in the North West could see £23,000 added to its value.

energy efficiency measures that could add 16% to your home's value


Homeowners planning to sell this summer are being urged to ‘go green’ as research reveals that energy efficiency measures can increase the value of your property, says This Is Money.

Improving a home’s energy efficiency rating could add more than £16,000 to the asking price, according to government analysis released this week. And it need not cost a fortune.

Richard Patterson, at myonline, says: ‘Buyers want measures that will save money on bills. The most common requests are double glazing, an efficient boiler, and loft and cavity wall insulation.

Maximise the efficiency of your solar PV system


When a solar PV system is generating more electricity than the home is using the 'excess' energy is usually exported to the grid. Home owners normally receive an extra 3p/kWh for this exported energy, in addition to the payments they receive for generating renewable energy.

But since a unit (kWh) of electricity costs home owners about 13p to buy from the grid it makes sense to use as much of the energy a solar PV system generates as possible. Obviously there is no point in turning on lights, or other devices which do not need to be on, but if the 'excess' energy can be diverted into things which can store the energy, or make use of it to avoid buying electricity in the evening or at night, there are big savings to be made. Controlling a PV system in this way makes great sense and can reduce the time it takes for the system to 'pay back' its' installation cost.