Green Electricity Blog

Renewable Energy News and Insight

April 28, 2014
by greenadmin
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Cool Green Gadgets For Your Home

There was a time when going green was something that took a lot of time and a lot of effort. While going green is still something that takes a certain amount of mindfulness, the truth is that over the past few years, it has gotten much, much easier. Check out these gadgets when you are looking at how you can green your life and move forward with making the earth a better place.

Programmable Thermostat

When you are trying to keep up with a fall that is lovely and warm one moment and bucketing down rain in the next, you want a thermostat that can keep up. A thermostat that can turn on and off at certain temperatures while also kicking on right before you get home saves a great deal on your heating bill, and in general, it will also reduce the consumption of fossil fuels for heating purposes.

Low-Flow Showerhead

Many people think that getting into a shower as opposed to a bath is something that will save water, but for the most part, it does not. Unless you shower in under a few minutes, a shower uses as much water as bath. To make sure that your shower keeps things conservative, you need to choose a low-flow showerhead. This keeps the water that you use to a gentle pressure, and it prevents you from wasting water needlessly.

Thermal Leak Detector

A thermal leak detector is available from any home improvement shop, and if you are worried about how much heat is leaving your home during the cold months, it is something that you need to consider. Leaking heat is one thing that wastes energy and drives the heating bill sky high, and a thermal leak detector can help you figure out where your problem areas are. Use the thermal leak detector to scan your doors, your windows and even cracks in your walls when you are thinking about keeping in heat in your home.

Convection Heater

When you live in a larger home, you will find that you do not necessarily want to heat up every room, all day. If you know you are going to be spending most of the day in your home office, think about setting up a wall-mounted convection heat which is designed to warm up one room. A heater of this sort can keep a room wonderfully toasty while you work, and it prevents you from wasting energy heating other spaces that you are currently not using.

Solar Charger

When you are looking for a way to keep your various devices charged, think about picking up a portable solar heater. A solar heater requires just a few hours of direct sunlight to get all of your electronic devices charged up, and over time, ti will save you money as well. Think about all of the little devices that you need to keep charged and consider what a solar charger can do for you.

Take a moment to think about what your options are when you want to keep your home green; there are plenty of gadgets that can help out.

June 13, 2013
by greenadmin
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Macdonald Hotels Green approach to sustainability

Room15Many business sectors within the UK understand the need to manage their daily practices in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

One of the key aspects of sustainability within business is how companies manage their environmental targets. Many companies seek to achieve these targets by putting in place a number of environmental initiatives which focus on the ways they can improve practices and procedures.

One major business chain in the UK who has taken an innovative approach to making their business practices more sustainable is the Macdonald Hotel group, who are taking a green approach to business.

The group has a number of hotels across the whole of the UK and as such are hugely aware of the need for them to meet customer expectation whilst at the same time keeping a focus on remaining environmentally friendly.

To achieve this, Macdonald has initiated the Room 15 programme, which identifies 15 areas highlighting their commitment both to the community and addressing environmental issues. It lays down the 15 commitments that the group hopes to achieve by 2015 and aims to make every part of the business more sustainable.

Some of the targets laid out in the Room 15 plan include:

  • Electricity usage – Macdonald Hotels will aim to make 15% of the energy they use green electricity by 2015
  • Reducing water usage across the group by 15% – they will seek to achieve this by taking such measures as installing low-flow taps and showerheads and avoiding water waste in key areas of all hotels
  • Reducing waste to landfill to zero by 2015 – this will be achieved through recycling or sending waste for anaerobic digestion
  • Recycling – Macdonald aims to give all staff and customers access to recycling facilities by 2015. The group will ensure that every room will have 4-part bins in place, which will allow guests and colleagues to recycle:
    • Glass
    • Paper
    • Cans/Packaging
    • Other materials
  • Food sourcing – Macdonald Hotels will also aim to ensure that every hotel will source food that has been grown locally. This will ensure that transport and refrigeration costs will be reduced and will also help to build lasting relationships within local communities
  • Detergent usage – the group will also use environmentally friendly cleaning products and will also encourage guests to choose when they would like towels and sheets laundered

Macdonald also hopes that every Room 15 in each of their hotel locations the showcase for their commitment to their sustainability programme and each hotel in the group will be encouraged to help meet overall targets.

If you would like to find out more about Macdonald Hotels Room 15 initiative, you can find out more by visiting their website.

May 24, 2013
by greenadmin
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Renewable energy could save families ‘thousands’

Press_notice_logo_for_electronic_templateBy investing in renewable energy in the near future will ensure that energy customers will save billions of pounds on their energy bills in the years ahead.  Well, this is the opinions of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) – a group set up to advise ministers about emissions targets.

They stated that the current coalition government will need to quickly shift its focus from fossil fuels and turn its attention to greener, cleaner energy from sources such as wind, tidal and solar power.  By refusing to change, customers will be the ones who lose out in the long run as they continue to dig deeper into their pockets to cover astronomical energy bills.

The committee found that by moving to low-carbon energy generation such as nuclear, off and onshore wind farms as well as biofuels would save the British taxpayer between £25 and £45 billion. They also believe this figure could rise still, to nearly £100 billion as gas and carbon costs continue to increase.

It is thought that the average family in the UK could save approximately £1,200 on their energy bills should renewable forms of energy be adopted.   The issue for the government is no doubt the original outlay for wind turbines and infrastructure that is required.  Campaign groups are worried that the government may be looking for the easy option for gas supplies as fracking is still an idea that is floating about.

May 20, 2013
by greenadmin
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Buyers shy away from homes with Green Deal loans attached

Green DealThe controversy surrounding the government’s Green Deal scheme rumbles on as consumer body Which? has published the results of a survey which showed more than 50% of homeowners would want a Green Deal loan on a property paid off in full before they purchased it.

This may have repercussions for an already beleaguered housing market as homeowners may now have to face paying off their Green Deal loan before considering putting their house on the market.

What is the Green Deal?

For anyone who may still be unfamiliar with the Green Deal, the scheme was introduced by the government in January 2013 and gives homeowners a loan to make energy improvements to their homes, such as loft insulation and double glazing, and pay the loan back via their electricity bills.

One of the key features of the  loan is that it is attached to the property and not the owner,and so when the homeowner/renter decides to move on, the loan does not move with them and the new owner or tenant of the property becomes liable for paying it back.

Somebody else’s debt?

It is this feature of the loan which is now causing problems among prospective buyers/renters who are reticent to take on what they feel is someone else’s debt.

The survey from Which? in April of this year canvassed 2,070 people, 46% of whom said they would want any Green Deal on a property paid off in full before they bought it.

21% of the respondents also said they would reconsider buying any property that they had been interested in if it had a Green Deal loan attached to it.

This is another blow for the credibility of the Green Deal scheme, as it was put in place to try and ensure that homes in the UK were made as energy efficient as possible and go some way to lowering the number of homes in the UK living in fuel poverty.

However, the scheme has suffered from an initial lack of interest from home owners, with lower take up of the scheme than had been anticipated in the first few months. Despite awareness of the scheme increasing over the past few months, it still hasn’t been as widely welcomed as the government may have hoped it would, the Which? survey also revealed that  43% of  the respondents to their survey had never hear of the Green Deal, and this is almost 4 months after it was launched.

Fundamentally the problem may be that the Green Deal is still, at its core, a financial product, and it is this in tandem with the lack of awareness of the Green Deal which may be putting homeowners off. The Observer newspaper recently quoted a source from the mortgage industry who said that this may indeed, be the case. The source said,

we have concerns that a potential buyer looking at a property may not value the improvements carried out under the Green Deal and may not want to pay for them. Buyers may also consider that the benefits of any home improvements have already been factored into the sale price, and that the loan repayments on their electricity bill are therefore an extra cost they don’t want to pay

To pay off or not?

So what will this mean for homeowners who have already entered into the scheme? If it comes to a choice between paying off their Green Deal loan and not selling their house, they may have no other option. Paying off a Green Deal loan early may incur penalty fees and customers should be encouraged to check with their supplier for more details of this if they decide to pay it off.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact this will have on future take-up of  the Green Deal and if it actually sets back the cause it was intended to help.

 

February 22, 2013
by greenadmin
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SSE proposing to shake up the energy industry….

SSE have recently launched a new site focused solely on customer service. This is yet another massive step for them in the customer service department and is likely to help their unparalleled award winning streak.

Below is a video featuring the Head of Customer Services explaining the thoughts behind the Betterway customer service guarantee.

January 21, 2013
by greenadmin
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Green Cars and Saved Energy

Green technology is always something that pricks my ears up. Finding products that are cool, interesting and most importantly green always grab my attention. That is why I really like this infographic which details the benefits of owning a hybrid car.

This graphic breaks down all the important information that you would expect from such a topic but I especially like the way they quantify the levels of gas and wastage that current, combustion engines use. Whilst aimed at the American market the takeaways we get are the same in that by dropping traditional motor cars for electric/hybrid cars the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

January 9, 2013
by greenadmin
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Energy Automation – 2013 Breakthrough

First off, a belated happy new year to everyone. Hope you had a great time. 2013 should be another interesting year in the green-sphere and we are looking forward to covering as much as possible.

Speaking of the year ahead, we think that one of the most interesting areas of innovation is going to come from automation and remote access to the energy technologies that shape our lives. Leading energy suppliers already offer smartphone applications with which we can control our energy usage and interact with our energy appliances wherever we happen to be. However, functionalities of these apps are likely to extend further – and the scale of interaction is likely to increase as well.

Smart cities

An interesting example of this is  the ‘Smartcity’ Malaga program (tagged as Europe’s largest eco-efficient city initiative), where the energy company Endesa has provided its customers with 17,000 smart meters – in an effort to increase transparency, energy usage will be updated in realtime, allowing users to track their usage patterns more accurately and enable the company to adjust its supply and demand curves accordingly. We would hope and expect to see projects such as these on UK shores in the not-too-distant future.

Powering our cities more intelligently in 2013?

Powering our cities more intelligently in 2013?

Greenbang have details of an interesting sounding event on this very topic in February, covering topics such as; The smart grid and the automated home, Gadgets you will see in 10 years, Talking to your fridge – connected devices and what they will do, Snail life – taking your home settings with you - well worth finding out more about this if you’re interested.

December 13, 2012
by greenadmin
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UK government turn to fracking

The UK government has given the go ahead for controversial plans to resume with a controversial gas collection technique known as fracking in Lancashire.

Fracking is a process which involves creating mini explosions under the ground in order to mine gas which is trapped between shale rocks in cavities below the surface.  The extraction process is completed by injecting the excavated rocks with chemicals and water and this releases the gas which can then be captured and used in for homes up and down the country.

The reason for the widespread concern is because of the possibility of seismic activity that the process can cause IE earthquakes.  However, the government has insisted that conditions have been put into place which would ensure the risk of seismic activity would be minimal.

In the states shale gas is responsible for heavily reducing the price of gas and the PM has stated that he hopes for the same to happen with the UK market.  But governmental advisers have already expressed concerns that it would not happen in the UK as it did on the other side of the Atlantic, in such a steady drop at least.

The Committee on Climate Change has also warned that heavy reliance on the gas for future supplies is a dangerous motive and could leave many homes up and down the UK susceptible to bills at an inflated rate as gas prices on the international market are volatile.

The plan also depends on what the rest of Europe decides to do.  Europe has a gas grid which allows gas to be sold to the highest bidder and this means that if Europe doesn’t get behind the plan then Britain won’t benefit from the cheaper fuel that could come from this method.

One group who will be watching with concern are environmentalists who have seen incidents in the US where water supplies have become polluted, as well as the release of trapped methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas.  It is believed that fracking will create more opposition in the UK that in the US as it means turning green land into industrial sites.

 

December 10, 2012
by greenadmin
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Home Energy: Where it’s being wasted!

Ever wondered how the energy in your home is used and where it is being wasted?  We came across this neat little visualisation of exactly that.  From room to room this will show you how much energy is used in each room and what parts of your house are letting energy go, costing more to heat the house up.  Is there anything that this chart has left out?  IF you can spot anything leave us a comment!

 

How energy gets used and wasted in the home

Learn about infographic design.

 

 

November 28, 2012
by greenadmin
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Learning about electricity with The Beeb!

Just a quick post to highlight an excellent TV series that has been on BBC4 in the last few weeks, ‘The Story of Electricity‘. Presented by the excellent Professor Jim Al-Khalili this three part series has delved into the origins of electricity and what it meant for our past, present and how it will shape our future. The latest episode ‘shock and awe’ is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer for the next few days. For our friends across the world who perhaps can’t access this online, we’re sure that it will be available in DVD format at some point in the future.

Here is a short preview of the show: