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Winters Coming: Time To Update Your Boiler?

31 Aug

With winter around the corner, its not surprising homeowners start to worry about their increasing energy bills. Now when it comes to your energy bills, heating accounts for about 60 percent of what you spend annually. About 16 percent of that goes on distribution charge, basically the cost of the gas pipes that get the energy into your home. What about the other percentage? An efficient boiler makes a big difference!

Modern boilers are more efficient for several reasons, but their main advantage is that they are mostly condensing boilers. In a conventional heating system (gas boilers for example) most of the combustion products (heated gases) pass through the boiler’s heat exchange surface, passing the generated energy to the heat distribution system – underfloor heating, radiators. Afterwards, the combustion gases are released into the atmosphere through the boiler’s flue. Therefore, a certain amount of heat is lost, because together with the gases, a considerable amount of steam that forms during the burning process (due to the water contained in the natural gas in its initial state) is being pushed out. The released steam carries an untapped amount of evaporation energy that conventional boilers are unable to make use of, and something that a condensing boiler is capable of converting into additional heat.

Installing an efficient condensing boiler can save you significant amounts of money, but also improve your carbon footprint. Here are some other examples:

Reduce your electricity bills: Because condensing boilers are so energy efficient, they need to burn much less fuel to extract the same amount of energy to supply to your home. This means considerably lower fuel bills, which is a relief in today’s unstable fuel market with prices rising all the time.

Cut your carbon footprint: Condensing boilers have much lower CO2 emissions than other boilers available, and because of this are much more environmentally friendly. Every year a condensing boiler could save up to 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would otherwise escape into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Save space: Condensing combi boilers don’t need a hot water tank, saving you space. Next to a clunky older boiler type, a condensing boiler is sleek and will often fit into convenient spaces the size of an average kitchen cupboard.

Simple controls: Condensing combi boilers don’t need timers for hot water as they produce hot water when you turn the tap on. Also heating controls have changed so much over the last decade and as a result it is now as easy to control heating your home than ever before. With these changes comes longer life boilers and savings from heating your home smarter and more efficiently.

Faster heating: Upgrading your heating system and heating controls will not only reduce your energy bills but will also help heat your home faster.

In conclusion a new boiler can save 1.5 tons of CO2 each year. Not sure exactly how much that is? It the equivalent of the emissions given off on a return flight from London to San Francisco; a flight covering 5,351 miles!

Sometimes, wanting to be greener and reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills can seem daunting when you have to find the total cost of installing some measures, that’s why Eco People has become FCA approved so we can offer you a variety of finance options when we provide you with a quote. Call us on 020 8883 4595 for more information or visit us at www.eco-people.co.uk

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Milan Plans To Pay Commuters Who Cycle To Work

23 Mar

In December last year, the city of Milan in Italy had to ban cars from the city centre due to such high levels of smog in the air. The city also had to ban their traditional end of year firework displays and so they decided to offer discount to commuters in the way of “anti-smog” tickets on public transport. While last year’s smog was unusually heavy, air pollution is nothing new to the residents of Milan. In 2008, Milan was named Europe’s most polluted city, and it has continued to be one of the worst on the continent since then.

Milan’s geography means that the city is particularly likely to suffer from smog. Due to it being in a valley, air pollution often gets confined in the city. With the past winter being especially dry and warm, the smog will have worsened. The city could experience an emerging pattern as climate change deepens. Milan is already routinely ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the EU.

With this in mind the city now plans to take another step closer to getting people out of their cars on a more permanent basis by paying commuters who choose to ride a bike. The plan to promote cycling is borrowed from a similar system tried in France in 2014, where employees were paid 25 cents for each kilometre they pedalled to work. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom have all also tried paying commuters to bike, at rates equivalent to about 30 cents a mile, tax-free.

Milan’s idea is to pay a higher amount to provide an improved incentive for commuters, but because of the money involved, the city needs a way to validate that people who claim to be biking to work are telling the truth. A possible answer may lay within our smartphones. They plan to implement an app that will track the speed of a commuters trip to work but the problem with this is the heavy amount of traffic on Milan’s roads. Bikers could potentially move faster than drivers anyway.

Milan is currently weighing up all of the options. “We are planning to do something similar,” says Pierfrancesco Maran (Milan’s mobility councillor). “To give direct money to those who go to work by bike, or to give them some other sustainable-mobility incentive.”

Even though there’s an obvious cost involved, Maran argues that it makes sense to encourage people to bike the same way that the government supports options such as public transport. “If we look at mobility all together, for example, even half of the cost of public transport is contributed by national funds,” he says. “So we will give a little money as an incentive for citizens to know that cycling is healthier than cars, and can be a good alternative in a flat city like Milan.”

Over the last few years change has been at the forefront as the city has seen a 50% increase in bike lanes and a doubled number of bike sharing stations, which more and more people are riding. A congestion charge for drivers in the city centre has been enforced which has led to a 20% increase in public transport use over the last four years. Paying people to bike on its own may not make a huge difference, but it’s part of a larger plan that does seem to be working. “Something is changing in the behaviour of citizens,” says Maran. “We want to help it change faster.”

Experts are however sceptical that the financial incentives will do much to change the way people in Milan commute. Although more cycling routes are being built, it is argued that the city is not necessarily bike friendly in all areas.

milan, italy, cycling, bicycle infrastructure, commuting, air pollution, smog, europe

The Benefits of Solar Panels

29 Jan

It has been argued that solar power will help in reducing the effects of global warming. Many theorists argue that global warming will prove a huge threat to the earth’s ecological system in years to come. Global warming threatens the survival of human society and countless species. Luckily, decades (or even centuries) of research have led to efficient solar panel systems that create electricity without producing global warming pollution. Solar power is now very clearly one of the most important solutions to the global warming crisis.

Solar power is a form of renewable energy, so its use reduces the strain on exhaustible materials like coal and oil – materials which are fast running out. More significantly, solar power doesn’t pollute the earth’s atmosphere with harmful emissions in the same way that coal and oil do. Once fitted, solar panels emit no pollution whatsoever, and only the construction and installation process contribute to the Earth’s carbon footprint. Solar panels are, in fact, the most environmentally friendly of all available renewable technologies.

The Benefits

Solar power provides energy security. First and foremost no one can go and buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly. Combined with the simplicity of solar panels, this also provides the notable solar power advantage of energy security.

Carbon footprint advantages. Research shows over the life of a solar installation it produces on average of 20x less CO2 than coal power – at least! Solar panels are carbon negative after three years. As during this time they produce as much energy as was consumed during their manufacturing and installation.

Solar power creates jobs. As a source of energy, solar power is a job-creating powerhouse. Money invested in solar power creates two to three times more jobs than money invested in coal or natural gas. (see table below for example from 2014).

Earn money for the electricity you generate. The Feed-in tariffs in the United Kingdom were announced in October 2008 and took effect from April 2010. It applies to small-scale generation of electricity, paying a fixed sum for eligible technologies. Feed-in tariffs normally cover all of the energy generated, not just what is fed into the grid. You can also sell the electricity you generate but do not use back to the grid.

Solar power is reliable. The rising and setting of the sun is extremely consistent. All across the world, we know exactly when it will rise and set every day of the year. While clouds may be a bit less predictable, we do also have fairly good seasonal and daily projections for the amount of sunlight that will be received in different locations. All in all, this makes solar power an extremely reliable source of energy.

And finally, one of the biggest advantages to the homeowner…
Cut your electricity bills. Sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.

 

Delhi implements a two-week car ban in attempt to clear air pollution

22 Jan

With air pollution at an all-time high in major cities around the world, Delhi are the latest to take action. Following in the footsteps of Paris and Beijing. The experiment has been launched to reduce car traffic that contributes to the poor air quality. More than a million private cars were banned from Delhi’s roads on Friday, as powers that be began an experimental scheme to battle smog in the world’s most polluted capital.

The city of nine million cars is the latest to implement an odd-even system which restricts driving rights for privately owned vehicles based on the last digit of the license plate as it corresponds to the date. On even days, only vehicles with even numbered plates are allowed to drive in the city. On odd days, odd numbered vehicles can be used. All of this is an attempt to reduce the emissions from car traffic that contributes to the worsening air pollution in India’s capital. Delhi officials have been battling with air pollution for years, and this isn’t the first attempt to slash car traffic. Despite previous efforts, the pollution problem hasn’t considerably improved.

To help subside the inconvenience commuters may face, the city added 3,000 additional buses for the two week experiment. A large number of the buses were borrowed from local city schools. Both officials and environmentalists claimed the public had accepted the emergency action plan and so it was put into place. Many government officials set an example taking public transportation, while Uber and taxi rides increased as well.

The experiment began on Monday 4th January 2016, the first full working day of the New Year. The restrictions continued for a two-week period, after which officials evaluated the results. In a city with approximately 3 million private cars, less than 200 motorists were stopped by police and fined 2,000 rupees (£20) for disobeying the Indian capitals first-ever licence plate driving ban. A large sum for most Delhiites.

 “What I saw today all across Delhi was very encouraging,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhury, executive director of the thinktank Centre for Science and Environment. “There were very few even-numbered cars on the roads, and my overall sense is that people have accepted the need for such action.”

“But the biggest achievement today relates to public road transport. Not only were there more buses on the road, but due to less congestion the journey time of buses was much better. If Delhi is to succeed in this mission, only the metro is not enough. We need to augment and improve the bus system also.”

On the final day of the two week trail, air quality levels remained “very unhealthy”. Although Delhi commuters were nonetheless positive about the scheme, which the government may adopt on a more permanent basis, although mostly because it freed up traffic on the city’s usually clogged roads.

“The traffic situation in Delhi has really improved. Earlier, it used to take me nearly one hour to commute to work and back (home), but now the time has cut to half. It’s such a relief,” said Mr Rohit Srivastava, a 32-year-old bank executive who had been carpooling with his colleagues and taking the metro every second day.

In a city where road rules are routinely flouted, most drivers appeared to be obeying the restrictions and many said they viewed the scheme positively. The Delhi government said the trial resulted in a “more than 50% drop in air pollution primarily caused by vehicular traffic” at 18 locations in the city it had been monitoring.

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kanpur has shown that two other major sources of air pollution are road dust and goods truck emissions.

Why you should insulate your home for the winter!

27 Nov

Did you know that insulating your home is one of the most useful things you can do to start saving money on your energy bills? As well as lowering your carbon footprint!

It’s a well known theory  that heat travels from hot to cold, so when we heat our homes, heat will escape from any uninsulated area to the cooler temperature outside.

We can all reduce the transfer of heat through insulation. Insulation is the material or technique used to reduce the rate at which heat is transferred. Here are so examples of basic insulation:

  • By putting a tea cosy on a teapot, you minimise the heat loss from the tea inside
  • Birds fluff up their feathers in the winter to trap air in between to help insulate them from the cold
  • Sheep grow thick wool to keep them warm on the hillside – the wool traps pockets of air, which is why we use it to make warm winter clothing for ourselves and to insulate our homes
  • Your thermos flasks, fridges and ovens all use insulation very effectively to conserve heat or prevent heat penetration to keep our food and drinks hot or cold

It may come as a surprise that your homes can become hot or cold in the exact same way!

There are many performance facts flying around, especially over how much you can save by installing proper insulation in your wall cavities or loft (around £120 and £150 a year respectively) but here are a few more uncommon ‘did you know facts’regarding insulation.

  • If every house in the UK was fully draught-proofed, the nation would save enough energy to easily heat all the homes in Belfast and Cardiff combined.
  • Up to 25% of heat loss is through the roof, 15% is through the floor, 25% is via doors and windows and a whopping 35% is through uninsulated walls!
  • Solid Wall Insulation can save around £475 a year on householder’s fuel bills year-on-year! It can also reduce a home’s carbon footprint by around 2 tonnes of CO2 a year.
  • Swedish builders put three layers of insulation in lofts, each 100mm thick and separated by a layer of building paper.
  • Around 300mm is the optimum depth for loft insulation; doubling the depth beyond this will not double the energy saving.
  • Insulating under the floorboards on your ground floor will save you around £60 a year, and you can seal the gaps between floors and skirting boards to reduce further draughts too.

You can start making small changes today by using draft excluder’s, closing blinds and curtains to keep your homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter, insulating your home and finally purchasing an energy efficient boiler which will be more effective in the winter months.

For any advice on how you could start saving today, call Eco People on 020 8883 4595 to talk to one of our dedicated team members.

 

Sweden aims to be the first fossil fuel free country by 2050

20 Nov

The race is on for the title to be the first nation free from fossil fuels. Sweden are full speed ahead towards the goal and are showing no signs of slowing down soon. The Swedish government have promised a whopping 4.4 billion krona (£354 million) from is 2016 budget. The country have a number of renewable energy outlets ranging from wind to wave power. Sweden relies heavily on renewable energy for the nation’s electricity needs, and the government is positioned to make hefty investments in even more clean energy projects, clean transportation alternatives, and smart power grids.

A major player in their renewable energy mix is hydroelectric power which accounts for more than half of their energy production. More than 1900 power stations operate all over the country. Forty-five produce 100 MW and over, 17 produce 200 MW and over, and 6 produce 400 MW and over. The largest station, which is located on the upper Lule River, has a maximum production capacity of 977 MW. The Lule River is also the most productive river, with almost 18% of the Swedish installed effect.

Just this year, Sweden were honoured with being named the most sustainable country on Earth. Last year two thirds of Sweden’s electricity generation came from clean and low-carbon sources and the country aims to improve on this. To get closer to the 2050 goal, the government plans to increase investments in solar power eightfold between 2017 and 2019.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has told the Swedish Parliament: “Children should grow up in a toxin-free environment; the precautionary principle, the removal of dangerous substances and the idea that the polluter should pay are the basis of our politics.”

The government has a plan to close a number of its airports and nuclear plants in order to pay for the clean energy projects. They also intend to sell off a number of Swedish coal mines. The majority of funding for the clean energy investments will come from high taxes on oil and other fossil fuels.

Neighbouring countries such as Demark are taking inspiration from Sweden as they hope the whole of Scandinavia will set an example for other nations at the United Nations Climate Talks.

 

 

Become an Eco-Friendly God or Goddess today with our helpful tips!

22 Oct

Here are our three top reasons why becoming eco-friendly is a brilliant life decision!

  1. The pain of paying high monthly energy bills will be replaced by a warm and joyful feeling when those lower energy bills arrive at your doorstep.
  2. Who doesn’t want to reduce their carbon footprint and save Mother Nature?
  3. A great feeling of accomplishment by helping the environment and encouraging other like-minded people to embrace an eco-friendly way of living!

So where do you start?

A prime step towards being energy efficient and eco-friendly is insulation. Depending on where your insulation will be placed and what type you’ve opted for, you can save up quite an amount of money. Sealing air leaks not only keeps you warmer, but prevents the constant need to get up and fiddle with your thermometer, thus making sure you remain green and keeping your pockets turned the right side in. Unfortunately, an often neglected factor, the Insulation is a key factor towards achieving and maintaining energy efficiency.

Purchase good quality windows and doors. They will release the strain on your heating systems as they will be sealed and insulated correctly. This will let less heat escape giving you a comfy and cosy living environment. Not to mention release the strain on your energy bills.

When it comes to your bathroom, choose a dual flushing toilet. You know the kind, these toilets offer two flush options, one for liquid waste usually 3 litres per flush and one for solid waste, approximately 6 litres per flush. There’s nothing more to it!

Consider a green wall for your property! Not only will green walls make people turn their heads in interest, but are a fantastic way of staying energy efficient. Consisting of a frame, panels that are waterproof, irrigation systems and plants, this kind of your home’s outer shell is a great way to save up money, as well as energy. The frame is placed along the walls, making sure there’s air between them to avoid having to deal with moisture. Then, the panels are set up, as a means of holding the whole thing together. Green walls have a great deal to brag about. If you’ve covered your walls in green, you’ve chosen sustainability and durability. In addition to providing quality thermal and acoustic isolation, they work as natural air cleaners, even more so if you cover your home’s interior with them!

Finally, think about the type of light fixtures you chose to install. By carefully selecting energy efficient lighting you can help lower your energy bills. For instance have you ever thought about LED light bulbs?

There you have it…five steps to work towards for an eco-friendly 2016! Why not give our team at Eco People a call on 020 8883 4595 to see how we can help!

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