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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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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.

 

Why Energy Efficiency is the way forward…

23 Jul

Energy efficiency is “using less energy to provide the same service” being energy efficient is basically about using less energy to do the things we want/need. But are there any benefits? Yes!!! And many, that can massively impact positively in our environments. There are many, which if we all became energy efficient, would be realized greatly by all parts of society.

  1. If you install an energy efficient window into your home rather than a single pane window, the energy efficient window prevents heat from escaping in the winter, so you ultimately save energy and money as you use your electric heater or other heat appliances much less, however stay just as comfortable and warm. It also helps in summer too! Energy efficient windows keep the heat out, therefore you don’t have to keep your air conditioner running as often as you would – which again saves electricity and your money.
  2. Secondly, if you replace a clothes washer, refrigerator, printer, computer, etc, with a more energy efficient model it will provide the exact same service however will use less energy.  This saves you money on your energy bill, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.

Energy efficiency is key in the fight against climate change as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, however it does more! Consider these benefits that go beyond climate change:

  • Lowering household energy bills – Energy efficiency is the easiest, most affordable and most efficient way for families to save money on both transportation costs and household expenses.
  • Reducing local air pollutants – Energy efficiency reduces local air pollutants that come from sources like oil or wood. These are separate from greenhouse gas emissions but include chemicals, such as sulphur dioxide, that are dangerous to humans.
  • Improving business competitiveness – Energy costs affect business’s greatly. Businesses that control their energy consumption will massively enjoy lower electricity, heating and transportation costs.
  • Increasing comfort – Energy efficiency offers to reduce energy costs, whilst also allowing more comfort. Energy bills can be incredibly expensive and some households have great difficulty paying to heat their homes. So being able to reduce energy costs and gain more comfort would be extremely significant.

Often energy efficiency and energy conservation are confused. Energy conservation is reducing or going without a service to save energy. However, energy efficiency is replacing an appliance/object with a more energy efficient model.

For example: Replacing a normal everyday lamp with a compact fluorescent lamp is energy efficiency – the compact fluorescent lamp uses much less energy however produces the exact same amount of light. Whereas, turning off a light to save energy is energy conservation. But ultimately both efficiency and conservation reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Now you know about being more energy efficient and its benefit/ability to lower costs, help save energy/electricity and help fight climate change, it’s time to take action.

In France All New Commercial Buildings Must Install Green Roofs or Solar Panels

26 Jun

France has introduced a new building requirement in its commercial zones. It calls for all roofs to be partially covered in either solar panels or plants. This is just a recent green headline to come from France following the Eiffel Tower wind turbines and the tree shaped wind turbines that are being installed in the capital.

Green roofs have been around for centuries in different corners of the world. We have seen an increase in green roof interest due to growing concerns surrounding climate change, carbon footprints and sustainability. It is not only roof’s that can be covered; walls can also have a green makeover. They offer many advantages to the public and private sectors ranging from waste diversion to energy efficiency.

A further benefit of a green roof is its isolating effect which allows buildings to better retain their heat during the winter months while reflecting and absorbing solar radiation during the summer months, allowing buildings to remain cooler.

They can help reduce the distribution of dust and particle matter through cities to combat the smog issue. They play a huge role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help adapt urban areas to predicted future climates with warmer summers.

Green roofs also have the ability to reduce sound from outside by up to 40 decibels. They have excellent noise reduction, especially for low frequency sounds.

Originally, French environmental activists had asked for all rooftops to be 100% green. The Socialist government convinced activists to limit the scope of the law to just commercial buildings.

By giving businesses the option to install solar panels rather than green roofs, France could catch up some with its neighbours when it comes to solar energy.

Germany currently has the highest installed capacity of solar and shows no signs of slowing down. Think Progress recently reported that France had only five gigawatts of photovoltaics implemented as of last summer, accounting for only one percent of all energy production.

Since 2009, Toronto Canada has had a similar mandatory green roof law in place, requiring green roofs on new buildings. Preliminary studies suggested that the city could save hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs. France is making an investment in energy independence, efficiency, and stability.

Maybe we should all be looking at green roofs in our cities?

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The Self-Cleaning Crockery That Could Save Thousands of Gallons of Water Every Year

29 May

When it comes to household chores which do you hate? For me it’s the monotonous cleaning of dishes after cooking a meal. It takes a lot of effort to make them so shiny, not to mention the amount of water used. Well, you might be interested to hear that Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine have created a real solution to the wasteful and laborious task of washing those dishes! It’s shocking to think that someone who’s washing their dishes by hand with the water flowing can have the same carbon footprint as someone driving several miles in a typical car!

The crockery was created by two designers, Hanna Billqvist and Anna Glansén who used cellulose variant called nanocellulose which is arguably as strong as Kevlar (The material used in bulletproof vests). The material is flexible and lightweight. The dishes are tough enough that they won’t break when you drop them, and they are lighter than traditional ceramic plates. The project was commissioned by the Swedish Foreign Industries Commission. Their goal was to use natural materials in the making of futuristic objects that will not only make our lives easier in the future, but reduce humans’ effect on the planet.

You may have heard of the lotus effect? Well the self-washing crockery is actually designed to mimic leaves of the lotus plant in which any water or dirt beads up and slips off the leaves with significant efficiency. The general concept is to relive the need of using gallons of water to clean up after a meal, instead you simply tip the waste straight into the compost…easy peasy. This will also save on the energy used to heat the water, and on the use of soap.

Tomorrow Machine worked with researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm to develop their self-cleaning dishes. On top of the nanocullulose, the developers added a layer of natural hydrophobic coating. The coating is made from a wax dissolved at a high pressure and temperature that repels water, oil and dirt, says Hanna Billqvist.

“It is real but a very new technology that is still being developed, so it’s not ready for the industry yet,” Billqvist said. The design team also added that a product like this will save on resources throughout its life span when you consider water needed for washing dishes and the chemicals to clean them.

Personally, I cannot make up my mind on this product idea. For some people washing dishes is a cleaning ritual to satisfy our hygienic instincts. I for one love the smell of cleaning products and the thought of a fresh clean tidy kitchen. So would I allow my dishes to do the job themselves? I don’t know. The engaging aspect for me is the idea of saving energy resulting in lower energy bills. It will be interesting to see how they market the product when it’s launched.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this idea…would you buy this product? Or is washing up liquid your friend? Just imagine how prune free your hands would be!

Save your house from the energy vampires!

15 May

Energy wasted through ‘standby’ mode is often referred to as “vampire energy loss,” and it’s easy to see why. Like the blood-drinking creatures of the night, your devices are sucking down power while you sleep–albeit without the bite marks!!

Studies have found that vampire energy loss accounts for 5-10% of the total electricity in residential homes and accounts for about 1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Devices such as televisions, microwaves, scanners, and printers use standby power, even when off. So why don’t you sink your teeth into the following energy saving tips to banish those pesky energy sucking vampires…

  1. Do you enjoy movies? Watch them on your TV rather than a games console. Using a games console i.e. a PlayStation 4 to stream a movie can consume 10 to 20 times the amount of energy than an internet connected TV.
  1. Plug electronics into a power strip, and then turn the strip off when not in use to save energy. Game consoles, DVD players, or stereos can continue to draw power even when the TV is off if not turned off at the wall.
  1. Get rid of the screensaver – We have all walked around the office seeing countless screensavers of dogs, cats, beaches, people falling over and trees but these still use power. Instead of having a screensaver displayed when not using the computer, adjust the settings so that the monitor turns off after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity, and the computer itself goes to ‘sleep’ after 30 minutes or less of inactivity.
  1. Do you own a smart TV with the quick start feature enabled? If so you will be attracting the vampires as some of the modern ‘smart’ TVs that connect to the internet will continually use anywhere from 10 to 24 watts even when not being used.
  1. Whether you use Virgin, Sky, or any other TV provider they are continually updating their boxes to make them more energy efficient. Older boxes tended to pull full power even if they appeared to be off, so if you have an old box, ask for a newest energy efficient version!
  1. Unplug devices you don’t use often or remain on standby for a long period of time. This probably won’t work for your TV box, but if you have an extra TV, an old desktop computer or a stereo you only use from time to time, you should consider unplugging them until the next time you need to use them.
  1. Unplug any once a day items – for example hair dryers and even microwaves!
  1. Unplug once charged – So many things now run on battery power for example mobile phones, electronic razors and computer tablets. There’s no need to keep it plugged in the wall once fully charged.
  1. Unplug at bedtime – Even if you use something all day, you aren’t using it when you’re asleep. Unplug common electronics for example computers and televisions; just reboot them in the morning.
  1. Adjust your thermostat and water heater settings – A programmable thermostat can make it easy to cut down on heating costs when there’s nobody home, and the settings should be reviewed and changed as the seasons and schedules change.

So remember these energy saving tips and don’t let your house turn into an episode of True Blood. If you have any more tips leave a comment below 🙂

The SMART Homes scheme explained

17 Apr

You can now save up to 75% on home improvements with the Smart Homes scheme. The scheme offers grants of up to £6,000 which can help you make improvements to your property. Plus you can receive up to an additional £1000 of ECO funding for eligible properties. It’s available to both homeowners and landlords (or tenants with landlord consent) in Enfield, Islington, Haringey, Waltham Forrest, Camden, and Hackney.

The grant will cover up to 75% of installation cost for properties:

  • That require Solid Wall Insulation
  • With cavity walls that are difficult to insulate
  • Generally properties built before 1930

The Smart Homes scheme also supports other energy improvement measures outlined in a Green Deal Assessment such as double glazing, secondary glazing and energy efficient boilers etc.

For Smart Homes grant aimed at funding domestic retrofit, as a general rule, you have up to £6000 available to cover the costs of Solid Wall Insulation AND other measures.

In the private rented sector (PRS) only, if Solid Wall Insulation is not included AND the EPC rating is E, F or G, you can get up to £3000 to cover 75% of the costs.

Even though you will need to contribute towards the cost, Eco People will talk you through other grants and schemes that may be available to you for example the Green Deal.

In return you will benefit from lower energy bills and comfier surroundings as your property if left un-insulated can lose over 40% of its heat through solid walls. Your property can also benefit from an external makeover with beautiful renders or brick slip finishes. We will also reimburse you £100 of the £150 Green Deal Advice Report fee if the installation goes ahead.

Eco People will provide you with;

  1.  £100 reimbursement of the Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR) fee if the installation goes ahead.
  2. Dedicated Support – from an initial assessment, to getting quotes, any planning permissions and completion of work.
  3. Help to get the most grant money available – residents will have to make a financial contribution towards the energy improvements chosen, but the project will advise on different grant schemes available at the time.

To register your interest in the Smart Homes scheme you can contact us on 020 8883 4595. If you decide to register direct with smart homes but want to use Eco People as your installer you should state that you would like to use Eco People Ltd as your installer through the independent installer route’.

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