Friday, 13 April 2012

Is it cheaper to put the heating on high for a short time or longer at a lower temperature?

A house will heat up from cold more quickly the hotter the radiators are.

On the face of it, therefore, operating a boiler at maximum means a warm home, quicker.

However, the efficiency of a central heating system – and this is particularly true for modern condensing boilers – depends a very great deal on the correct matching of boiler power output to the size and number of radiators.

So, key to keeping your home warm with the central heating system at minimum cost, is having the correct boiler installed in the first place, and then using the correct power output setting.

If you set your boiler output too high, then the temperature at which the water returns to the boiler after circulating through the radiator system will be too high for it to recover much heat from the boiler’s exhaust gases (the process that normally makes condensing boilers much more efficient).

Try operating the boiler with as low an output setting as is consistent with achieving the required warmth in your home in a reasonable time.

Do be aware, however, that operating at low boiler output temperatures will also mean that water in your domestic hot water tank will take longer to warm-up too – so a little trial-and-error will be required.

full article

Thursday, 12 April 2012

US tops global clean energy investment rankings

The US has regained top spot from China as the biggest investor in clean energy in 2011, according to global rankings.

The table, published in a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, showed that US invested more than $48bn (£30bn) in the sector, up from $34bn in 2010.

China slipped to second place, the authors reported, with investment only increasing by $0.5bn to $45.5bn.

Globally, overall financial backing in clean energy technologies hit a record $263bn, up 6.5% from 2010 levels.

The report, Who is Winning the Clean Energy Race, showed that G20 nations accounted for 95% of the investment in the sector (which does not include nuclear power).

The data, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ranked the UK as seventh in the world, with $9.4bn of investment in 2011.

Over the course of the year, an additional 83.5 gigawatts (GW) was added to the world's clean energy generation capacity, including almost 30GW of solar and 43GW of wind.

full article

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Energy firms to 'guarantee best deal' on tariffs

Energy companies will be required to let customers know what their best deal is, in a move which ministers say could save households up to £100 a year.

Firms will be obliged to tell people about the most suitable tariff for them and to offer it if they request it.

Announcing the move, Deputy PM Nick Clegg said seven out of 10 people have the wrong deal and pay too much.

Labour have accused energy firms of "ripping off" people and said there must be more competition in the market.

Under the deal, British Gas, E.On, NPower, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF and Scottish Power will contact their customers once a year to tell them what the best tariff is for them, and how to get it.

They will also contact customers coming to the end of a fixed-term contract with the same advice.

They will not be obliged to let people know about cheaper deals with rival companies.

full article