Saturday, 29 November 2014

£250 energy saving from new 'black box'

A new hi-tech way that is said to cut energy bills by up to a fifth is about to go on the market. The idea is that a “black box” will turn appliances, such as fridges, on and off in response to fluctuations in the wholesale price of electricity, which occur continuously throughout the day.
The devices will be offered to households later this next month by a new firm, Tempus Energy, which claims that customers will be able to save 20pc on their electricity bills by using so-called “demand response” technology that remotely manages their home appliances.
The black boxes are installed in the customer’s home and communicate with “smart” appliances such as dishwashers and storage heaters. The boxes receive instructions from the energy company, which uses complex technology to trade wholesale energy during the day. These prices change on a half-hourly basis.
For example, when energy is at its cheapest, the company’s computer system sends a message to each black box instructing it to switch on people’s appliances. At times of peak energy use, wholesale electricity costs more and the black box is told to switch householders’ devices off. For example, a fridge-freezer may be temporarily turned off in order to cut costs.
Tempus Energy claimed that its technology could cut the average energy bill, currently £1,265 a year, by more than £250.

“Smart” appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, that can be hooked up to a mobile phone, are already available in homes. Currently, they can be switched on and off remotely using a customer’s smartphone. The black box technology acts like the smartphone system but turns on the devices when electricity is at its cheapest.
As far as the bill payer is concerned, all he or she needs to do is to prepare, by making sure the dishwasher or washing machine is ready to go before bedtime, for example.
But could your television be automatically switched off during peak viewing hours? Tempus Energy says no. Certain tasks, such as making a cup of tea or watching a television programme, are “time-sensitive” and, therefore, cannot be switched off.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


UK customers can currently buy eight smart heating systems: Hive from British Gas, Nest (soon with Npower), Honeywell Evohome, Heat Genius, OWL Intuition, Tado, Salus iT500, Climote and - fresh out of Kickstarter - Cosy. Another system is in the pipeline from Lightwave RF this summer.
All of them work with the standard British Gas combi boiler, and some work with heating powered by LPG, biogas or oil, or underfloor heating, and even solar power. Many UK homes now have multi-zone systems so that bathrooms, bedrooms and different floors can be heated independently to save even more energy.
There’s also integration with other smart home devices to consider, like light switches and other power controls, monitoring your electricity usage, and even smoke detectors.Nest, Hive, Evohome, Heat Genius, Tado, Climote and OWL Intuition all have installation options, ranging from £40 for the relatively simple Hive, to approved installers who will quote each job separately. Climote is only available with an installation, whether you buy it through their energy partners or direct. Heat Genius currently has a free installation offer, with no end date set as yet.
The Salus iT500 is the cheapest of the hobby-install systems at £139 on Amazon, while Hive comes in at £159 for the system or £199 with installation.
Honeywell Evohome, Heat Genius and Tado all come in close to £250 for the basic kit alone, and each has its benefits, with Evohome and Heat Genius boasting multiroom control (at an extra cost), while Tado claims it’s smart and easy to use.
Multi-room systems like Evohome, Heat Genius, OWL Intuition and Salus iT500 have the greatest potential for cutting your spending by heating only the rooms you need, but you could easily end up spending four or five times the cost of Hive, Nest, Climote or Tado on a four-bedroom home.
Learning systems such as Nest, Heat Genius and Tado could easily outsmart manual scheduling, especially by switching off when the house is unexpectedly empty. Our experience with Hive suggests you won’t always remember to turn off your heating if you’re out having a good time.

Elon Musk had finally introduced the world to his “D”, which happened to be the inclusion of a dual motor/all-wheel drive option to the Tesla Model S lineup. Included in this announcement was the high performance P85D, which features two electric motors, all-wheel drive and incredible performance numbers of 691 horsepower and 687lb-ft of torque. These figures make the Tesla P85D one of the most powerful sedans in the world. This led to the masses of general EVangelists and Muskers alike to hit the internet and proclaim yet another victory for the all-electric brand. - See more at:

Monday, 1 September 2014

10-year council tax discount for energy efficient homes

Households could save at least £100 a year by permanently cutting their energy bills in a bid to help with the cost of living while simultaneously meeting Britain's climate change targets.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey said his was the only party offering both lower energy and council tax bills, adding: "A 10-year council tax cut will make action to end your home's energy waste a no brainer.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Gtech Ram Air

The AirRam cordless vacuum cleaner has a host of unique design features, including PC software which counts how many calories users burn whilst cleaning.
It weighs 3.5kg and uses just 100W of power – often compared to a number of 2000W or more in traditional mains powered vacuum cleaners.
But the real design deviation in the AirRam is that it isn’t a traditional vacuum cleaner. It does away with bags, cyclones and the effects of poor suction - instead using a long, bristled brush bar to scour deep into carpets and pull up all dust, dirt and debris.
Rather than sucking dirt through long tubes into a bag, the AirRam immediately compresses dust into compact bales, which can then be emptied into a bin without mess or fuss.
This in itself makes the AirRam more energy efficient, as it requires less power to generate suction – whilst still delivering powerful cleaning results. Independent tests, to IEC 60312-1-5.3 specifications found the AirRam had cleaning performance efficiency of 60.4% - 50% more than a 2000W mains vacuum tested at the same time.
On top of that, the AirRam features a quality Lithium battery, which runs for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. Using the Gtech AirRAM for 20 minutes per day (at 14p per KWh of energy), would result in energy savings of around £252 over a 5 year period.
It has a unique Data Bridge which facilitates communication between you and your vacuum cleaner’s on-board computer using a USB. Your PC will inform you the amount of electricity you saved, verify the condition of the battery and even calculate the amount of calories you burnt out. The Data Bridge will also help you find cleaning and usage  details, customer support and feedback about your experience. Gtech is revolutionising the floorcare industry and taking it a step into the future.

And because it’s cordless, it’s easy to clean from room to room without plug sockets.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Taku Tanku

The structure is composed by two 3,000 liter water tanks connected by a ring of wood that frames the entrance.

The interior can sleep two to three people, though there are no cooking or bathroom facilities. There is, however, a small underfloor storage area beneath the cypress wood flooring, as well as solar-powered LED lighting and fans, and hatch windows for ventilation. Designed to be eco-friendly and easily constructed from off-the-shelf and recycled materials.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Wind and other renewables generated a fifth of Britain's electricity in early 2014

New windfarms coming online, strong winds and a good winter for hydropower plants sent renewable energy generation surging to 19.4% of all electricity from January to March 2014, up from about 12% for the same period last year. The power produced was enough for about 15m homes during the quarter. It was hailed as a breakthrough by the wind industry, which alone provided 12% of the overall power produced, and a rebuff to critics who have said that renewables would never account for such a large proportion of the energy mix.
However, the DECC data could stoke a new price row with energy suppliers because it shows gas prices to domestic customers rising in the first quarter with prices to businesses in decline at the same time.
The cost of gas to householders, including VAT, rose by 4.8% in real terms between the first quarter of 2013 and the same period of this year, while average gas prices to business customers, including the climate change levy, were 5.2% lower.

 full article

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

New pan heats food 40% faster thanks to its 'fins'

  • The energy efficient Flare design, which has fins, was dreamed up by a professor of engineering at Oxford University
  • The shape of the pan channels heat from a gas flame across the bottom and up both sides, to capture energy that would otherwise be wasted
  • This means it can heat food faster using 40 per cent less energy
  • The pans, which are made from cast aluminium, will go on sale at Lakeland next month, with prices starting at £49.99

Electric cars 'to cost more to run than petrol vehicles'

It could now cost more to run an electric car than one using fuel owing to the end of UK government subsidies.
The Department for Transport's support for the installation and maintenance of chargers ended in April.
Local councils, left to cover costs, tendered contracts out to private companies - and prices have gone up.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer told You and Yours £500m was being invested over five years to provide support for electric vehicle drivers.
In the first five months of this year, nearly 2,000 electric cars were sold in the UK - more than double the sales for the same period in 2013.


  • Charge points began to appear around the UK in about 2010
  • Machines were installed by local authorities at a cost of about £50,000
  • The rapid chargers can power up an electric vehicle in 30 minutes
One of the reasons for the increase is the perception that the running costs of an electric vehicle will be cheaper than a fossil fuel car.
There are concerns that increasing the cost of charging will choke market growth just as it begins to take off.
While electric cars are around £8,000 more expensive than a diesel or petrol one, the government offers a £5,000 grant towards the cost of the car, and will help to install a charge system at home.
Until very recently it was free to charge your car at all public power points. Now Charge Master, one of the biggest providers, asks for £7.50 for a half-hour rapid charge.
Andrew Fenwick-Green, marketing secretary of the Electric Vehicle Drivers Association, drives a Nissan Leaf. He said: "A gallon of diesel for most eco-diesels will cost you £6.30 and get you around 60 miles.
"A 30-minute rapid charge in my Nissan Leaf would give you a range of 64 miles. So we're paying an extra £1.20 more to get the same mileage. It's madness... if the rapid chargers go up to £7.50 we're going to kill the market at a stroke".
Support The Charge Your Car company asks for £5 for a rapid charge, and Transport for London awarded its contract to the French company Bollore, which will introduce an annual fee of £10 for unlimited charging from September.
Charge Master chief executive David Martell has asked for more support.
"Next year the amount of annual expenditure from Government on infrastructure is going to be slashed by two-thirds, which I think is a little too early.
"We need a few years' more support from the Government to allow proper businesses models to arrive for charging."
Lady Kramer said: "The whole point of this is that you charge at home. That leaves you with a cost of about 2p per mile, which is why it's attractive to the people who have been buying these cars.
"The public rapid chargers are intended for occasional use."
She added that the industry could have communicated with customers better but the shift to charging would not stymie the emerging electric vehicle market.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

UK’s Green Deal Home Improvement Fund issues £8.5m during scheme’s first two weeks

A total of GBP8.5m has been issued to British householders making energy efficient improvements to their homes, during the first two weeks of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund scheme, the UK government’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) revealed on Friday.

According to industry estimates, the amount issued in funding from the new initiative represents a surge of GBP6m from the first week, during which GBP2.6m was issued to households in England and Wales that are carrying out energy efficient home improvements from an approved list.

The DECC said a total of 2821 applications have been made for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, under which domestic energy customers can get up to GBP1000 for installing two measures from an approved list and/or up to GBP6000 for installing solid wall insulation, as well as up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment.

In addition, householders who have bought a property in the 12 months prior to application are eligible to qualify for up to an additional GBP500 if they carry out energy efficiency improvements.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey commented:

New Green Deal is very generous, says energy secretary

The second round of the government's Green Deal energy saving programme for homeowners opens on Monday.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund offers cashbacks and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers.

The first round was criticised for being complicated and low on take-up.

But Energy Secretary Ed Davey told the BBC that "we have learned from what people were telling us", adding that round two was "very generous".

Some £120m has been set aside for the revamped programme, with money being issued on "a first come first served" basis, Mr Davey said.

Depending on the energy-saving project carried out, some money is available only to those who claim within 12 months of moving into their property.

Other benefits are offered irrespective of when they moved in.

If people meet all the conditions, households in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7,600 back, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement.

The first Green Deal was launched last year in a blaze of publicity, and hailed as one of the biggest home improvement programmes for decades. But just 1,754 signed for phase one.

Mr Davey said a key difference with the new phase was that "these are grants, not loans, and are very generous... We are trying to do everything we can to help people with their energy bills."

bbc business

Friday, 21 February 2014

Green Deal cash-back scheme expands

There is now:

Up to £4,000 available for solid wall insulation, up from £650
Up to £1,000 for anyone needing ‘room in roof’ insulation, increased from £220
Up to £650 for households installing double glazing, up from £320.
“Inefficient homes use a lot more energy than they need to, which consumers pay a high price for,” said Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. “The extension and increase to Green Deal cash-back means more families will be helped to have warmer, more energy-efficient homes and lower energy bills by next winter. These changes also create more opportunities for the growing number of authorised Green Deal companies.”

Monday, 17 February 2014

After just 626 households sign up to the floundering Green Deal in its first year, the industry has called for the government to act now to save the flagship energy efficiency scheme

Numbers of households signing up to the scheme in the past month have dropped by a fifth, causing the industry to call on the government to ‘wake-up’ to problems with the scheme.

Chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, Paul King, said: ‘This latest set of figures, coming a year since the policy launched, should come as a wake-up call to government that the Green Deal is not delivering in its current form.
‘As a financial package, the Green Deal just doesn’t stack up. There are many attractive high street alternatives out there, with loans and credit cards generally available at more competitive rates to fund both the lower and higher value types of eligible energy-efficiency project. Other government incentives such as the recently announced reduction in stamp duty for those taking up the Green Deal are also not inclusive. The pot of money is too small and, worse still, this incentive will only apply to people who are buying or selling their home.’

full article

Householders warned to avoid Green Deal scam

A WARNING has been issued by police and trading standards about a Green Deal scam.

Bogus callers phone homeowners and tell them they are entitled to £10,000 of funding for home improvements. The person is asked to pay £149.99 for an energy performance assessment to be carried out.

However, the assessment is either never carried out or the work is undertaken but the householder does not receive a certificate which they should do under the Green Deal code of practice.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “The Green Deal can only be delivered through government contracted assessors and providers, identifiable by a unique government allocated number. Consumers are advised to look out for the Green Deal Approved quality mark. Only Green Deal assessors, providers and installers can use it. This shows they meet Green Deal standards and are authorised to operate under the Green Deal.”

Consumers taking out a Green Deal require an assessment completed by an authorised assessor who will visit your home, talk to you about your property and your energy use and help decide if you could benefit from Green Deal improvements.

If anyone has any information about a possible ‘Green Deal’ scam, they should contact the police on 101 or Trading Standards on 01463 228700. Further details about the scheme can be provided by the Energy Savings Trust on 0808 808 2282.

full article