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Browsing "New and Views"

High energy bills, low Christmas spending

Nov 27, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views, Renewable Heat Incentive  //  No Comments

The most expensive time of the year is just around the corner, CHRISTMAS! While most of the children would’ve already constructed their lengthy Christmas list, most parents would be thinking about making cuts to that Christmas budget.

Innasol, a renewable heating company has carried out a study which showed that almost a quarter of the UK population will have their Winter spending habits affected by high and unpredictable energy bills.

sad xmas tree

Silvio Spiess, Innasol’s CEO said, “Our research has shown that unfortunately, thousands of people will have to compromise their Christmas spending to accommodate unpredictable high heating bills this winter. This highlights the need for the government to commit to its Renewable Heat Incentive scheme beyond 2016 and make consumers more aware that they can save up to 45% on heating bills by simply switching over to a greener energy source.”

So another way to look at it, is that Christmas only comes round once a year, where as the freezing cold weather sticks around for about half a year! And what’s more important is that everyone should feel warm and comfortable in their own homes. So lets hope schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive will continue longer so that more people can be benefited in the long run.

And it would also mean that the 45% of savings can go towards those special occasions such as Christmas and those other luxuries that we’d all like to have.

Indonesia’s new president clamps down on deforestation

Nov 27, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide. This has been caused by destroying peatlands and widespread deforestation, where 80% of it is illegal and used for palm oil and timber plantations which are usually operated by large companies that do not take the environment into consideration. Indonesia’s new president Joko Widodo, announced “If they (plantation companies) are indeed destroying the ecosystem because of their monoculture plantations, they will have to be terminated. It must be stopped, we mustn’t allow our tropical rainforest to disappear because of monoculture plantations like palm oil.”


The new president also believes that the peatlands should be managed by the community to farm sago (a staple food), as he can trust that the community will use the area in a correct manner that looks after the environment, something that the larger companies won’t do.

Greenpeace hopes that from now on, the protection of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands will be greatly improved and that strict rules will now come in to place. They have mentioned that the “existing laws are weak and poorly enforced.”

Green Deal Finance Company secures funding package

Nov 27, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   Green Deal, New and Views  //  No Comments

Fears of liquidation have been put to an end, as it has been confirmed that the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) has secured a £50m rescue package. £34m of it will be provided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the additional £16m will be provided by private investors which include British Gas, SSE, EDF, E.ON, Npower, and Scottish Power, as well as other private-sector firms such as Carillion, PwC and Insta Group. The GDFC believes the new funding will deliver a 300% increase in the size of the company’s current loan book.

window fitting_s

“We are glad that our Green Deal providers now have even more certainty that funding is in place,” said Mark Bayley , the chief executive of the GDFC. “In addition to the strong backing that the pay-as-you-save model has received from DECC, we have funding from our private investors.”

This rescue package was well needed as there has been a huge increase in applications for Green Deal loans. “This time last year the GDFC had £5.97m finance plans in the system and 1,461 plan applications,” said a spokesman for the company. “This week there is £28.92m in the system across 8,088 applications. On top of that there are now 65 official Green Deal providers and a further 24 in the process of qualifying.”


Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO) online tool

Nov 25, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   ECO Scheme, New and Views  //  No Comments

OFGEM have launched an online tool to identify areas that may be eligible for the installahouses rooftopstion of energy efficiency measures under the Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO).

The tool can also be used on tablets and smart phones, as long as you’re connected to the Internet. It will identify which postcodes are eligible for insulation measures and which postcodes will become eligible. It can be used by energy companies, the wider supply chain and consumers.

Click here to check out the CSCO tool…

The electric bike that you can carry in your bag

Nov 24, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Last week, it was about a quirky electric bike that had its frame made from wood. Today, it’s even stranger: an electric bike made from carbon fibre that can be folded up to fit in your bag! It’s called the ‘Impossible Bike’. It was designed by Phillipe Arrouart, an engineer from Paris.

Foldable bikes have been around for a very long time, but I’m sure not many people assumed that there will be a bike that can fit in your bag. And I know a lot of you are wondering ‘how much does it weigh?’ but sadly we don’t have the answer to that. But what we do know is that it can carry a person of up to 13 stone and can travel at 12.5mph for 45 minutes on a single charge so it may be a little inconvenient to have to top up the battery life before heading out again, but impressively it can fold up and fit into an average size backpack.

The Impossible Bike is completely battery operated. It takes about 30 minutes to fully charge. The aim was to make it as light-weight and portable as possible therefore it doesn’t have any pedals. So if the batteries did run out mid-way, it would be unusable. Extra batteries are currently being made for backup.

The height of the bike can be adjusted between 65cm to 80cm. It can also already be purchased at £241 for the white model and £258 for the black model.

Click here to see how the bike folds up…

Interested in backing up the project and want to make a donation? Just click here…

impossible bike foldedimpossible bike

Glacier National Park may undergo a name-change due to losing its glaciers

Nov 24, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Glacier National Park, located in the state of Montana at the borders of the US and Canada has been the hub for extreme sports and outdoor activity including hunting, winter sports, fishing, climbing and hiking.

But it has been reported that due to climate change melting away its glaciers, ‘Glacier’ National Park may no longer be a suitable name for what the park is known for. It is expected that its glaciers will be completely gone in 16 years. The park was established in 1910 and once had 150 ice sheets. Sadly, less than 30 now remain.

The park had many small ski areas, but as the Winters are shorter and the snow being lighter, the ski areas have been unable to stay open. And not only has the level of winter activities lowered, but the wildlife has been effected too. The bull trout population has decreased as the water temperatures have risen.

Below, is an after and before picture of the Boulder Glacier Terminus.
Left, taken in 1913. Right, taken in 2012.

before after glacier park

Fancy living in one of these innovative, energy efficient buildings?

Nov 21, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Eco friendly buildings are becoming more popular, not just for the environmental benefits but they can be aesthetically pleasing too. The Gate Residence is a project currently being developed in Cairo which aims to be one of the most environmentally friendly buildings.

It’s going to be a very large project, being about the size of 65 football pitches, which will include 1000 apartments, four levels of offices and even a shopping centre. The project is lead by VCA – Vincent Callebaut Architects, who are highly recognised for their sustainable projects, so there’s no doubt that they’ll feel the pressure of maintaining their reputation.

“The main objective behind this urban proposal is to raise awareness of green sustainable architecture to fight against global warming in order to maintain an eco-friendly Earth for our next generation,” says VCA.

There will be wind turbines for electricity generation and windcatchers to help channel the wind into the building’s cooling system, so that air-conditioning units won’t be needed. It’s clever cooling system allows the air to pass through strategically placed wells to cool the apartments during hot weather, and to warm them up during cold weather. The building will also have its own waste water collection and recycling system built in, so that it doesn’t need to rely on other networks. Conventional solar panels can only operate with visible and infrared light. The Gate Residence will be using more high-tech solar panels that can operate with ultraviolet light too, generating even more power. For easy-cleaning, the panels will be covered by glass, which is also strong enough for the residents who have balcony-apartments to walk on.

The Gate Residence is truly a modern building that will power it self through it’s innovative eco friendly technology. VCA is aiming to complete the project in 2019. Would be interesting to know how much rent would be at these apartments…

Gate apartment

The electric bike made from an ash tree

Nov 21, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Just when some of us are beginning to learn that electric bikes now exist, a German designer, Matthias Broda has taken it to a new level. He’s invented an electric bike made from wood! The frame was made from an ash tree and also has a rechargeable electric motor that makes pedaling easier.
ebike wooden
The seat is also made from wood, which sounds uncomfortable. So it would definitely need some extra padding added on. And there is no information if whether or not the wooden frame is protected from the rain.  So we’re unsure if the bike is suitable for all weather types.

And on another negative point, the bike is set to have a retail price of £3000. So the big question is, ‘wood you buy it?’

The prototype is still being tested out in Berlin, lets see if it’ll be able to hit the shops, it would be interesting to find out how many get sold.

Bio-bus: The bus that is powered by waste

Nov 20, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Well our faeces have definitely received some well deserved credit this week. Yesterday it was announced that human and animal waste can power our everyday gadgets such as smart phones and laptops. Today, we’ve found out that a bus powered by human and food waste has been in full operation!

It is a 40 seat ‘bio-bus’, UK’s first of its kind, traveling between Bristol and Bath in South West England. It can travel up to 186 miles on a full tank of gas which only takes the annual waste of five people to produce. It runs on biomethane gas, which is generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste and this treatment takes place at a waste centre in Avonmouth, run by GENeco.

“Bio-Bus is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself!” Says Mohammed Saddiq, the general manager at GENeco.

So how does the bio-bus actually work?

  • Its combustion engine is similar in design to diesel equivalents in conventional buses
  • Compressed gas is stored in dome-like tanks on the roof of the Bio-Bus
  • The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion – where oxygen starved bacteria breaks down biodegradable material to produce methane-rich biogas
  • To power a vehicle, the biogas undergoes “upgrading”, where carbon dioxide is removed and propane added
  • Impurities are removed to produce virtually odour free emissions
  • Compared to conventional diesel vehicles, up to 30% less carbon dioxide is emitted

Super nanobattery: 80,000 times smaller than a hair and can power smart phones

Nov 20, 2014   //   by Kim Alviar   //   New and Views  //  No Comments

Just yesterday we mentioned about the bio-battery that uses a bacteria found in faeces to create electrical charge. Today it’s about the nanobattery! It is 80,000 times smaller than a human hair and only takes 12 minutes to fully charge. How amazing does that sound? They last three times longer than our usual batteries, they can power mobile phones and even store green energy.

The research took place at the University of Maryland, “we were blown away by the performance!” they said. At the moment, the materials used in its production are costly, so it may take a while before they are available to the public. It is believed it could reach the market in 5 to 10 years time.


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