Browsing "New and Views"
I’m sure many of you have come across that problem where it takes light-years just to remove the toy from all that fancy packaging. It’s extremely annoying how those wires and clips are securely attached to the box, especially when you have an eager child begging you to hurry up so they can finally get their hands on this brand new toy. That’ll soon come to an end as major British retailer Marks and Spencers have recently announced that they will be replacing those annoying plastic and wire clips with paper ties.
This also means that we no longer have to separate all the packaging into what can be recycled and can’t be recycled. We’ll be able to just toss the whole lot into the recycling bin knowing that we’re doing good for our lovely earth. The paper ties work with a locking teeth design made with a 310gsm material which will help secure the toy in its packaging. As stated on their website, they aim to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer. And with this new paper tie invention, they will be replacing all their plastic and wire ties across their product range, where possible.
This great idea has just come in time for Christmas, which means less screaming children waiting to play with their Christmas gifts. Hopefully other retailers will soon diminish those old fashion fiddly wire ties, (it’s about time too!) which will also mean no more cuts on your fingers!
As part of the nature of your work are you frequently on the road and worrying about expensive fuel costs? After a long while of drivers not liking the idea of electric vehicles for various reasons, it has turned out they are now actually becoming more popular. Sales have doubled compared to the previous quarter, with 5000 vehicles having been accredited under the Government grant scheme (known as the plug-in car grant) between July and September. Ultra low emission vehicles, also known as ULEV can be purchased at a reduced price under the scheme – with discounts of up to £5000 for cars and £8000 for vans. So why are more people buying into these electric cars? They are a lot cheaper to run and the costs of maintaining a vehicle is usually a common issue. They also drive more smoothly, making driving more comfortable and enjoyable and of course they are environmentally friendly. So if you’re thinking about changing your car or van, you might want to think about getting an electric one instead for all the many benefits.
Visit this link to view a list of eligible vehicles for the plug-in car grant…
Feeling stressed with a lack of creative thinking? Get some tips from Google’s greener offices
So do you find that your office space is dull and dreary? Is your desk pressed up against a plain claustrophobic wall or is the view out your window the carpark?
Google have transformed many of their buildings and workspaces using ‘biophillic design’, which pretty much means incorporating nature and greener spaces, so not only to be an eco friendly building, but also to inject some work-energy into their employees. Some of Google’s workstations have walls of ivy, ferns and other plans. They have interior waterfalls and aquariums and windows that capture natural light and look out onto gardens. Ok, I understand that Goggle is a multinational multimillion Dollar business, so not all of us are capable of moving our workspace into neatly landscaped gardens with trees and waterfalls but there are certainly a few tips that we can take from that. Have you ever noticed how calm you feel after a stroll in the park, or a walk along the beach? Or how relaxing it is to listen to the sea waves or to sit in front of a crackling fire?
Getting close to the natural environment can help stimulate creativity and lower stress levels. So a few solutions to transforming your workspace could be to relocate to another room – a room with a garden view that attracts a lot of sunlight. Or re-painting the walls and hanging nature-inspired photography and canvas prints on the walls and placing more plants or an aquarium in the room. And if you want a more drastic change, for those that work from home, office-cabins are becoming more popular, with flatpack cabins that can be self-built in your garden! Just a thought.
October is all about positive changes in your lifestyle, with campaigns such as ‘Stoptober’ and ‘Go Sober for October’ and next week is all about making changes to your home by becoming more energy efficient and saving money. Next week is the ‘Big Energy Saving Week’, from the 20th – 24th October. Energy Saving Trust, Age UK, Citizens Advice and other charitable organisations have teamed up together to spread awareness of energy efficiency and will be providing free advice on how you can go about making changes. These events will be happening all over the UK, so check online for events happening near you.
A great infographic on the RHI and what it could mean to your customers (click image below), if your business wants to get involved in Renewables such as Biomass and Solar Thermal, contact us on 02380 517 077.
Announcement from Green Deal:
DECC recently announced several changes to the existing Green Deal Cashback Scheme (operating in England and Wales) which rewards consumers for taking action to improve the energy efficiency of their homes through the Green Deal. These changes were the result of feedback we’ve had from industry and consumers on how the scheme could be made more attractive to increase energy efficiency in households.
A quick recap of the changes :
The scheme will be open for new applications until 30 June 2014. Vouchers will have a validity period of three months, or six months for Solid Wall Insulation ( SWI). However, all work must be completed and vouchers redeemed by 30 September 2014.
The rates have changed for some items: Eg, SWI changes from £650 up to £4000. These new rates will apply to applications made or redeemed on or after 13 December and the Cashback Administrator will contact people affected by this.
We have increased the customer’s contribution cap from half to two thirds, bringing more households within reach of the maximum cashback rates for each measure.
For customers who do not want to take out a Green Deal Plan to make energy efficiency improvements we are removing the requirements for Guarantees and Insurance Backing for all measures except for cavity and solid wall insulation.
Customers will not be able to claim cashback for packages of measures that include a contribution from Green Deal Communities schemes, and from April 1, customers will not be able claim cashback for packages of improvements that include an ECO contribution
WHY THE CHANGE TO BLENDING ECO AND CASHBACK?
DECC wants incentives to drive a greater uptake of energy efficiency measures than would otherwise be the case, and ECO companies already have ECO targets which they are obliged by law to meet. It is important that ECO costs are no higher than they need to be. The changes to ECO proposed in December, which we are now consulting on, will reduce costs to the energy companies.
By keeping the funding streams separate , we avoid the possibility that cashback simply represents taxpayer subsidy of what the energy companies would be doing anyway, reducing their costs still further without producing any additional benefits to households.
WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR PROVIDERS?
We intend to make changes to the Cashback Customer Terms and Conditions to reflect the changes in eligibility criteria, and we will write to Providers shortly regarding potential changes to the Provider Terms and Conditions.
Cashback vouchers are already based on the customer’s contribution costs excluding any ECO discount applied, and based on the quotation that the Provider gives to the customer for the work.
Changes to cashback apply to the Cashback Terms and Conditions only. The arrangements between Energy Suppliers and Providers regarding ECO is a matter for them.
WON’T THIS CHANGE MAKE IT CHALLENGING TO ENCOURAGE MORE COSTLY IMPROVEMENTS SUCH AS SOLID WALL INSULATION?
We have revised the rates of cashback on offer to better reflect the costs that customers incur in installing measures and as such we expect the increased SWI rates will make it more attractive to consumers, especially as part of a Green Deal finance plan.
For example: ( all costs are illustrative)
Cost to install SWI £7000
Cashback available ( up to max of) £4000
Difference £3000 which can be paid for through a combination of a Green Deal Plan and/or savings or other finance routes.
NAPIT COO, Martin Bruno, has given us some feedback from NAPIT regarding the use of our system for PAS2030 Green Deal/ECO and MCS, Installer Cloud which is already pre-approved by the main Certification Bodies, including APHC, NICEIC, Benchmark Certification and Stroma.
Martin commented “We find that NAPIT clients that use QMSA’s quality management system are well prepared for their certification assessment. Users find it an easy to use and beneficial system.”
We thank NAPIT for the recognition as Installer Cloud continues to go from strength to strength as the popular choice for business seeking PAS2030 and MCS Certification.
For more info on the PAS2030 Management System, click here
Provider selection is very important for installers.
We would recommend larger organisations such as the Merchant groups that broker funding directly with the Utilities and offer more security via their payment processes and are also working directly with the utilities so often the finding is better than using a Provider who is further down the chain and subcontracting work.
There are many ECO Providers who accessed funding without having the proper procedures in place to delivery robust data to the funding providers and subsequently weren’t paid for many jobs.
These types of Providers will not be able to secure further funding and therefore find themselves in trouble with their installer networks.
ECO is set to run until 2017 with £4.5billion in the pot, so there is funding available although gaining access can be a difficult process.
If you are using an unknown Provider we would recommend undertaking a few jobs first and checking payment process and support from the Provider is in place before ramping up activity.
As we understand, Kingfisher, Saint Gobain and Grafton Merchanting are all announcing their 2014 quotas shortly and present an opportunity for Installers, often the frontline staff may not be fully trained on ECO so it is worth escalating your enquiry further up the chain to area managers perhaps?
Something else to bear in mind is that you can sign up to multiple Providers and offset some of the risk this way too.
We get asked a lot for advice on all kinds of business support from ACS and Renewables training, best place for Insurances, where to get work leads from, which provider to sign with and so on.
We have decided to help out our customers by seeking out deals and offers on their behalf, so during 2014 you’ll start to enjoy benefits and discounts off of products including the following as a QMSA customer:
- Work Leads
- Access to funding Providers
- Discounted kit
All this due to start during 2014, if you have any other ideas or areas you would like us to consider, hopefully we can use our collective strength to get the best deals on your behalf. Let us know by dropping us an email or give us a call.
Due to the increased demand for qualified ECO (Energy Company Obligation) leads, QMSA are due to launch a new website and solution for Installers early 2014.
The feedback from our customers has been that other lead generation firms are selling leads to multiple businesses, not qualifying information, and that by the time they recieve their weekly spreadsheet many leads have already died on the vine.
freeboilerinstallers.co.uk will be used to deliver qualified leads to our businesses as quickly as possible enabling you to arrange for assessments to take place and jobs to be put forwards for ECO funding.
The new initiative will also cover general boiler enquiries and breakdown and provide a free listing to Installers which will increase the profile of your business, helping our customers to win work.
With a new hotkey solutions and SMS messaging, you can receive qualified live leads on the phone and speak directly to the homeowner/tenant to arrange for a survey, meaning ECO work leads from freeboilerinstallers will be valid and current.
The system is currently being developed and will be ready early 2014 once the funding providers begin to fulfill their new quotas for ECO funding, existing QMSA customers can pre-register now and will be listed for free once the new system goes live, receiving an additional special offer for early registration…