About Abbie Clarke

I'm Abbie. Working for Find Energy Savings and tweeting about home life and energy saving tips and advice. Eco-Lady, Wife & Mum to 3 little stars.

We’ve uncovered the shocking truth behind the UK’s £2 billion PVC double glazing industry, showing the massive impact it is having on the environment.

From the unsustainable raw materials used in the manufacturing process, to the 85% of waste product that ends up in landfill sites, it is worth thinking twice before opting for UPVC double glazing for your home.

The shocking truth behind your double glazing

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Reference:
Window of opportunity – The environmental and economic benefits of specifying timber window frames, WWF-UK, July 2005.

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A new study has revealed that the UK could be heading for energy supply issues in around a decades time with the demand outstripping supply by 40% and the real possibility of blackouts.

Government policy

The report that has been issued by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers places the blame on current government policy and says that it will be almost impossible to meet future demand unless changes are made. The policies that have come under fire include the stopping of coal fired power generation by 2025 and the phasing out of nuclear reactors without plans to build new ones.

The Institute say that around 30 new gas-fired power stations will be needed to meet the deficit, but these are not planned. This is also not helped by reductions in measures to encourage energy efficiency such as the Energy Company Obligation and other subsidies that have restricted growth in this area. The government has also said it will not be exploring carbon capture and storage which could have extended the life of coal fired plants.

Less electricity

Jennifer Baxter, the co-author of the report has stated that the UK is facing an electricity crisis and that despite increases in population, the UK looks like it will be producing less electricity than currently in future years.

The Institute recommends more emphasis on shale gas and possible gas connections with other European countries. Reduction in demand for electricity within industry would also help.

Is your boiler working efficiently?

Most of the time our boilers simply tick over in the background, providing us with hot water and heating all year long and for the most part we don’t really think about how to look after them. This is despite the fact that servicing your boiler on a regular basis will result in fewer breakdowns and a more efficient boiler that could save you money on your energy bills.

You may do the recommended professional boiler servicing once per year, but do you think about maintaining your boiler in between services? If you follow our 10 maintenance tips listed below, you could save yourself money in the long run and ensure you have heating when you need it.

  1. Check your boiler on a daily basis for things like water leaks, error codes on the console and anything else that looks different or unusual. This includes listening to your boiler for strange noises.
  2. Look at the boiler flame. Does it look strange or flicker in an unusual way? The flame should be crisp blue rather than yellow.
  3. Check the flue both inside and out for any blockages or ventilation issues. Clear them out thoroughly. Also check for breakages to the flue or surrounding piping.
  4. Look at the relief valve and discharge pipe for leaks and the drain system for obstructions. Your instruction manual will show you where these are.
  5. Periodically you should turn your boiler off and restart it – checking that is starts normally and reignites without any issues.
  6. Look in your boiler manual for the water pressure level and ensure your boiler is meeting them. A loss of pressure can mean there is a leak somewhere and if it rises too high you should switch it off and call an expert.
  7. Feel all of the radiators in your home regularly throughout the winter to ensure they are reaching expected temperatures. You may need to bleed the system if they are not. Equally, your radiators should not get too hot.
  8. Test your carbon monoxide alarm at least once per month and change the batteries every year.
  9. Check your pipes throughout the house for leaks and insulate them if needed to prevent burst pipes during colder weather. This is especially wise if you are turning off your heating for a prolonged period of time.
  10. Finally – get on the phone and book your annual boiler servicing. This may be the single most important thing you do with regards to your safety and your comfort throughout the year.

Looking after your boiler really is simple and by following these tips you may never have expensive and inconvenient breakdowns.

Of course, if it does break down, we can help you to source competitive quotes for a new boiler from reputable companies.

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With the election results appearing to indicate that the Conservatives will win an outright majority, the energy and natural resources chair of KPMG has warned that energy capacity over the next two years will be very tight. Meanwhile energy companies are buoyed by the result.

Energy capacity

Simon Virley has said that the next two winters will be very tight in terms of energy capacity due to the closure of energy production plants and the slowdown of North Sea oil production. This is likely to increase the UK’s dependence on imported energy. He suggests that the margin for power generation could be lower than the 4.1% that was predicted by the National Grid for this winter. 6% is considered to be a safe threshold.

Mr Virley points out that the new government will face a challenging time given that the Department for Energy and Climate Change is unprotected in terms of its funding. Additionally, the DECC was led by a Liberal Democrat who will now be replaced with a more conservative approach.

Positive reaction

Meanwhile, the energy markets have responded positively to the possibility of a further Conservative term, with Centrica, the owner of British Gas seeing their percentage points on the FTSE increasing to 276.5p or 7.4%. Energy supplier SSE also saw an improvement on their share value of 5.1%.

Experts suggests that continuity is positive for the UK economy and that this government offers a good environment for business. Additionally it seems unlikely that the expected price freeze and changes to rules to open the energy market, as touted by the Labour government, will come into effect.

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The chief of alternative energy supplier Ecotricity, Dale Vince, has published a plan that he says could result in the UK deriving four fifths of its energy from green sources by 2030.

Reduce emissions

Vince, who is a Labour Party donor, has put his plan to the shadow energy minister Caroline Flint and the current energy secretary Ed Davey, however, he says, that he had given up on David Cameron as he felt he would not support the ideas due to his siding with UKIP who are climate change sceptical.

The plan, which was developed in conjunction with the Cambridge Econometrics group suggests a number of ideas to reduce carbon emissions. These ideas could result in almost half of UK energy to come from renewable offshore wind energy  by 2030 and a further 25% to come from biomass and onshore wind. The ideas include:

  • A ban on new coal fired power generation from 2020
  • A phase out of subsidies on fossil fuels by 2025
  • The scrapping of VAT on electric vehicles which would cut the cost by 20%
  • A tax on cattle and sheep ownership due to the agricultural emissions and fertilisers used
  • The employment of a new government minister dedicated to removing carbon from the UK

Freely available

Vince points out that in the future people may laugh at the fact that we pay other people to produce our energy rather than taking advantage of the wind and sun already freely available.