Energy Performance Certificate in London


Following the European Union directive to reduce European carbon emissions, Energy Performance Certificates or EPCs were introduced in 2007 as a necessary requirement for the selling or letting of any property in England or Wales. In order to obtain an EPC certificate in London, a local Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) or Home Inspector (HI) must be commissioned. Click epc in London for more information.

Local DEAs can be found either through the EPC Register online or by contacting your local council or community for details of EPC providers in your area. Once an EPC assessor has been commissioned, a review will be conducted of the property during which the assessor will examine various aspects of the property such as the presence or absence of cavity insulation, radiators, windows, double glazing, light fixtures and fittings etc. These parameters will then be used by the EPC assessor to calculate the energy efficiency rating of the building, providing the property owner with a graded rating of which ‘A’ is the highest energy efficiency. In addition, the EPC assessor will provide a report on the potential alternations that can be made to the property to improve the rating and an estimation of the environmental impact.

Although providing an EPC rating is necessary in order to sell or let a property, it is also an important consideration for property owners to make especially if their property is in London.

Prospective buyers and tenants are becoming increasingly interested in the energy efficiency of the properties, both because an environmental awareness and also for avoiding paying expensive energy bills. This is particularly true of London where EPC rates may be paid attention to most as a result of expensive housing prices. Thus, displaying a good EPC rating in London may be the different between a fast or slow sell/let.

Of further interest to property owners in London is that in some cases where an EPC survey produces a poor rating, the government have introduced grants and/or funding that are awarded to applicants who require help in improving their EPC rating. Local London councils can provide more details on how to obtain EPC rating improvement funding. Importantly, new regulations to be brought in the April 2018 state that all buildings must be brought up to at least an EPC rating of ‘E’. In London, where competition for funding to do this may be at it’s highest, early application for EPC funding may be important.

Thanks to epc for you for providing us with this insight.

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Scientists Accidentally Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Ethanol

By: Tegan Taylor

PHOTO: Copper nanoparticles (seen as spheres) embedded in carbon nanospikes were used to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol. (Supplied: Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

PHOTO: Copper nanoparticles (seen as spheres) embedded in carbon nanospikes were used to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol. (Supplied: Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

A team of scientists has turned a waste product — carbon dioxide — into a fuel — ethanol — in a relatively simple process. And it happened almost by accident.

The US Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists were running a solution of carbon dioxide dissolved in water over a charged surface in the hopes of describing a reaction when they made their serendipitous discovery.

“We discovered somewhat by accident that this material worked,” study lead author Adam Rondinone said.

“We were trying to study the first step of a proposed reaction when we realised that the catalyst was doing the entire reaction on its own.”

The catalyst in question was nanoscopic spikes of carbon, studded with copper nanoparticles, that was electrified to essentially reverse the combustion process.

“They are like 50-nanometer lightning rods that concentrate electrochemical reactivity at the tip of the spike,” Dr Rondinone said.

The solution of carbon dioxide dissolved in water turned into ethanol with a yield of 63 per cent. This type of reaction typically results in a mix of several different products in small amounts.

Study a step towards closed-loop, carbon-neutral energy future

Monash University energy conversion expert Shannon Bonke, who was not involved in the research, said there were several exciting elements to the US study.

First, the end result of ethanol — a relatively complex molecule, with two carbon atoms, and a ready-to-use fuel — is considered to be difficult to achieve.

“Carbon dioxide has one carbon in it but ethanol has two carbons, so we’re sort of assembling the Lego blocks to get to the carbon molecules,” Mr Bonke said.

Second, the US team used low-cost copper, nitrogen and carbon, rather than the precious metals, such as platinum, that are usually necessary for these kinds of reactions.

Finally, Mr Bonke said a pure fuel made in a lab was cleaner in many ways than fossil fuels.

“Carbon dioxide [the by-product of burning ethanol] is odourless and colourless — and that’s not the words we would use to describe emissions on a city street,” he said.

“That’s a side benefit of going towards [these] fuels because the air’s going to be cleaner because what you’re burning is cleaner.”

Mr Bonke said science was inching towards closed-loop, carbon-neutral systems based around solar energy being stored as carbon-based fuels. Sound complicated? That’s how plants work.

“If you look out the window, 3 billion years of evolution has decided that this is the best way of storing energy. And if that’s the decision that’s been reached, it’s probably the right one,” he said.

The technique’s reliance on low-cost materials and an ability to operate at room temperature in water leads the US researchers to believe the approach could be scaled up for industrial applications.

Courtesy: http://www.abc.net.au/news/


Big US Businesses are Embracing Solar Power

By: Anmar Frangoul

Francis Dean | Corbis News | Getty Images

Francis Dean | Corbis News | Getty Images

A new report has placed a leading retailer at the top of U.S. businesses embracing solar power.

The Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Solar Means Business 2016 report found that retailer Target now has 147.5 megawatts of installed capacity, pushing it to the top of rankings – and above businesses such as Walmart and Apple – for the first time.

“We feel honored to be named the top corporate solar installer in the U.S. by the Solar Energy Industries Association,” John Leisen, vice president of property management at Target, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact,” Leisen went on to add. “Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress.”

Now in its fifth year, the Solar Means Business report assesses the largest adopters of corporate solar in the U.S. It is not, the SEIA states, “a comprehensive look at corporate solar in the U.S.”

Walmart, which has placed first in the previous four reports, now has 145 megawatts of installed solar capacity, according to the SEIA. It added that every week, 7.3 million people visit a WalMart powered by solar.

“These blue-chip companies are proof that sustainability and profitability is not an either-or proposition,” Tom Kimbis, the SEIA’s interim president, said in a statement. “Investing in solar is a common-sense decision that pays dividends for both the environment and companies’ bottom lines and these leaders deserve a big round of applause,” Kimbis added.

Clean tech and solar do seem to be gaining momentum in the U.S. Earlier this year analysis from Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonpartisan business group, found that the clean energy industry in the U.S. employed more than 2.5 million people.

“In a short amount of time, clean energy has become a huge part of our workforce and our economy,” Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs, said at the time.

Courtesy: http://www.cnbc.com/


Home Energy Efficiency: How to Achieve It

Energy efficiency is becoming an increasingly important aspect to consider as a homeowner. You can end up paying over 50% more on energy bills and utilities when your house is not well-maintained or designed for maximum energy efficiency. In fact, taking active steps towards improving your home’s energy efficiency can really help you save a lot in the long run. Whether it’s a property you’ve been living in for years or a new house you are about to purchase, these next few tips will help you become greener and improve your house’s energy efficiency by a long way.

It’s Never Too Early to Start

I always advise clients who are looking at Circle C real estate to consider energy efficiency as one of the aspects to consider when buying a house. In simple words, it is never too early to start. Not all properties are built for maximum energy efficiency.

For example, you can’t just install solar roofing on any house. Solar panels have certain form factors and require a particular roof design to work optimally. Thankfully, plenty of houses in Austin and other parts of the country are easy to work with.

The same can be said for insulation, windows and other elements of the house. A double-glazed set of windows alone can lower your energy bills by as much as 20%. Unless these features are already built into the house, you should take the cost of adding them into consideration too.

No Saving Is Too Small

A lot of homeowners make the mistake of thinking that the savings are not worth the efforts. In reality, however, there is no saving too small. A few percent here and there can add up to a huge amount of savings – just on energy and utility bills – at the end of the month.

Some home improvements are easier and more affordable than you think. Fixing those cracked windows, for instance, is a project you can do yourself over the weekend. Roofing maintenance is also more affordable than ever.

You can also switch to energy-efficient LED lights, replace old appliances with ones with a good Energy Star rating and be wiser with the way you use electricity around the house. Lowering your thermostat temperature by one degree, for instance, can help save a lot.

Be Smart

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to convert your home into a smart one. There are smart home appliances and gadgets that can help you be more energy efficient. Nest now has more than just an internet-enabled thermostat. You can control virtually every electrical appliance in the house using your smartphone.

Of course, you can do so much more with a smart home. Instead of leaving the lights on all the time when you’re out of town, you can switch them on automatically at certain hours. You can even turn the air conditioning on while making your way home from work, which means you can reduce your energy usage when you’re not home.

These tips are really easy to apply and can help you save a lot. Be more energy efficient today; the money and effort you spend to improve home energy efficiency will basically pay for themselves in no time.

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10 Easy Ways to Green Your Apartment

Ahh, rental, sweet rental. If you live in an apartment, many of our go-to green home tips don’t apply: renters usually can’t switch to an Energy Star dishwasher, keep a water-saving garden, install solar panels or add extra insulation. So besides schmoozing your landlord to add eco-renovations, what’s an apartment dweller to do? Read on for 10 easy ways to green your living space:

1. Start a Mini Food Garden

Good news: you can join the grow-your-own-food revolution, even if you don’t have a garden. As long as you have a porch, balcony, windowsill or light-filled wall that gets at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily, you can still exercise your green thumb. Give your plants a boost with vertical planters (like the trendyUrbio or Woollypocket), a hydroponic system (like the innovative Windowfarm) and dedicated grow lights that run on timers.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance options, Fungaea has easy DIY kits for growing oyster mushrooms or organic sprouts, and Back to the Roots has the AquaFarm, a cool self-cleaning fish tank that grows food.

2. Get a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats are a great tool for conserving energy and reducing your utility bills (in fact, according to Natural Resources Canada, for every degree you turn down your thermostat at night, you can save two percent on your heating bill). Building supply stores have a wide range of programmable thermostats; for more of a splurge, we love Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat. It’s WiFi-enabled so you can monitor your home comfort and change the temperature from your smartphone.

3. Paint it Green

Your walls can be green, even if they’re painted beige! If you’re going for a synthetic paint, choose a low- or zero-VOC line, which won’t off-gas as much as conventional paint. Several manufacturers even offer recycled paint; Boomerang claims to have four times less greenhouse gas air emissions. Keep in mind that low- or zero-VOC means just that – low in VOCs. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the paint is free of harsh chemicals. Also, tinting the paint adds VOCs (the darker the colour, the more VOCs).

For added peace of mind, you can go all-natural: Canadian company Homestead House has organic, biodegradable and natural milk paint; Green Planet Paints offers non-toxic, plant-based paint; andAmerican Clay makes earth plasters with reclaimed marble sand and clays.

4. Start a Compost Bin

Garden-less apartment dwellers can still compost! Vermicomposting (or composting with worms) is ideal for smaller spaces. Worm Composting Canada has an excellent how-to guide to get you started. A second option is bokashi composting, a practically odourless method that uses microbes to decompose food scraps. With a bokashi bucket, you can compost produce, bones, meat, poultry and fish.

Perhaps the bigger question surrounding apartment composting is what to do with the outputs. Use your newly composted soil for houseplants, or offer it to a friend or family member with a garden. You can also give it away on Freecycle or Craigslist, or donate it to a community garden, school garden or farm.

5. Add Water-Saving Fixtures

Apartment living brings out the MacGyver in all of us. Doing a few simple repairs and retrofits can equal big water savings. Fixing a leaky faucet is usually as simple as replacing a worn-out washer, and you could save up to 530 litres per week. Installing a low-flow showerhead is another great idea – a 10-minute shower uses up to 190 litres of water, and switching to low-flow can reduce this by half.

If your landlord won’t replace an old toilet with a dual-flush model, do a low-cost retrofit yourself. Options include the Moen Dual Flush Water Saving Toilet Conversion Kit and the HydroRight Dual-Flush System.

6. Seal it Ip

Scout out those tiny air leaks that prevent your apartment from being the cozy, energy-efficient space you want. DIY tip: hold a lit incense stick close to the edges of windows, doors, electrical outlets and light fixtures. If there is an air leak, the smoke will waver as outside air rushes in. When sealing leaks, pick a safe, VOC-free sealant like Eco-Bond or AFM Safecoat.

7. Add Smart Furniture

Choose furniture made with eco-friendly processes and green materials. Look for sustainable wood (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and its biggest forest certifier, the Rainforest Alliance) or reclaimed wood (we love pieces from Urban Tree Salvage, Sourced & Salvaged or Union Wood Co.). If it’s not wood you’re after, try furniture made from recycled plastics or metals.

You can also choose to go vintage! Giving used furniture a new home prevents it from ending up in a landfill. Second-hand furniture also typically has lower toxin levels, as it has likely already off-gassed most of its chemicals.

8. Get an Organic Mattress

On average, we spend a third of our lives in bed! And unfortunately, most conventional mattresses contain a cocktail of fire-retardant chemicals and VOCs. Sleep better knowing that you aren’t exposing yourself to nasty toxins – look for mattresses made with organic cotton, all-natural wool or natural latex from rubber trees. Dormio Organic Beds and Soma Beds & Sleep Products have great options.

Don’t forget about the sheets! Organic Lifestyle is our go-to retailer for all things bedding.

9. Switch to Green Power

Call your utility company to see if it offers a “green power” option, or consider switching to a clean, pollution-free energy provider like Bullfrog Power. Its green electricity comes exclusively from wind and hydro facilities, with at least 50 percent sourced directly from your region. Get a quote for your apartment.

10. Less is More

These ideas are just a start – there are many other ways you can green your apartment. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to overhaul your space – being conscientious is about wisely choosing which items to keep, which to replace, what to repair or refurbish, and what to repurpose entirely. Remember: sometimes less is more!

Courtesy: http://www.greenlivingonline.com/