Hot tips on cutting energy costs

October 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

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Labour leader Ed Miliband dropped something of a bombshell when he announced plans to freeze energy bills for cash-strapped voters.

The opposition and energy firms said it just couldn’t be done.

But when the big suppliers began increasing bills by up to 10 per cent, the urgency to do something about the spiralling price of gas and electricity became big news.

As well as insulating our homes, offices, schools and factories and introducing energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, alternative energy sources are becoming more and more attractive, more and more accessible and cheaper to install.

One big incentive is the Government’s Feed-in Tariff – a cash-back scheme for making green energy. Buildings setting a new standard for ultra-low energy use include the Passivhaus offices, on the Watermead Business Park, just off the A46 in Syston.

This building is the first carbon negative commercial office in Britain, built to a rigorous design criteria started in Germany to cut energy bills to almost nothing.

As well as 360 degree insulation, triple glazing and air-tight walls, windows and doors, beneath the building are pipes linked to a ground-air heat exchanger which cools incoming air in summer and heats fresh air during winter. The top floor can be heated for a day using the equivalent amount of energy needed to boil a kettle.

On the other side of the county, the UK’s first fully solar-powered home in Great Glen, recently went on the market for £1.2 million.

The timber-framed family home boasts a vast array of zero-carbon features, including solar electric energy, triple glazing and rainwater storage.

The building is entirely heated by the sun via underground water-filled tubes, which are warmed by solar energy from rooftop panels.

Buried pipes heat the earth beneath the foundations during the summer. The ground retains the heat in winter, warming the house.

An example of a community building which is now using renewable energy is John Ferneley College, in Melton, which worked with Myriad Solar PV in nearby Burrough on the Hill on a solar power system that drastically cut its demand for electricity from the National Grid.

The 50kWp solar PV system, installed by Myriad Solar PV alongside an existing wind turbine and biomass boiler, provides electricity even on a cloudy day – and means that when the sun shines the 1,000-pupil college can be entirely self-sufficient.

John Ferneley is now seeking planning permission for an additional 100kWp of solar capacity early next year – which could eventually help reduce its bills to zero.

Myriad has also installed solar panels at Eye Kettleby Lakes – which offer fishing and luxury log cabin accommodation in 150 acres of countryside near Melton – to reduce its carbon footprint, increase its sustainable income and generate new revenue streams.

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