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Energy use and prices are UK priority

It’s a worrying time for UK consumers as energy prices seem set to increase across the board. Of the big six energy suppliers in the UK, only two are yet to announce price increases. eco houseThough Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to force gas and energy suppliers to give customers the cheapest tariff (October 17th), we are yet to learn how this will work.

As we head into the coldest time of the year, UK consumers have identified energy prices as the “biggest threat” to their household finances over the coming year, according to a new report from YouGov. The Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT) found that households rated the importance of rising energy prices above even unemployment and the subject of state benefits.

Joe Twyman, YouGov Director of Political and Social Research, said:  “The degree to which consumers are worried about energy prices compared to things like unemployment is particularly interesting and is a reflection of the fact that the rise in energy prices this winter in something that is going to affect everyone.”

One side effect of rising prices is a bolstering interest in energy saving, and making saving a priority will help homeowners to get the most from their money.

In the average household the central heating system is responsible for 60 per cent of energy use, so if you have an old or inefficient system now is the time to consider updating it. You could even receive financial help form the government in doing so (see here). If a new boiler is completely out of the question, better programming and closer control over your existing one could help you on your way to more efficient heating. If your thermostat is over 12 years old, The Energy Saving Trust recommend you consider installing new models, as controls are now far more accurate. If you’ve never quite got to grips with programming your heating system it’s well worth taking some time out getting to know it properly so that you can set timers and room thermostats, for more information see here.

Prepping radiators to be as energy efficient as possible can help you direct heat where and when you need it. Traditionally radiators have been positioned under windows to encourage an air current back into the room, but if you have double glazing there is no real restriction on where you position the radiators. The key thing is to make sure there are no obstructions stopping the heat your radiators are pumping out from coming into the room. Bleeding your radiators stops trapped air or gas from reducing the temperature and it’s easy to do. It’s a common myth that leaving your radiators on all day will result in lower energy use, but unless you have a very efficient home this is likely to be an expensive policy with high wastage.

Finally, don’t forget to make sure you are doing your best to keep the heat you are generating in the room by making the most of insulation techniques.

This post is published in association with Help Link UK, the boiler replacement and new boiler installation specialist.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the brelli – a sustainable luxury umbrella

brelli umbrellas
I originally wrote about the BRELLI when it was first introduced back in 2007. In the intervening year the folks at BRELLI have added some new features: the umbrella’s transparent canopy now provides a hefty dose of protection from the sun (it provides 99% UVA/UVB/UVC protection), rain and winds up to 40 mph.  brelli greyAnother green perk – the BRELLI is now designed to biodegrade in aerobic and anaerobic landfill environments (within 5 years).

The BRELLI — marketed as the ultimate eco-friendly, luxury high fashion accessory — is handmade in Thailand. Each one-of-a-kind umbrella is hand carved using expert craftsman techniques. The BRELLI canopy is made with BRELLIX film (developed expressly for BRELLI) and made in the USA. The BRELLI is now produced in several transparent colors — from clear, pink, navy, sienna, and grey, to several prints.

BRELLI is offering 20% off its entire product line – October only.

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a mixed bag of green news

road in autumn park

autumn park photo via

related: more green news from The Alternative Consumer

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