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Introducing a Blue & Green friend: Good Energy

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Each day we’re introducing one, two or three of our new affiliate friends. If you click through the link in this article, the link is tracked and may generate a small payment to us. Sometimes the payment is per click, per user, per application, per accepted application or any combination of the above. That payment funds us so we can grow and encourage even more readers to live, spend and invest sustainably. Today it’s the turn of Good Energy.

They are a South West Company, based in Wiltshire and were the first dedicated 100% renewable electricity supplier. 

They supply over 50,500 electricity customers, 24,000 gas customers and support over 73,000 homes, business and communities generating their own energy.

They have their own wind farms at Delabole, North Cornwall and Hampole, near Doncaster. And solar farms at Creathorne Farm near Poundstock, North Cornwall and near Wool in Dorset.

But more than simply sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewables, they’re helping the UK achieve a future that’s powered purely by renewables.

There’s a lot to do; it requires fundamental changes to the way energy is generated and used in the UK. But they believe it’s possible. And there’s a growing body of research, including their own, proving that it is.

Good Energy was founded over a decade ago with one clear goal – to make a difference to climate change. And they’re as true to that today as they were when they started out.

A different kind of energy company

Good Energy strongly believes that they have the opportunity to use the footprint of their business as a force for good, promoting best practice and holding themselves to the high standards that you have come to expect from them.

Good Energy is a UK owned company, based in Chippenham in the South West. They were founded in response to climate change, to be a catalyst for transforming the UK’s energy market by giving everyone the opportunity to choose renewable energy.

They don’t think the energy market needs to be complex and mysterious. They believe simplicity and transparency should not only be at the heart of how every energy supplier treats its customers, but in the way it does business too.

Good Energy buys power from renewable generators spread across the UK, from sources that include solar, wind, hydro and wave power.

For every unit of electricity their customers use, they buy a unit of electricity from one of these renewable generators. Because of the nature of renewables, sometimes they have too much power and sometimes too little, so they promise that over a 12 month period, each unit used by their customers is matched 100% with electricity sourced from their renewable generators.

Each day is broken down into 30 minute segments, and for each segment their trading team predicts how much electricity they think their customers will use and they also work out how much renewable energy their generators will be producing at that time too.

Their trading team specialise in forecasting renewable technologies and take over 25 weather feeds three times a day to calculate how much their renewable generators will be outputting. If they have too much power, they sell it to the market, and if they have too little power they buy from the market. The market electricity mix will depend from time to time on the overall power mix in the market.

Exactly how much power is generated from the Good Energy renewable sources is largely dependent on what the weather is doing. Good Energy contracts with many different generators who are spread far and wide across the UK, using a range of renewable technologies giving them a range of outputs. They combine this with their expertise in using advanced weather forecasting to predict how much electricity they will get from these sources, to maximise the value of power from all these renewable generators.

In addition to Good Energy buying and selling from the overall market to balance within any half hour segment, the purchaser and seller of last resort is the National Grid. The National Grid, rather than your chosen electricity supplier, has the responsibility of ensuring that your business or home is physically supplied with electricity. They supply your electricity demand with the source of electricity available at the time, from a range of different sources. They take over in the final hour to ‘fine tune’ the final changes either in demand or generation of power. Good Energy tries to avoid trading in this market because the costs are prohibitive. Their efforts go into ensuring that they have balance between their total power purchased and the demand of their customers before that point.

Their trading team ensures that they keep their promise that over the course of each year they buy enough renewable electricity so that all of their customer demand is matched from 100% renewable sources.

All suppliers have to report the mixture of fuels used to source their electricity, compared to the national average, on an annual basis.

This is enforced by DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) This is known as ‘Fuel Mix Disclosure’ and is published annually to help consumers make informed choices about their electricity supplier

To verify their electricity as renewable electricity, Good Energy uses Ofgem’s Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates. On a 12 month basis, Good Energy obtains sufficient REGOs to verify that they have matched their customers’ demand with their supply to the National Grid.  Ofgem states on its website that the REGO scheme “sets out increased transparency to consumers, allowing them choice to purchase renewable or non-renewable electricity”.

At Good Energy they ensure that all the electricity they sell to customers each year is matched 100% with electricity sourced from renewables. In addition they also have stringent procurement policies published on their website to help show which generators they consider to be renewable.

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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