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Launch of Alliance Trust Savings platform for Blue & Green readers

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If you’re interested in investing sustainably, responsibly or ethically then the good news is that Blue & Green Tomorrow have partnered with Alliance Trust Savings to offer you the opportunity to invest into a variety of tax-efficient and investment products.

Alliance Trust Savings is an award winning platform and we have been developing this partnership to allow those who read Blue & Green Tomorrow, who wish to invest sustainably, responsibly or ethically, to do so more easily.

You can now create a stocks and shares ISA, create an investment dealing account, manage your SIPP and create child accounts at Alliance Trust Savings. As part of our virtuous circular economy Blue & Green Tomorrow will be receiving a referral fee from Alliance Trust Savings for any new client generated from this partnership.

Alliance Trust Savings does things a little differently to other investment platforms. Unlike most providers they don’t believe in the revenues generated by one client’s investments, being used to fund the services enjoyed by others. As a result they charge all clients the same fee – a flat fee based number that covers the actual administration costs they incur by managing your holdings.

Flat fees: simple, transparent and fair.

Alliance Trust Savings now administer well over £6.5 billion of assets, on behalf of over 70,000 investors and advisers, via a wide range of investment products and asset classes across the platform.

The success of Alliance Trust Savings has come from doing things differently to other investment platforms and remaining steadfastly focused on what is best for the investor. They believe that for a platform to offer real value it has to address three core areas, primarily;

1. Investment proposition – Investors shouldn’t be limited by the range of asset classes available to them. So Alliance Trust Savings support and provide access to funds, investment trusts, ETFs and equities.

2. Service – a hands on approach to service is a key differentiator for Alliance Trust Savings. By charging everyone the same sum they can ensure that everyone receives the same, excellent, award winning, service experience regardless of their portfolio value.

3. PricingAlliance Trust Savings costs are related purely to the amount of administration work that they do, and are not correlated to the value of your portfolio. They know exactly how much it costs to administer accounts and they charge accordingly, they do not believe in the traditional percentage based models that effectively penalise you the more you have invested. Flat, transparent, fair and simple.

You can invest your money with Alliance Trust Savings using the following products:

– ISA (Individual Savings Account) – £18.75 per quarter

– Investment Dealing Account – £18.75 per quarter

– SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension) – £186 per year

See more at: http://www.alliancetrustsavings.co.uk/blue-and-green

Once you have selected the product, you will have access to a wide range of investment opportunities which include:

– Over 2,000 Investment Funds

– UK Equities

– Investment Trusts

– Exchange Traded Products

– Fixed Interest Investments

Within these investment options, Alliance Trust Savings have a wide range of sustainable investments for you to consider.

So you can get all the traditional platform benefits, a wider range of assets, genuine hands on service and a price that can save you significant sums over the life of your investments. And you help keep Blue & Green Tomorrow free for our growing readership.

Copy and bookmark this link: http://www.alliancetrustsavings.co.uk/blue-and-green/

To complete your Alliance Trust Savings application you will need to have the following information

1. Residential address details including postcode

2. Bank account details (account number and sort code)

3. National insurance number

4. A valid email address

Please remember the value of your investments and any income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount you originally invested. All investments carry an element of risk which may differ significantly. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any particular investment or product, you should seek professional financial advice. Tax rules may change in the future and taxation will depend on your personal circumstances. Charges may be subject to change in the future.
Alliance Trust Savings Limited is a subsidiary of Alliance Trust PLC and is registered in Scotland No. SC 98767, registered office, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee DD1 9YP; is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, firm reference number 116115.  Alliance Trust Savings gives no financial or investment advice. | © Copyright Alliance Trust PLC

Environment

How to Build An Eco-Friendly Home Pool

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eco-friendly pool for home owners
Licensed Image from Shutterstock - By alexandre zveiger

Swimming pools are undoubtedly one of the most luxurious features that any home can have. But environmentally-conscious homeowners who are interested in having a pool installed may feel that the potential issues surrounding wasted water, chemical use and energy utilized in heating the water makes having a home swimming pool difficult to justify.

But there is good news, because modern technologies are helping to make pools far less environmentally harmful than ever before. If you are interested in having a pool built but you want to make sure that it is as eco-friendly as possible, you can follow the advice below. From natural pools to solar panel heating systems, there are many steps that you can take.

Choose a natural pool to go chemical free

For those homeowners interested in an eco-friendly pool, the first thing to consider is a natural pool. Natural swimming pools utilise reed bed technology or moss-filtration to naturally filter out dirt from the water. These can be combined with eco-pumps to allow you to have a pool that is completely free from chemicals.

Not only are traditional pool chemicals potentially harmful to the skin, they also mean that you can contaminate the area around the pool if chemical-filled water leaks or is splashed around. This can be bad for your garden and the environment general.

It will be necessary to work with an expert pool builder to ensure that you have the expertise to get your natural pool installed properly. But the results with definitely be worth the effort and planning that you have to put in.

Avoid concrete if possible

The vast majority of home pools are built using concrete but this is far from ideal in terms of an eco-friendly pool for a large number of reasons. Concrete pools are typically built and then lined to stop keep out any bacteria. This is theoretically fine, except that concrete is porous and the lining can be liable to erode or break which can allow bacteria to enter the pool.

It is much better to use a non-porous material such as fibreglass or carbon ceramic composite for your pool. Typically, these swimming pools are supplied in a one-piece shell rather than having to be built from scratch, ensuring a bacteria-free environment. These non-porous materials make it impossible for the water to become contaminated through bacteria seeping into the pool by osmosis.

The further problem that can arise from having a concrete pool is that once this bacteria begins to get into the pool it can be more difficult for a natural filtration system to be effective. This can lead to you having to resort to using chemicals to get the pool clean.

Add solar panels

It is surprising how many will go to extreme lengths to ensure that their pool is as eco-friendly as possible in terms of building and maintaining it but then fall down on something extremely obvious. No matter what steps you take with the rest of your pool, it won’t really be worth the hassle if you are going to be conventionally heating your pool up, using serious amounts of energy to do so.

Thankfully there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure that your pool is heated to a pleasant temperature while causing minimal damage to the environment. Firstly, gathering energy using solar panels has become a very popular way to reduce consumption of electricity as well as decreasing utility bills. Many businesses offer solar panels specifically for swimming pools.

Additionally, installing an energy efficient heat pump or boiler to work in conjunction with your solar panels can be hugely beneficial.

Cover it!

Finally, it is worth remembering that there are many benefits to investing in a pool cover. When you cover your pool you increase its heat retention which stops you from having to power a pump or boiler to keep it warm. This works in conjunction with the solar panels and eco-friendly heating system that you have already had installed.

Additionally, you cover helps to keep out dirt and other detritus that can enter the pool, bringing in bacteria. Anything that you can do to keep bacteria out will be helpful in terms of keeping it clean.

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Features

4 Ways To Get a Green House in 2018

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green house and homes
Featured Image From Shutterstock - By Photographee.eu

Demand for green houses is surging. In 2020, almost 20% of all homes on the market will be green.

If you would like to buy a green home, this is a great time to look into it. Prices are still pretty low and there are a lot more financing options available than there were right after the recession.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, now could be a very good time to make the move! A number of factors in the housing market right now mean that you might be able to afford your dream home. Although in many parts of the country house prices are still rising, if you do your research and plan wisely, there are lots of good schemes to help you get your foot on the property ladder, or trade up to the house you’ve always wanted.

Interest Rates and Stamp Duty

Although the Bank of England raised interest rates by 0.25% recently, they remain very low, which is good news if you’re thinking of taking out a mortgage. However, rates may not stay low and it’s predicted that there’ll be a further rate rise during 2018, so don’t wait too long. Another factor that’s going to help first time buyers in particular is the Chancellor’s decision to abolish stamp duty for first timers purchasing properties for under £300,000.

Different options

For many people looking to buy a green home, raising a deposit of between 5% and 20% may not be a realistic option, in which case there are a growing number of schemes to help. Increasingly popular are shared ownership schemes, through which the buyer pays a percentage of the full value of the property (typically between 25% and 75%) and the local council or a housing association pays the rest, and takes part ownership. This is suitable for buyers who may struggle to meet the up-front costs of buying outright. There will often be a service charge or management fees to pay in addition to the mortgage. The Government’s Help To Buy scheme is a good place to start looking if you’re interested in this option. This scheme is now available to people looking to buy green homes too.

ISA Options

If you’re still saving for a deposit, another scheme is the Help to Buy ISA. You can get a 25% boost to your savings on amounts up to £200 per month with this scheme. It’s only open to first time buyers and you can claim a maximum of £3000.

Other costs

Green home buyers are going to run into a number of other ancillary costs, most of which are common to other homebuyers.

When calculating how much you can afford, it’s vitally important to remember that buying a house comes with a whole host of other costs. Depending on the cost of the property that you’re buying, you may have to pay stamp duty of anywhere between 1% and 5%. There’ll be estate agents fee if you’re also selling a property, although there are a wide range of online estate agents operating such as Purple Bricks or Right Move that have lower fees than traditional high street companies. Conveyancing costs to a solicitor can add another £1000-£3000 and you may need to take out life insurance and hire a moving firm.

There are other initial costs such as, fixing parts of the home that aren’t upto your taste. Getting new furniture to fill up all the new-found space in your new home. If you are moving away from the city, you need to consider the cost of transportation as well, as it can take up quite a lot over time. Take your time, do your homework and shop around and soon you could be getting the keys to your perfect home.

I hope this article was useful for you to learn more about the basics that you need to be aware of before you start the process of buying your first home. If you have any doubts with regards to this, let us know through the comments and we will be glad to help you out. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can improve the article, let us know them through the comments as well for us to improve.

Do you have any other reservations against buying your first home? Do you see your house as an asset or a liability? Do you think it is important for everyone to get themselves a new home? Let us know through the comments.

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