Connect with us


Will the green deal energy efficiency scheme work?



The green deal idea is simple; homeowners and businesses should employ green technology into properties with no upfront costs.

Yesterday, the government set out secondary legislation that will give the scheme the green light in bringing lasting energy efficiency into operation, but some remain critical of the success of the project.

The Green Deal Household Model (GDHM) provides projections for the take up of three most significant domestic insulation measures – loft, cavity and solid wall insulation.

Many British homes are fetching energy efficiency levels way below what they should be. The green deal positions itself as an innovative solution, cutting carbon emissions, and mounting energy bills by making 14m houses warmer and less expensive to heat.

But, the coalition’s own flagship strategy may well be floundering after revelations from its own final impact assessment, which discovered that the number of lofts being insulated per year will plummet by 83%. The deal remains at the heart of the government’s ambitions to be the “greenest ever”.

On Monday, energy secretary Ed Davey announced the government response to the green deal and ECO (Energy Company Obligation) ahead of its introduction, expected this Autumn.

“It is important that the market will be able to test systems properly during the first weeks following the introduction of the green deal framework and ahead of the first fully completed green deal plans in early 2013”, said Davey.

“The ECO legislation I have put before Parliament today will ensure that a new ECO is established from October this year.

“This will mean that an estimated £1.3 billion worth per year of energy efficiency and heating measures can be delivered across Great Britain.

“This will be directed to vulnerable and lower-income households, and carbon saving measures. The government remains absolutely committed to tackling fuel poverty.”

Davey’s statements prompted criticism that initial take-up of green deal loans would be low. The updated impact assessment however stands as a disappointing blow to the rate of insulation projects. The assessment predicts that the number of loft insulations will fall from about 900,000 in 2012 to 150,000 in 2013.

Additionally, the number of cavity walls being insulated is also predicted to fall, from about 700,000 in 2012 to 400,000 in 2013, a dip of 43%.

Together, the predictions fall staggeringly short of advised figures provided by the committee on climate change, in light of the UK’s climate change targets. Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) statistics show that 43% of lofts remain inadequately insulated, while 42% don’t have any at all.

DECC believes that the green deal has the potential to support 60,000 jobs in the insulation sector alone. But mounting pressures for the government to provide helpful incentives means that £200m funds and proposals to change building regulations teeter on the edge of disappointment.

The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) Ryan Kelly said, “Having more detail on how the green deal will operate on a practical level is an important step for a scheme that has the very real potential to cut costs for consumers and businesses in the long run, and help generate business investment and jobs.

“However, there is still plenty of work to do. With the launch of the green deal expected towards the end of the year, the government needs to move quickly to put everything in place. It must ensure that businesses who want to get involved are in the best position to do so and put the right policies in place to stimulate consumer demand.”

Grant Thornton’s head of energy, environment and sustainability, Nathan Goode, relayed messages of the government’s role in financial and carbon saving initiatives: “Anyone expecting a radical change of speed or direction from the government will have been disappointed by its response to the consultation yesterday.

“The government, seeking to balance consumer protection with reducing industry burdens, understands that too much baggage will hold it back. So the warranty proposals are designed to align with what is deliverable, while the assessor proposals stop short of insisting on full independence.

“The bit that’s missing is the real rocket fuel – the finance for householders. Virtually nothing is said about the Green Deal Finance Company, other than a general statement alongside other possible options in the framework document, while an answer on the disbursement of the early adopter money is postponed until later in the year.”

The government’s own impact assessment for the green deal casts a dark shadow over the scheme’s possible success. But there are other ways in which you can become more energy efficient at home: like switching to renewable energy for example. Get in touch with Good Energy to find out how.

Further Reading:

Government’s own figures show that green deal could fail

CBI and Green Alliance cautious over green deal

Green Investment Bank is vital for sustainable economic growth


Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy



Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

Continue Reading


How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands



Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

Continue Reading