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Economy

£50 Million In Positive Investment Raised by Ethex

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Over £50 million has been raised in finance for charities and business with a social and environmental mission by Ethex, the online positive investment platform.

Founded in 2013, this non-profit organisation has since registered over 10,500 investors, helping to fund 55 different projects.

The finance raised on Ethex supports businesses that have a clear social and environmental mission at their heart and have an impact in areas like renewable energy, social care housing, organic food and farming, renovating historic buildings and microfinance in developing countries.

Lisa Ashford, CEO, Ethex, said: “We’re incredibly pleased to have passed such a magnificent milestone, particularly against a challenging backdrop last year with changes in government support and tax rules for some of the sectors we support.

“Ethex investors come from all ages and backgrounds, but they share a common desire to use their money in ways which support their own personal values, whether it’s tackling poverty, climate change or making a difference in another way. £50 million is a real vote of confidence in positive investment putting it firmly in the mainstream – and it’s something almost anyone can be part of. We think 2017 is shaping up to be a really exciting year, with new sectors to invest in and new tax reliefs, so make this the year you invest for positive good!”

During 2016, investments in community energy projects, ranging from rooftop solar panels to wind turbines, dominated on the website, although Ethex also helped raise funds for projects such as an organic food retailer in Bristol and affordable housing in London.

BHesCo is a social enterprise based in Brighton focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Kayla Ente, Director, BHESCo, said: “With the help of Ethex, BHESCo has successfully raised £286,000 from forward-thinking investors. This has enabled us to develop community owned, clean energy projects in Brighton & Hove, saving thousands of pounds for the local economy and significantly reducing carbon emissions in the city.”

Fairtrade organisation Traidcraft has been part of Ethex since it launched. Andy Biggs, Chief Operating Officer, Traidcraft, said: “The money raised through Ethex has enable Traidcraft to create an £11m trading business which benefits producers through sales of products in the UK, and created the organisational infrastructure to steward a charity that benefits over 500,000 people in developing countries a year.”

The total number of investors registered with Ethex is 10,503. They include people like Brenda Boardman from Oxford, who said: “I want to get closer to my investments, and I don’t want lots of middlemen making decisions on my behalf that I possibly won’t agree with. In my head renewables are such a no brainer. I mind less having the weather affect my investments than the vagaries of the City!”

Ethex currently has three new offers live on the website:

  • Leeds Community Homes, raising £360,000 to fund 16 permanently affordable homes in the centre of Leeds through a share offer with an expected return of 2% from 2020 onwards.
  • Gawcott Fields raising £1.1 million to fund an operational 4.17MW solar farm near Buckingham through a 20-year bond with an expected average return of 6% a year.
  • Orchard Community Energy raising £1.2 million to fund an operational 5 MW solar farm in Kent through a 3-year bond paying 5.5% annual interest.

Investors can also choose to invest in a range of other products and businesses through Ethex’s secondary market. Visit https://www.ethex.org.uk to find out more.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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