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H and V News

Renewable Project of the Year

Revolution Project of the Year

The judges agreed that Revolution Power’s efforts for the Newbiggin Maritime Centre deserved the highest recognition in this category.

The company designed and installed a renewable energy system that included 112 kW of air-source heat pumps for heating and hot water, supported by 10 sq m of solar thermal for additional water heating.

Further to this, electricity is produced by 20 kW of solar PV panels, with the company also designing and installing 1,000 sq m of underfloor heating.

Revolution Power has created a system that is fully integrated to keep running costs as low as possible.

For example, a total of eight air-source heat pumps were installed to function as a single unit, with the option of decoupling one unit for hot water, providing additional functionality of reversing the system to cool the building in the summer.

Additional benefits are provided by income generated by the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive.

Gazette Live

Olympic aim for Great Ayton canoeist

A TALENTED young canoeist has taken another paddle stroke on a long journey he hopes will take him to the Olympics after being given a significant career-boost by a North-east renewable energy firm.

Having shown over four years of dedication to slalom canoeing, 13-year-old Kris Wilkinson from Great Ayton has been selected to be a part of the Great Britain team next year.

Newton Aycliffe-based Revolution Power will be buying and sponsoring a brand new canoe for him to use in the GB competitions.

vKris, who is a member of the Tees Active Sports Academy, undergoes a rigorous training and fitness regime which involves practising on the water and completing various circuit sessions several times a week.

His commitment to the sport has earned him the recognition as an athlete which his father Mark, Revolution Power's Photo Voltaic (PV) sales manager, has also been helping him to achieve.

Kris said: "Being selected for the Great Britain team is something I never thought would happen to me.

"As this is such a huge achievement, the support of my dad and his entire company is incredibly important as I know that there will be a lot of people inwardly cheering me on through each step of my career.

"I am really grateful to Revolution Power for offering to buy and sponsor my new racing boat, and I'm now just looking forward to competing in the Great Britain team next year and showing everyone exactly what I can do."

Revolution Power managing director Wayne Richardson said: "I have been getting the low-down on Kris' progress since Mark started with Revolution Power, and I just decided that as an individual and a company, I wanted to help them in whatever way I could."

Kris' father Mark added: "To have my company and colleagues support my son in this way is a huge confidence boost for both of us."

ne business

Heat pumps are next big thing for energy sector

AN expanding renewable energy company says the Government's decision to cut subsidies for solar power will have major repercussions and it now expects heat pumps to be the next big growth area for the green energy sector.

More than half of Revolution Power's business now comes from air source heat pump installations and the business has recently fitted the two biggest in the UK, both in the North East.

Wayne Richardson, who founded the Newton Aycliffe-based business six years ago, said: "We have just installed the biggest air source heat pump in the country for Mitsubishi at Prudhoe Child and Mental Health Unit.

"We've also done the second biggest at Newbiggin Maritime Centre. We didn't know that we had but Mitsubishi confirmed it."

He believes interest in the technology - which works like a fridge but in reverse to create hot air - will boom after the Government radically reduced the incentives for solar-generated power.

"But I fear for the explosion [in interest] - heat pumps have to be carefully calculated and to do them properly, you need to know what you're doing," said Richardson.

"We've all heard the horror stories of the ones that don't work. I've put many a heat pump right."

The Revolution team includes a chartered physicist and construction experts working in the heat pump division. Richardson said: "It's going to be big.

"I think that pumps are going to grow, but it needs to be from people who know what they're doing."

Revolution has just moved into bigger premises to house its expanding staff. The company, which was started in Richardson's garage six years ago, now employs 17 people and has four apprentices.

He said: "Somebody took a chance on me. I'm apprentice-trained. I was an apprentice electrician and I worked for a family company and did pretty much everything.

"Apprentices are good and rewarding, but they can be challenging. I don't think kids today are much different to kids of yesteryear. I would recommend it to anyone."

Around a third of the firm's workforce concentrate on solar panels and Richardson says his planned rate of growth has been hit by the Government's decision to reduce the Feed In Tariff (FITs) incentives available to people who invest in this technology.

"We do very large projects so it will slow our expansion down," he said.

"The level of enquiries has gone down dramatically. People don't trust anything the Government says now. But we don't just do solar PV."

Fit system must change to protect solar industry

SUSTAINABLE solar industries will not be possible without changes to the Feed In Tariff system proposed by the Government, a North East energy conference heard yesterday.

Emma Hughes, editor of online resource Solar Power Portal made the statement at the Solar Flair conference at the Radisson Blue hotel, Durham.

She was speaking about the Government's controversial plans to reduce the Feed In Tariff by up to 50% next April for installations made after the December 12 cut-off point. Hughes told delegates there was a hope that the tariff incentive would be redundant in a few years and the Government was right to push ahead with their plans.

She said: "The Government has realised that they need to act now in order to sustain the industry to prevent a boom and bust scenario. If no action is taken, government will find itself in a position where it has to cut off the Feed In Tariff system before we reach grid parity.

"While the new rates will be a significant reduction, the people we are speaking to in the industry are saying the changes are needed."

It is hoped the tariff system will encourage households to become more energy efficient.

The third annual Solar Flair event was attended by many other big names in the industry including Dr Stephen Taylor from the European Space Agency, who gave an insight into the cutting edge solar power being used in the space programme.

the northern echo

Apprentices join solar revolution

A NORTH-East renewable energy firm is powering ahead in its plans for growth by moving to bigger offices and increasing its number of apprentices to further its commitment to the wider community.

Newton Aycliffe-based Revolution Power, established in January 2006, has moved to a bigger office to accommodate its expanding workforce, which includes three apprentices with plans to recruit a forth.

They are Stuart Hackett, a plumbing apprentice from Newton Aycliffe, second-year electrical apprentice Ross Cleave from Middlesbrough and Claire Wier, a second-year sales administration apprentice from Aycliffe Village. In addition to these appointments, Lois Prest, who joined as a second-year apprentice back in early 2010, has now been promoted to office supervisor.

Revolution Power managing director Wayne Richardson is now looking to appoint an additional apprentice in business administration and aims to have one apprentice for each of his full-time staff members.

Having taken on what will be five appointments in the last year alone, Revolution Power's workforce now consists of approximately 16 staff members, but the company's new office means that up to 30 staff members can be accommodated in total, both office and field-based.

The company's growth has been fuelled after its successful completion of major projects both nationally and regionally. It has recently been involved with the new build at Tresham College in Corby, Northamptonshire, by adding 38.5kW solar Photo Voltaic (PV) panels to generate the building's power.

Prior to this, Revolution Power also completed work on the Durham University Science Department and the Newbiggin Maritime Centre in Northumberland. All of these projects have led Revolution Power to reach well over the 200kW mark of installed solar Photo Voltaic (PV) installations.

The company has also grown through word-of-mouth referrals which arise from its commitment to innovation, values, morals and service.

Mr Richardson said: "These commitments are important to us as we are not just in it for the quick buck, but in it for the long haul. We intend to build a friendly, family-run business which does and will continue to support all of our installations throughout their life time, giving peace of mind to our clients.

"It's been really exciting to build a team of dedicated staff and apprentices here at Revolution Power, and bringing in apprentices has had a positive and lasting effect on the company.

"At a time when concerns about climate change are growing, I have been committed to training the next generation of renewable energy installers so that Revolution Power can continue to make business and private properties as environmentally friendly as possible.

"Our new warehouse also provides a lot of room to enable us to work on our projects more efficiently, and we'll also be looking at adding more renewable energy sources to our own office, too."

Revolution Power provides renewable energy products and services for domestic, commercial, community, educational and agricultural projects.

the northern echo

Firms hit out at Feed-in Tariff deadline

SOLAR panel installation firms have responded angrily after the Government announced a cut off date for new customers to receive higher subsidy rates just weeks from now.

As widely expected the Government yesterday said it intends to reduce the Feed-in Tariffs (Fits) subsidy from 43p per kWh to 21p per kWh.

While Fits exist to encourage all forms of renewables, about 97 per cent have so far gone into the photovoltaic (PV) panels used in the solar industry.

Although not as low as some of the 100 solar industry firms already established in the North-East had feared it could go, the addition of a December 12 as a cut off date for customers to receive the present tariffs after next April caused anger yesterday.

Many firms with advanced orders are set to struggle to fulfil them prior to that date, which would see householders receive the present tariff for the next 25 years.

The Government has introduced December 12 for the new tariff to start, despite the consultation period on the proposals not finishing until December 23.

Malcolm Potter of the North-East Renewables Alliance (Nera), a consortium made up of small firms which install renewable energy devices, said firms had already accepted the tariffs would be cut, but were shocked by the cut-off date.

He "I don't think people are jumping up and down about the tariff reduction although it is severe.

"But this cut off date was completely unexpected, it has taken everybody by surprise."

"It does seem really strange that such a drastic event would take place within the consultation period."

He added: "The whole thing not only has to be installed by December 12 by registered and licensed by that time as well.

"It is a short period of time, although the installers will work flat out. The work that they will be doing is on their order book anyway.

"They will try and satisfy the existing order book but the reality is they probably won't be able to satisfy all the orders they have got."

Wayne Richardson, managing director of renewable energy company Revolution Power in Newton Aycliffe, employing 18, said: "We are lucky in a lot of respects as we are not like a lot of the new start-up companies which are just doing solar, we do the full range of technologies and have work continuing into next year.

"But a third of my staff are dedicated to PV and if nobody is taking it up then there is a risk to jobs and that is the same across the whole industry.

"I was talking to one guy at another firm today, it is all he does and he is in total despair."

Mr Richardson also feared a shortage in available panels as firms raced to meet the December 12 deadline.

He added: "I think we are going to struggle to fulfill all the orders. We have the capacity and know we can do 15 installations a week but could struggle to get the panels."

Climate change minister Greg Barker yesterday admitted that firms in the sector faced a challenge.

He said: "Although I fully realise that adjusting to the new lower tariffs will be a big challenge for many firms, it won't come as a surprise to many in the solar industry who've themselves acknowledged the big fall in costs and the big increase in their rate of return over the past year."

The Government said that the cost of an average domestic solar panel installation has fallen by at least 30per cent since the start of the scheme in April 2010, from around £13,000 in April 2010 to £9,000 now.

In addition it said there had been a surge in households installing solar panels, threatening to break its budget for Fits.

"The plummeting costs of solar mean we've got no option but to act so that we stay within budget and not threaten the whole viability of the Fits scheme," Mr Barker added.

ne business

Growing company has the solutions

REVOLUTION Power is the premier North East renewable energy company which designs, supplies and installs a full range of renewable energy systems, including solar PV (electric) and solar thermal, along with air source and ground source heat pumps.

The business was founded in January 2006 to design and install renewable energy systems for its clients which work and continue to work, above and beyond the customers' expectations.

Over the years, the company has grown from strength to strength based around its founding principles of innovation, morals and service.

Managing director Wayne Richardson said: "As we strive to be at the forefront of renewable technology, we constantly push the boundaries of what has been achieved against what can be achieved.

"With this in mind, we have completed the first, second and third largest Mitsubishi Eco Dan air source heat pump installations in the country, on Prudhoe NHS Child and Mental Health Unit, Newbiggin Maritime Centre, and English Churches Housing D&A Rehabilitation Centre respectively.

"As no two jobs are the same and we have full independence, we are not tied to any single supplier or manufacturer, because we design the correct solution for each project based on the building and customer requirements, and not the products we sell.

"We also only use quality manufacturers and products as we fully support all of our installations throughout their life time, as we believe that low-quality, cheap products are a false economy. If you truly want to maximise your return on investment in the long term, choose high quality European products as many come with extended service warranties."

In the pursuit of customer service, the company has grown its design team, which comprises a chartered building services engineer, a physicist and people who are dedicated to customer service, and are not just chasing the sale.

As Revolution Power is one of the longest-serving renewable energy companies in the country, it's installation teams have a wealth of experience on both very large and very small systems. To date it has installed in excess of 280kw of solar PV systems, which is the equivalent of more than 79 houses, along with more than 5mW of heat pumps, equivalent to more than 255 buildings.

Revolution Power also has countless numbers of solar thermal panels and under floor heating projects under its belt.

With a renewable energy system installed by Revolution Power, you can rest assured that based on the company's long track record, it will be there to support you long after the installation has taken place, to help with any queries and help you get the most out of your renewable energy system

the northern echo

Aycliffe business boosts green revolution

A NORTH-EAST green energy company has launched a recruitment drive after completing its latest landmark project in the region.

Newton Aycliffe-based Revolution Power, suppliers of renewable energy products and services, is planning to take on six workers, which is expected to include two more apprentices.

Managing director Wayne Richardson admitted that training apprentices can be "a bit of a nightmare" but he remains firm believer in nurturing the next generation of skilled installers and designers.

"The way I see it is that someone placed their faith in me when I was starting out my career, so its only right that I give apprentices a step on the jobs ladder," said Mr Richardson. "It is time consuming to take on apprentices but seeing them gradually build up their skills base can be very rewarding. Our plan is to recruit an apprentice every time we take on a fully qualified tradesman."

Revolution recently put the finishing touches on a six-month project to help the Newbiggin Maritime Centre cut its carbon footprint. The Centre now boasts 10 square metres of solar thermal, 1000 square metres of under-floor heating and 20kW solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate energy in the 2.5m building and save approximately 11,463kg of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

The company, which has been running for six years, doubled its turnover to more than £1m over the last 12 months and hopes to be generating £5m by 2014.

Revolution has won a major contract to supply a sheltered housing project in York for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It has also worked on Durham University Science Department, the Meadow Well Community Centre, in North Shields, North Tyneside as well as schools and colleges across the country. It recently started work on an eco homes project in Newcastle.

Mr Richardson added: "We are really raising our profile on a national level and bidding for bigger and bigger contracts. That doesnt mean we have lost sight of smaller domestic installation work, but we have focussed a lot of effort to ensure our sales department could take the business forward. That has reaped rewards in the last six months. There are opportunities out there and we are well placed to win more work and create more job opportunities in the region.

"It was a genuinely rewarding experience to be carrying out this work for the Newbiggin Maritime Centre, working closely with the team and our clients to make sure that all the work met our highest standards and the clients requirements and expectations,"

"The renewable systems installed on the Maritime Centre will not only benefit the environment but will help maintain low running costs during times of escalating energy prices."

Newton News

Aycliffe Energy Company Completes Major Contract

Aycliffe Energy Company Completes Major Contract

A green energy company based in Newton Aycliffe is celebrating after successfully completing a major North East landmark project.

Leading suppliers of renewable energy products and services, Revolution Power, has installed 10 square meters of solar thermal, 1000 square meters of under-floor heating and 20kW solar Photo Voltaic (PV) panels to generate energy in the £2.5million building.

This six-month community project required the second largest installation of Mitsubishi Air Source Heat Pumps in the North East, which were designed and installed to ensure optimum efficiency and provide a comfortable environment for visitors, while keeping the Centre's carbon footprint to a minimum.

The PV on the Centre will produce 12,972 kWh of electricity per year, which saves approximately 11,463kg of Carbon Dioxide per year and provides a significant proportion of the Centre's energy requirements.

Revolution Power provides renewable energy products and services to domestic, commercial, community, educational and agricultural projects, and its work on the Newbiggin Maritime Centre is just one of the many projects that it has successfully completed this year. It has also worked on the Durham University Science Department as well as various schools and colleges in the North East.

The Company has more than doubled its turnover year on year, with hopes to continue this growth over the next year, which will be its sixth in business. Its team currently consists of 14 members, having increased by five over the last year alone.

Delighted to have completed such a significant project, Revolution Power managing director Wayne Richardson said: "It was a genuinely rewarding experience to be carrying out this work for the Newbiggin Maritime Centre, working closely with the team and our clients to make sure that all the work met our highest standards and the client's requirements and expectations.

"The renewable systems installed on the Maritime Centre will not only benefit the environment but will help maintain low running costs during times of escalating energy prices."

Following on from Revolution Power's recent success, Wayne is now planning to add another six members to his team, which will include up to two more apprentices emphasising his commitment to training the next generation of renewable installers. The Company's most recent appointment was taken on just last month.

For more information on Revolution Power, please visit

Darlington & Stockton Times

Renewable energy firm celebrates installation of 100th heat pump

A NEWTON Aycliffe renewable energy company is celebrating the installation of its 100th heat pump.

Revolution Power achieved the milestone when it installed one at Sedgefield police station.

The company provides renewable energy sources for domestic, commercial, community, education and agricultural projects.

Established in 2006, the 100 heat pumps have a total capacity of 1.1MW and will save more than tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Joanne Hughes, estates and energy officer for Durham Constabulary, said: "As a public sector organisation, the police must be seen to be setting an example in working towards phase two of the Government's low-carbon building project.

"Revolution Power has already managed to save us a great deal of energy and we are pleased to have cut our carbon footprint." The company has already installed a heat pump at Southmoor Police Station, near Stanley, and has more in the pipeline.

A ground source heat pump working to its maximum efficiency produces 4.5KW of heat for every kilo watt of electricity used.

Wayne Richardson, managing director of Revolution Power, was delighted to achieve the landmark.

He said: "I am very proud of my team and all the hard work they have put in since we established.

It has been a tough couple of years with the recession hitting.

However, we are in a much stronger position going into the new year than we were last year.

With our continued growth, I'm aiming to be at 200 by this time next year."

Also playing an important role on the police station projects and helping Revolution Power secure its 100th heat pump installation was Shaun Ackerley, of Parsec Consulting Engineers.

the northern echo

Powering forward with pump plans

A RENEWABLE energy company has installed its 100th heat pump as the business continues to grow. Revolution Power has installed a heat pump at Sedgefield police station, County Durham, which is the 100th the company has installed since it opened in 2006.

The 100 heat pumps installed by the Newton Aycliffebased business have a total capacity of 1.1 megawatts and will save more than 54 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Wayne Richardson, managing director of Revolution Power, said he is looking to install another 100 pumps within the next year.

He said: "I am delighted to achieve this landmark and am very proud of my team and all the hard work they have put in since we established.

It has been a tough couple of years, however we are in a much stronger position going into the new year than we were last year. With our continued growth, I'm aiming to be at 200 by this time next year."

the northern echo

Co Durham firm wins 'green' contract for Tyneside development

A pioneering Newton Aycliffe energy company has won a contract to supply an eco-friendly heating system to an existing community centre on Tyneside.

Revolution Power, based at the Technology Court, Aycliffe Industrial Estate, Newton Aycliffe, will install and commission a ground source heating system to support the community centre's vision of being carbon neutral.

Following the launch in July 2007 by North Tyneside's mayor this contract represents the next stage in Meadow Well's vision to provide a sustainable community centre to the people of North Shields.

Revolution Power will provide a Dimplex ground source heat pump at the community centre, which is located on the once-notorious Meadow Well housing estate, which was ravaged by riots in 1999. It will complement a large solar installation and two wind turbines and enable the centre to benefit from substantial energy savings, while providing a future-proof heating solution. The sourcing pipe which draws heat from the ground will be 3 km long and is buried under the playing fields.

Following extensive market research of the best renewable energy providers, David Bell, the technical advisor at Meadow Well, selected Revolution Power based on its ability to understand the centre's requirements and provide a full service encompassing initial consultancy, design, project management, installation and commissioning of the final system.

Carole Bell, Meadow Well Connected's Project Manager, has secured three grants that will fund the installations. "We were looking for a company that was attached to one of the framework suppliers of the Low Carbon Buildings programme and we wanted a local company," she said.

"The company should also have the technical expertise and a proven track record in delivery this type project. After serious research, Revolution Power was selected as it matched all of the prerequisite requirements."

Wayne Richardson, Director, Revolution Power, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to provide renewable energy solutions to the Meadows. Working with David Bell, our focus is to reduce the centre's heating bills within their vision of sustainability. The chosen combination of both ground source and solar technology will save thousands of tons of carbon emissions."

Tony Turnbull, Sustainable Development and Transport Partnership Coordinator at North Tyneside Council, said: "The aim of the centre is to be 'carbon zero' and eventually to transfer electricity back to the grid."

Dairy Farmers to Benefit from Cheap Hot Water

Dairy Farmers to Benefit from Cheap Hot Water

Article from White Stuff - Grants for a Hot Tin Roof

Hadrian Farm Services, the north's leading supplier of dairy equipment have developed a method of heating water for use in dairy parlours which will give dairy farmers cheaper hot water, reduce energy costs and is eco friendly.

The Hadrian Eco Water Heating System has been designed by Malcolm Archer Hadrian's Managing Director, uses the latest technology to take heat generated from the milk cooling process, rather that allowing it to be vented into the atmosphere. The system is fully supported by Revolution Power renewable energy consultants of Darlington, as well as by the major dairies as a cost effective method of heating water in milking parlours. Malcolm Archer said that the development was a result of the milk roadmap which was produced by the Sustainable Consumption and Production Taskforce of the Dairy Supply Chain Forum, in order to reduce the environmental impact of liquid milk.

The equipment captures the energy used in cooling liquid milk in a heat exchanger, and couples this with solar power, and together this is used to heat water necessary for the hygiene process within the parlour.

Wayne Richardson, Director of Revolution Power said this is a cost efficient and eco friendly solution to the production of hot water within dairy parlours.

The product was launched at the Yorkshire Show at Harrogate in July and a grant of up to 40% of the capital cost will be available through the Local Regional Development Agencies.

The benefit of this unique system is that it includes solar energy as well as heat recovery, said Malcolm, who eventually hopes to develop the system to be used in other situations.

Initial indications from the equipment already installed are favourable, and despite the lack of direct sunshine, the solar panels are proving to be effective, said Malcolm.

Graham Wilkinson Agricultural Manager Arla Foods UK said he was impressed with the system and acknowledged the work done by Hadrian Farm Services and felt it highlighted the work being done throughout the dairy industry to improve its energy consumption. As well as being economical to use it also reduces the amount of electricity for milk cooling and water heating, and as the average dairy farm heats between 100 to 200 gallons of water a day it is a significant saving, said Graham.

the northern echo

Chance to learn more about renewable power

A SUPPLIER of renewable power will showcase a new eco-friendly heating system at an open day this weekend.

Piercebridge Grange, a development of five barn conversions, just off the A67, to the west of Darlington, will be open to potential buyers on Saturday.

It will also give Revolution Power the chance to show off the Heat Pumps and solar thermal heating systems that will power the homes.

Dr Matt Hogan, Director of Darlington-based Revolution Power, said: "Climate change is a very big topic at the moment with many people seeking to find new ways of heating their homes.

"We have been involved in many successful projects, and have taken this experience, together with some knowledge of when things haven't worked out, to ensure a satisfactory outcome to every project."

The system will help to save 18 tons of carbon every year and reduce occupiers' heating bills by up to 50 per cent.

Dr Hogan added: "At the open day, you'll have the opportunity to see the latest technology in heat pump design and to talk to our clients and our engineers."

Revolution Power specialises in providing expert advice and installation services to reduce financial and environmental costs.

the northern echo

The green, green gas of home

DAVE Butters was already a fan of renewable energy - solar panels, wind turbines and heat pumps. But when he found that it would cost £8,500 for his newly-built house to be connected to the gas mains, the green, clean fuel option was a definite winner.

Dave, a self-employed builder, has now had a ground source heat pump fitted in his five bedroom home in Coundon, near Bishop Auckland, which heats enough water for his family, including wife, Vicky, and sons James, 17, Lez, 15 and Ethan, six. His plans for the future include fitting two solar panels and a wind turbine - in short, he hopes his home will become his own mini power station so he can say goodbye to energy bills.

"I've always been into energy efficiency but building the house has really given me the opportunity to get involved in it," he says. "At the end of the day, in 20, 30 or 40 years' time, people are going to be struggling to get energy. Plus, by doing this, it will still be a modern house in 20 years' time."

According to the environmental advice organisation, the Energy Saving Trust, renewable energy - energy which occurs naturally in the environment - is an issue which is on three quarters of peoples' minds. A recent survey released by the Trust said 74 per cent of people in the North-East were considering turning their homes into mini power stations capable of generating their own energy.

Says Steve Hunter, director of the North-East based Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre: "With climate change constantly in the news and energy prices rising steeply, public interest has never been so high.

'As our homes are responsible for more than a quarter of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions - the leading cause of climate change - it is extremely positive that people in the North-East are keen to reduce their homes' impact on the environment through energy efficient technologies."

The ground source heat pump is housed in the corner of Dave's garage. The system works by taking its heat from pipes which are buried under his driveway. The pump pushes a cold fluid, usually a mixture of water and anti-freeze, into the network of buried pipes. As the fluid enters the pipes, it gradually absorbs heat energy so that the fluid returns to the pump warmer than when it left. The pump then "upgrades" it to a higher level to provide heating.

Dave, 38, says he spent £18,000 on renewable technology at his home and sourced it from Revolution Power in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

"I'm into renewable energy and when I found out how much the gas board wanted I thought it was an ideal opportunity," says Dave. "They say in ten years' time it will have paid for itself but it will be a lot less for me because I didn't have to pay £8,500 to the gas board."

In the bathroom upstairs, tucked neatly behind a cupboard under the eaves, Dave has had a heat recovery system fitted, which took a week to install. Two plastic air filters are fitted to the ceiling at the top of the house, one of which draws in the warm air which has risen to be recycled, and a second which pumps out cool air akin to air conditioning but without the damage to the environment - or the bills.

"So when we had the heatwave over the summer we were all nice and cool," he says.

The house also has energy efficient lightbulbs and thick insulation. "It's OK having energy efficiency but if you don't have the insulation what's the point?" says Dave.

The Energy Saving Trust, which is government funded, has advised more than 1,700 homeowners in the North-East about the benefits of installing renewable energy in their homes. Solar water heating can provide almost all of your hot water during the summer months and 50 per cent all year round. Even in cloudy weather the sun will provide enough energy for the panel. Alternatively, small scale wind energy can cut your electricity bill by £200 a year.

There are also opportunities to apply for grants to help with costs. The Department for Trade and Industry offers grants through its Low Carbon Buildings programme with the value of the grant depending upon the technology used and the size of the installation. But you must use a grant accredited installer.

Dave received a £1,500 grant from Npower for his work. He hopes eventually to produce enough energy to give some back to the National Grid - for which he will be paid. Proof, if ever he needed it, that it's been well worthwhile going green.

Here comes the sun…Renewable energy for the home
Renewable energy's time is here it seems. What with gas and electricity bills going through the roof, and climate change looming large, there has never been a better time to consider investing in renewable energy technology for your own home.

In this article, Matt Hogan of Revolution Power will explain the benefits of two little known technologies – heat pumps and solar water heating. Both ideally suited to our climate here in the north-east – its sunnier than you think!

By far the cheapest and most eco-friendly home-heating technology currently available is the heat-pump. A heat-pump is a type of central heating system, which literally pumps heat from outside your home into your heating system, like a fridge-freezer in reverse. The ground or air outside your home is a vast reserve of energy, heated by the sun. Systems for heating the home do so with amazing efficiency – typically around 400%. That means for every unit of electric energy used by your heat-pump, you will get 4 units worth of heat in the house. Bills for oil heated homes drop by around 60%, electrically heated homes by 75%, with large reductions in CO2 emitted. The savings are potentially huge.

Another highly effective solar renewable energy solution is solar water heating. Solar panels are installed on the roof, and water is slowly pumped through them, collecting heat from the sun. Harvesting the sun's heat is up to 5 times more efficient than using the same area of solar photovoltaics to generate electricity. A well-designed system will provide 50-60% of annual domestic hot water needs, slashing bills & carbon emissions for around 30 years.

Revolution Power Ltd is a local company specialising in the supply and installation of renewable energy solutions. For further advice do not hesitate to call Matt on 01325 320910.