If you’re considering buying a property that’s more than 20 years old as a renovation project, here are some things to think about. 
 
Your House Buyer’s survey doesn’t include and electrical inspection and condition report (EICR). A professional inspection of the wiring and any installations will confirm that the property is safe and help you to understand what you will need to do to bring it up to modern standards. 
Although this news report initially seemed ‘stranger than fiction’, it’s a genuine example of extraordinary science. 
 
Mushrooms that you can buy at any grocers have been used to generate electricity. 
 
They were covered with bacteria that can produce electricity and strands of the new wonder-material, graphene, were used to collect the current. 
Here’s a clever idea… Siemens has introduced a virtual power plant (VPP). 
 
It’s a software solution that balances electrical loads from buildings connected in a ‘microgrid’ that has both renewable energy and energy storage. 
 
The new VPP service allows electrical loads of commercial buildings or industrial sites to be combined, helping to reduce the need for reserve power by balancing consumption. Building operators can then sell surplus energy back to the electricity market. Siemens believes this approach will increase the flexibility of the whole market. 
Electric vehicle charging - Photo by Mike Bird
The government says it plans to introduce low and zero-emission transport. 
 
Today you could go a long way and without seeing an electric vehicle, but numbers are slowly increasing. Only 1.8% of new cars registered were electric or low-emission in 2017, but that figure rose to 2.5 percent in 2018. 
The weather is getting warmer and summer is around the corner, so outdoor spaces will become more popular again very soon. Outdoor lighting can help to make the most of these areas. 
 
Here are some things to think about to make sure your outdoor lighting is safe and effective. 
 
Safety 
Firstly, make sure fittings are designed for outdoor use and locations are safe and unlikely to flood. Any light you fit outdoors should have an IP (Ingress Protection) rating of at least IP44. 
 
All outdoor sockets must be protected with a residual current device (RCD) to switch off electricity if a cable is cut. Cables must also be suitable for outdoor uses. 
 
 
Outdoor cables should be buried so they won’t be damaged by garden tools. 
A new report highlights how improved management and monitoring of building systems such as air-conditioning and ventilation, can reduce CO2 levels to improve the comfort and health of employees. 
It’s difficult to identify counterfeit electrical products, just by looking at them. 
 
The problem is growing as more products are bought online. Some online sellers are misleading shoppers with images taken from official product sites and fake official safety marks. They are often priced only slightly lower than the recommended retail price to avoid suspicion. 
To make a difference to our use of the national power grid, we need to store the energy generated through the wind and sun until we need it. 
There are some things in the home that we just take for granted. The humble three pin plug and socket are amongst them. 
Last year electrical contractors, their customers and installation specifiers were all challenged to improve their environmental credentials. 
 
The goal is to promote the use of trunking cabling solutions made with a minimum of 50% recycled plastic. 
 
Work is going ahead to define specifications and engage with businesses who will help to substantially reduce the amount of recyclable plastic sent to landfill. 
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