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If you're in the market for a new car, you might not have considered a hybrid car. For all their environmentally friendly abilities, a lot of people overlook the numerous other advantages that the hybrid car has to offer.

Hybrid cars are available in a range of models and makes, to suit anyone's need. Started back around 2004 by the likes of Lexus UK, the range of hybrid vehicles available has quickly spread to suit all needs and tastes. To this end, here is some of the information and advantages about the hybrid car that you might not have considered.

Less Fuel, More Money

Whilst everyone knows that a hybrid car is, as the name suggests, a hybrid of petrol engines and electric motors, not many people take the time to consider the financial benefits of this. Petrol, as a primary fuel source for your vehicle, is not cheap. The more you use, the more you have to spend.

Since hybrid cars are designed to use as little fuel as possible, you don't end up buying as much as you would with a conventional petrol consuming vehicle. Since you're not filling the tank up as often, you'll soon find yourself saving a large amount of money. As petrol isn't set to become cheaper any time soon, now would be a great time to switch to hybrid and start saving money.

Other Financial Benefits

Yet saving fuel isn't the only financial advantage you can receive with a hybrid car. Road tax is often cheaper for hybrid and other low emission vehicles. This might not be as important as fuel, but its a crucial annual payment none the less.


Of course, a hybrid car is still a car at the end of the day. You need it to fulfil certain purposes. Fortunately, hybrid cars don't sacrifice anything in terms of performance and usability to save the environment.

Since petrol is still used when necessary, these hybrid cars can still reach high speeds. This ensures that you can use your new vehicle on motorways and other areas that require a certain speed. The petrol provides a little extra power when you need it.

Fuel efficiency

Likewise, the rest of the car is also often designed to use as little fuel as possible. This means light weight materials are common place, and that hybrid cars boast excellent fuel efficiency. With additional streamlining and intelligent design to shift between the fuel engine and electric motor, hybrid cars can provide a surprisingly smooth driving experience.

In summary, these are just a few of the major benefits of the hybrid car. This isn't including the obvious benefit of saving the planet; less emissions emitted by hybrid vehicles instead of traditional petrol based cars results in less harm to the environment. So, whether you want to save the atmosphere, or simply want a car that saves you lots of money whilst providing a reliable driving experience, a hybrid car has a lot more to offer than you might think.

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Norwegian company Sargas, apparently one of the leading firms in 'carbon capture', is intending to build a fleet of environmentally friendly power plants.

Together with US energy giant General Electric, Sargas announced last month that they have created technology that enable them to sell gas-fired power plants that capture 90% of their output of carbon dioxide. Instead of spuming out toxic pollution, these eco power plants would retain and store the carbon pollution underground, which Sargas claims can provide cheaper and cleaner energy. The first of these new plants will be built on the north western coast of Norway by 2016, and will deliver electric power to the area's offshore oil and gas fields which supply around one fifth of the UK's gas imports.

All well and good to try and reduce the carbon dioxide pollution, but what about these power plants continued use of fossil fuels? For a more sustainable future we should instead be looking at renewable energy such as solar, tidal and wind.

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Today Hertz announced the addition of electric vehicles to their Long Term and on Demand car hire. For obvious reasons we were super excited about this news as more electric vehicles on our roads means less harmful emissions clogging up the air!

So to celebrate the expansion of their range of vehicles, Hertz will be showcasing the electric cars at Victoria Station and running a 'spot the car' competition tomorrow 16th May.

Electric vehicles will be parked at secret locations around London and Hertz will be tweeting clues to these locations throughout the day. There are a range of great prizes on offer:

First Prize - 1 x 7 day rental in a Hertz On Demand Mitsubishi I-MiEV (1 available)
Tweet a picture of yourself with the Hertz EV "Join the Hire Revolution" branded electric vehicle to @HertzOffersUK for a chance to win the above mentioned first prize.

Second Prize - 1 x Apple iPad 2, 16GB, WiFi (1 available)
Tweet a picture of the Hertz EV "Join the Hire Revolution" branded electric vehicle to @HertzOffersUK for a chance to win the above mentioned second prize.

Third Prize - 1 x 3 hour rentals in an Electric vehicle (10 available)
Tweet the street name and/or closest landmark near where you think the Hertz EV "Join the Hire Revolution" branded car is to @HertzOffersUK for a chance to win the above mentioned third prize.

So if you're in London tomorrow keep your eyes peeled!

green_piggy_bank.jpgWe're not sure this will be the saviour of the global economic crisis, but we like the sound of green banks. And if done well, it could place Britain among the top when it comes to creating a sustainable future for the world.

The first Green Investment Bank is designed to accelerate private sector investment in 'green' projects and is expected to employ 50 to 70 full-time staff across its two sites in London and Scotland. The bank's headquarters will be in Edinburgh, while the main transaction team will be based in the City of London.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: 'This decision will allow the GIB to operate effectively and achieve its mission of mobilising the additional investment needed to accelerate the UK's transition to a green economy.'

The state-owned bank will get £3 billion in public funds to help companies fund clean energy schemes and encourage private sector investment in similar projects. The Government said it will invest in green infrastructure projects from April, which include offshore wind power generation, commercial and industrial waste processing and recycling, energy from waste generation, non-domestic energy efficiency and support for the Green Deal will be the first priority sectors for the GIB, subject to approval by the European Commission.


Former California governor and actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has launched a new environmental initiative, Sustainia, that hopes to help people visualize a sustainable future using low-carbon resources.

With the support of the UN, Terminator star Schwarzenegger and Europe's climate chief, Connie Hedegaard are spearheading the virtual environmental campaign that encourages people to live a greener lifestyle.

The Sustainia initiative aims to show new and developing technologies, such as renewable energy and hydrogen-powered buses, on a virtual platform that will show people what an environmentally friendly world would be like.

Schwarzenegger says: "Being a champion in body building, in movies and in politics where I was able to lead California to renewable energy, energy efficiency, green jobs ... I believe it is important to demonstrate that sustainability is the better choice for all of us."
"For communities around the world and for the individual, the Sustainia award offers a multitude of benefits in terms of better health, more liveable regions and cities and increased productivity. But we need to actually see it to understand it. And this is what we will make possible."

Over the coming months, people will be able to visit, inhabit and help build the new world on a virtual construction site.

The project also comes with an accompanying book 'Guide to Sustainia, which was developed by Scandinavian think tank Monday Morning in a collaborative effort with 16 global companies, including Microsoft, Philips, Tetra Pak, and Cisco.

Visit www.sustainia.me for more information.

Green keyboard.jpgBy Zac Colbert

There's a lot of talk about companies going green and businesses becoming more sustainable. But more often than not it's just hot air. So what can you do in your office to encourage more environmentally friendly ways of working?

Day to day stuff: There are some simple things it's worth being aware of, everyday tasks that we frequently perform on automatic. It's nice when someone makes a round of tea or coffee, and in the afternoon late in the week that caffeine injection is essential. But when you're filling up the kettle be careful to only fill up as much water as you need. Not only does this reduce the water wasted but also the power required to heat it.

And the Lord said, let there be light. However he should have said, let there be fluorescent light. One Friday afternoon when the clients are quiet spend half an hour swapping all your old incandescent lamps for energy saving fluorescent bulbs. This will not only make your office more energy efficient but it'll also cut your electricity bills, making your boss love you.

Plants: Yes, literally, the colour green. Inhabit your office with some nature. House plants are very easily maintained, they require minimal water and sunlight. Not only will they help brighten up the office with their organic presence but they'll recycle the air, keeping it clean, fresh and healthier for the staff. Hopefully making for happier staff.

Moving offices? Consider the building you're moving into. As environmental issues are more and more prevalent there are increasing numbers of ecological offices springing up, built with recycled materials, green insulation like Thermafleece and with solar panels on the roof. If you're expanding and looking for a new premises, consider a sustainable building.

Getting a green office isn't a quick win goal, it takes time and consistent commitment but it doesn't always need a lot of effort. Some of the ideas above are easily implemented with very low cost.

The test is sticking to the aim of an eco-office, regularly thinking about ways of improving and questioning whether you're current processes are the most suitable.

Author Bio: is a writer covering a variety technology subjects, including sustainable business, eco design and mobile workforce management solutions. He aims to encourage companies to become more sustainable through his pieces both online and in print.

Here at Hippyshopper we love nerdy, geeky gadgets that can help us be even more eco-friendly and save energy. But with all the tech wizardry around, it can sometimes be difficult to filter through all the shiny gadgets to find those that can help with a greener lifestyle.

[thanks to energyrethinking.org]

With predictions of Arctic winter conditions looming, Britons will not be happy with the news that energy costs won't get slashed just yet - and may continue to increase in the future.

Prices are set to continue to rise because of the rising cost of gas on the international market, and now Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted the Government need to work "harder and faster" to bring down energy bills ahead of a summit being held at Downing Street today, Monday 17th October 2011, to discuss the hostile energy market in Britain.

Following the latest Ofgem report, David Cameron has in a joint article with Energy Secretary Chris Huhne on moneysavingexpert.com outlined what the Government are looking to do: "Energy bills have increased by more than £100 for most people since this summer (the cost of gas and electricity has risen by up to 18% in the past few weeks). These price rises couldn't come at a worse time for consumers who are already feeling the pinch from rising petrol prices and the cost of the weekly shop."

Regulator Ofgem published plans last Friday in which it said suppliers will be forced to have no-frills tariffs - one standing charge plus a unit charge for energy used - to make it easier for consumers to figure out which supplier is best for them. But unfortunately this won't be put into motion until 2012 and while big energy providers like British Gas and Npower expected to pledge not to raise prices again this year, it can't be avoided that people will see their bills increase this winter.

But there are some things you can do to cut your energy bills, here are four tips:

Bisque: stylish radiators with an eco edge

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Ellisse Wow 3.jpg

With tales of cold Arctic winds possibly hitting the British Isles in the next few weeks and winter just around the corner, you're probably considering how to keep your house warm over the coming months. Making sure your place is properly insulated is a given but what about your radiators?

It might be too late for this season, but if you're considering swapping your boring old white radiator for a more stylish design - yet want to make it energy efficient - let us introduce Bisque. This is Italian design at its best but with an eco twist!


The new generation of aluminium Bisque radiators for 2012 are made from re-cycled aluminium and are the first radiators to combine sleek Italian design with energy efficient technology.

With a low water content - using 85% less water than your standard radiator - Bisque aluminium radiators take a shorter time to heat up and cool down, meaning they use less energy to heat your flat and respond to changes in temperature faster. So not only are they more energy efficient, they may also lower your bills!

The Blok and Ellisse ranges are available in the Bisque London Showroom now and nationally from February 2012. Blok is priced from £514.80 and Ellisse is priced from £700.80


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Fed up of spending so much of your hard earned on fuel bills? Once a year, the six big energy companies usually increase their prices. However, so far this year prices have been increased not once but twice: first in April, and then again in June.

British Gas, E.ON, and Scottish and Southern Electric have hiked up their gas tariffs by 18%, increasing electricity by 16%, 11% and 11% respectively. Npower have increased gas by 16%, electricity by 7%.

And Scottish Power's gas tariffs have increased by 19% with electricity following at 10% more. These are only the most recent increases, and looking at past trends, they won't be falling anytime soon.

So how can you save money whilst the power giants increase their prices? This is where realistic, sustainable solar energy from HomeSun comes in. Installing free solar on your home could save you £237 and wipe out the British Gas price rise (see http://www.homesun.com/energy-price-rises). Developments in any good green energy such as that offered by HomeSun are held back by big power companies, but now people have the chance to declare independence from this. You can generate your own electricity by installing solar panels completely free.

200614_173305526055711_159321044120826_436552_7006518_n.jpg A home solar system consists of panels fixed onto your roof, wired to a small inverter (ideally in your loft). This converts solar electricity (DC) into household/grid electricity (AC). From the inverter, the electricity flows through a solar meter to your existing consumer unit (fuse box) where it’s connected to the rest of your home’s electrical system. Bob's Your Uncle!

To qualify for solar panels your roof should face as close to south as possible (southeast to southwest can be OK) and have a pitch of between 25 and 55 degrees. Ideally, you will also need to look for 24m2 squared of unshaded roof  for a 12 panel system size to 2.94KW.

However, if you are still unsure about whether you quality for solar panels go to the Home Sun website. On the website you can also get information on the benefits of solar panels and look at some of the featured homes, complete with homeowner interviews, images and videos.

HomeSun - http://www.homesun.com/

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Viral video by ebuzzing

How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

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Honda hybrid.jpgWith a number of recent developments propelling hybrid cars into the forefront of public attention, people are beginning to consider updating their existing vehicles to more eco-friendly models. But how exactly do hybrid cars work? And what are the benefits which they offer motorists?

Hybrid cars are different from electric cars in that they operate using both an electric motor and a traditional petrol powered engine. This means that they are able to offer high levels of performance whilst keeping environmental effects low.

How Do They Work?

The initial energy of a hybrid car is generated by the petrol engine in the same way as a conventional car. The difference lies in what happens to this energy after it has been expelled. Rather than being wasted, as with normal cars, hybrid cars recapture it and use it to recharge the battery which powers the electric motor.

Honda logo.jpg The electric motor is designed to boost the power and performance of the car, meaning that the traditional engine is not required to do as much work. This means that the car continues to perform at a consistently high level but uses less petrol, making it have better fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

What Are The Benefits?

Of course, the main benefits of hybrid cars are those which relate to the environment. Low emission cars are those which emit lower levels of carbon dioxide from their exhaust fumes, thus lowering the harmful effects on the environment.

Alongside these benefits, hybrid cars also have a number of economical advantages for their owners. A number of hybrid cars are exempt from costs such as the congestion charge and may be subject to reduced rates of road tax. This means that drivers can reap financial benefits whilst protecting the environment.

What Types of Hybrid Vehicle Are Available?

Hybrid vehicles are available in a number of different formats and styles, meaning that there is a model suitable for all needs. Even a 4x4 car can have lower carbon dioxide emissions to make it more environmentally friendly, meaning there is no excuse for motorists not to protect the environment.

An example of one hybrid car available in a number of formats is the Honda Insight. This vehicle comes in a number of different models, such as the SE, SE-T, ES, ES-T and EX. These are all individually priced and will come with different features and will boast different carbon emission and fuel efficiency levels.

They all utilise a 1.3 petrol hybrid engine and their mile per gallon ration varies from 61.4mpg to 64.2mpg, depending on the particular model. All of the models are rated as "B" in the VED banding system, meaning that their road tax costs absolutely nothing each year. The cheapest of the models is the SE which costs under £17,000. The SE comes with a number of interior features designed to offer improved comfort, such as climate control, active headrests, arm rests and audio controls integrated into the steering wheel.

Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm-480.jpgGrimsby Docks, Sunday morning 7.15am. The smell of fish wafts up from the bay as a middle aged man takes his Staffie for a walk past a load of broken-up, fly-tipped bedroom furniture. The dog takes a wee on a broken coil from the mattress of a discarded double bed. Nice.

It may not be everyone's idea of a good time, but I'm surprisingly excited despite the inauspicous surroundings. Thanks to British Gas, I'm about to visit one of Europe's largest offshore windfarms, situated about 35 miles down the coast in the usually very windy North Sea. Luckily, today the water is as calm as a millpond, so I can sit back and enjoy the journey in the state of the art catamaran decked out with all the latest gadgets - including, cleverly, seats that move to compensate the feeling of motion sickness.

Technicians from British Gas' base in Grimsby take this journey out to the wind farm everyday (except in really terrible weather conditions), but today I'm out here with a film crew shooting extras for Channel 4's eco-series, Three Hungry Boys.

Three Hungry Boys-480.jpg Now in its second series (due to air later this year), the programme sees three hirsute fellas travelling around Devon and Cornwall meeting various communities and getting involved in different eco-causes, powered only by an electric milk float called Daisy. Tim, the leader of The Hungry Boys, is very nice, but he doesn't half look like The Green Wing's sexy doctor played by Julian Rhind-Tutt (I phone my wife, she's very excited and asks for lots of pictures).

Seriously impressive

While we all like the idea of renewable energy, the truth is that many people complain about the environmental impact of wind turbines on land (not really sure why as they definitely more beautiful than electricity pylons). Putting them at sea therefore seems like a great idea, not only because it lessens their environmental impact, thereby reducing protests from complaining NIMBYs, but also because it makes good use of the North Sea's high winds - and believe me it does get windy here.

There is also, inherently, something a lot more exciting about visiting a wind farm rather than say an oil rig or power station - maybe because it feels like you are looking into the future rather than back at the past. I think Mick Turner, Centrica's Head of Renewables, Operations and Maintenance sums it up best: "We are all learning so fast about renewable energy, it's a bit like being involved in North Sea oil exploration in the 1970s."

Bags of energy

While naysayers constantly talk about wind power's inability to produce enough electricity to meet our needs, the truth is that it is becoming more important. "Realistically wind power is only part of the solution to our energy needs - we do need to look at other sources like nuclear," admits Mick. "But last week when we had quite a lot of wind it was enough to provide 10 per cent of our total electricity."

Comprising 54 wind turbines (don't let Mick hearing you call them 'windmills'), the Lynn and Inner Dowsing Wind Farm is one of the biggest in Europe, producing 800 Mega Watts of electricity - enough to power 130,000 homes. They are also seriously impressive. Pulling up to the wind farm, you are quite simply overwhelmed by their size and unbelievable grace - like the modern day equivalent of the Pyramids, as Tim from The Hungry Boys succinctly puts it .

Measuring the size of a football pitch in diameter, the blades are near silent despite moving around at speeds of up to 180Km/h. And to be honest, how can anyone complain about their presence this far out to sea (except perhaps the engineers who have to come out here when it's blowing a gale).

For British Gas customers, there's also the opportunity to assuage your environmental guilt at using fossil fuels by signing up to to its Energyshare tariff. Basically under this tariff all the energy that you use is matched by electricity produced by British renewable sources - at the moment 100 per cent comes from the Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farm.

Anyone signing up to the tariff before February 2011 will have the opportunity to win Solar panels worth £9,999 as well as receiving a free gift to help save on bills and carbon emissions (take your pick from an electricity monitor, a standby saver, water widget and eco-kettle and a set of radiator panels).

Seems like a no-brainer to me, although rather shockingly only 2 per cent of us have so far signed up to a 'green tariff' so there's a long way to go before we all get our electricity from wind farms like this one off the coast of Lincolnshire.

You can see the Three Hungry Boys in action on Channel 4's website.


Recently planted onto University of Bradford terrain is an ambitious, new eco-friendly student village, aptly set around a lovely central pond. Its opening will certainly claim a queue amid the more eco-oriented of the pupils but even for those not so keenly green, the village still has plenty of appeal. BBC News reports the £40m snazzy settlement's got 1,026 townhouse and apartment bedrooms with patios and gardens. Some even come complete with a built-in barbecue. Student accomodation? Who'd have guessed it?

Student can easily track their energy and water usage on displays and 'even receive low-usage rebates on thir bills.' With not a rubbish bin in sight, seperating and recycling waste will be pretty much mandatory for residents and for those new to the sustainability trade, a team of ambassadors will stay handy around the area to help them help the environment. Now here's the best part - residents wlll be significantly reliant on solar energy to partially supply them with hot water and much more. Ah, and the central pond? Aside from serving as a thing to marvel at perhaps, it'll have its uses collecting rainwater. Sounds a bit like a greengoer's paradise (I may consider transferring to this here university!)

Maybe eco-friendly initiatives are soon to be prevalent on the academic front, for Queen Emma Primary School, Cambridgeshire's 'greenest' school, is scheduled to fully open its gates a month from now. Intriguing eco features include 'harvesting rainwater to flush lavatories' (so British downpour you're not totally tactless), a water drainage system in wetland, a scented garden, and an outdoor classroom (again, just watch that sporadic downpour.)

What better place to inspire eco-friendliness than academic institutions, hotbeds of wisdom and new ways of thinking?

MarkThomasCrowdSOCIALJUSTICEZONE.jpgIf you're looking for something to do the first weekend of September why not head to London for the Urban Green Fair?

Returning to Brockwell Park, Lambeth, South London, for its fifth year the great people of the Urban Green Fair Community Interest Company (CIC) are putting on an array of cool events on 4th September 2011. The free fair runs from 11am to 7pm and offers things like films, poetry recitals in the new Poetry Tent, workshops, speakers, children's activities, yummy food and BMX races, which all offer practical cost-effective solutions for a greener living.

Powered using only solar and wind energy this is set to be one great day out in the green.

Shane Collins, Urban Green Fair director said: "As well as being a fun day out, whatever your age, the Urban Green Fair is a chance to learn about the changes coming to our society and how best to navigate them together. Forewarned is forearmed. Whilst climate change is the reason we should make changes in our lives, peak oil will force us to make these changes. This collective action can be achieved through events like the Urban Green Fair, which help educate and stimulate public support for green initiatives. It brings together local people, and those from further afield, to share knowledge and skills that can help us live more sustainable lives."

So get the date in your diary and prepare for a day of learning more about how you can make a difference - and chill at the Solar Cinema with some delicious food.

Visit www.urbangreenfair.org for more information.



Not that July has given Britain many sunny hours so far, but with the news of rising electricity prices many Brits are undoubtedly thinking about installing a solar panel or two on their roof to reduce their electricity consumption. A Suffolk company has gone a couple steps further though by installing 7,000 (!) solar panels.

The roof of Promens' warehouse in Beccles, Suffolk claims to be the UK's largest solar farm and will use almost 100% of the energy generated in the company's manufacturing process. Since the Government has dramatically reduced subsidies available for any solar scheme over 50KW after 1 August 2011, it is likely this is the largest roof-top installation we will ever see on the British Isles.

It is great to see that companies are doing more to make use of the great renewable energy source sunlight is and we hope more will follow. Developed by Lightsource, the 7,000 solar panels will give the site a capacity of 1.65MW.

If you are thinking about installing solar panels on your roof, you can find out more about the benefits here.

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