Browsing All Posts By Clare Louise

Do EPCs apply to listed buildings?

Many buildings require an energy performance certificate (EPC), but it has always been unclear whether listed buildings need this type of certificate. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has recently released new guidance about this matter, but many people are still confused about the law.

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Energy efficiency standards

Buildings generally have to comply with minimum energy efficiency standards, with any new rental property or renewal required to have a minimum E rating in accordance with an EPC; however, there are exemptions, including some residential buildings if they are rented or sold. In these instances, the minimum energy efficiency standards are not applicable.

You can find out more about EPCs on the government’s advice page. This explains how a certificate is needed when a property is built, sold or rented.

Listed buildings

Until now, it has been thought that listed buildings are exempt from these standards; however, recent changes related to EU rulings make the new legislation unclear. Apparently, buildings that are currently protected as part of the environment or have special architectural merit are exempt from changes if they could interfere with their character.

There are many recommendations for buildings to comply with new standards, such as installing double glazing, wall insulation and external boiler flues. Double glazing for any building improves insulation and sound proofing and can be easily sourced from experts such as, whether people are looking for Cheltenham double glazing windows or glazing in another part of the country.

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Problems with the law

If such alternations to modernise the building could take the property away from its original historical appearance in an unacceptable way, advice must be sought from the local planning authority’s conservation officer.

One problem with this advice is that unless you have an EPC, you will not know whether the property complies with the minimum E requirement. You will not know what alterations are required, so cannot know whether they are acceptable or change the historic value of the property.

Despite the new rulings and advice issued, it seems that there are still many aspects of the rules on EPCs that are unclear. Listed buildings have a special place in the heart of the nation and modernisation is not always possible or desirable, which is why more clarity is needed within the law.


5 Top Van Upfitting Trends for 2018

2018 could be a key year for the van market for a variety of reasons, so paying attention to industry trends is more important than ever.

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With economic uncertainty putting LCV sales into reverse last year, analysts are cautious about performance in the coming months. Here are five upfitting trends that may reshape fleets during this period.

Driver Comfort and Convenience

Operators are beginning to realise that productivity is tied into driver satisfaction. And if those who use vans on a daily basis are having to cope with obstacles that get in the way of their work, these need to be addressed.

This not only means adding more comfort-oriented features but also specifying things which make driving a van more convenient, including parking cameras, entry ladders and even improved mirrors.

Increased Uniformity

Some fleets require identical van platforms to be kitted out in very different ways to suit different jobs. But this year more organisations are seeking to save money by blending specs where possible so that the overlap avoids unnecessary extra expenses.

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Lower Weight

Fuel costs are creeping ever upwards, so improving efficiency by reducing the weight of vans is essential. This can be achieved with conscientious upfitting using light Sortimo van racking, which you will find at sites such as, rather than opting for bulkier alternatives.

European Influence

The rise of vans which emulate designs seen on the continent means that expectations are changing in the UK. This is making custom shelving and storage solutions more appealing rather than opting for off-the-peg set-ups which might not be ideal in the face of different roof heights and wheelbase length configurations.

Telematic Technology

Harvesting data and analysing it using the latest telematics systems can help fleets to become more efficient and ensure that drivers are building up good habits behind the wheel while banishing bad behaviours. There may be some resistance to this, since constant monitoring of drivers sounds a little invasive, but the benefits to the organisation as a whole make any resistance worth bearing.

Improvements to van technologies are helping in various other areas, making LCVs smarter and safer than at any point in the past. Hopefully, this will help to keep registrations up in 2018 even if economic instability causes businesses to be cautious about buying new vans for their fleets.


How to prepare your business for voice search

Voice search is definitely here to stay, having seen a recent upsurge in popularity due to the growth in digital assistants on smartphones and tablets and other voice-activated devices in the home. Consumers and businesses are adopting this technology at speed, and the likes of Siri, Amazon Alexa, Cortana and Viv have become household names.

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Google says that 20 percent of mobile app and android device queries last year took the form of voice searches, and this is predicted to rise to between 30 and 50 percent of all web-browsing activities by 2020. This has huge implications for business and how we optimise for this new way of searching.

Let’s take a look at how you can make sure your business stays ahead of the competition by getting ready for voice search.

Mobile-first website

Since such a high proportion of voice searches are initiated on-the-go, it makes sense that your website should be optimised for mobile searches. Page speeds must be fast so you don’t switch off potential customers, and pages need to adapt well to various screen sizes and must be accessible under a single URL.

A number of online resources are available to check how your website performs on Google’s main ranking factors, such as, so you can focus on the things you need to fix.

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Integrate transactional requests

Many devices already allow transactions using this technology, for example Amazon Alexa can order a Domino’s pizza or an Uber cab.

Prioritise localised information

Voice search on a mobile device is three times as likely to involve a local search, particularly of the style ‘where is the best coffee shop near me’ and so on. You should build up your local listing information, from accurate contact details to opening hours and services offered, to give your business as much visibility as possible in local searches.

Tailor your SEO

SEO models will become less about traditional keywords and more about the nuance of conversational language. Many businesses integrate detailed FAQ content and Q&A-style blog posts to try to capture the wording of potential customer questions. More information on this can be found online or by contacting local SEO services, such as

Keep your website is crawlable

Make sure your site can be found by search engines, for example by using Schema markup.


What Is Double Glazing?

Double glazing has become quite popular across the country in this day and age. Many homeowners are interested to know what double glazing is and how much they can save by installing double glazed frames in their homes. This article provides information on double glazing, different types of double glazed frames, and the meaning of energy rating.

Many homeowners know that triple glazing and double glazing is key to reducing their energy bills in the long run. In fact, more than 44% of the homeowners surveyed said that they purchased the frames to make their homes warm. In fact, another 40% said they expect to reduce the energy bills in the process.

If you have made up your mind to shift to double glazing frames, we can help you select the right firm to buy the product. In fact, we have surveyed thousands of double glazing window frame customers in the country who have told us what they feel about their double glazing company. We spoke to 2,239 homeowners around the country in 2016 to ask for their experiences in buying double glazing. We also asked them about the firm that they purchased double glazing in the last five years.

Double Glazing and Its Advantages

Double glazing has two panes of glass that are separated by a thin layer of air. In fact, double glazing comes with many advantages compared to single glazing windows which have only one pane of glass with no air layer. Here are some of the advantages:

  • It retains warm air inside the house during winter. That means your house is insulated – which helps reduce your energy bills over time.
  • Keeps the noise out. You won’t hear loud noises from outside with double glazed windows and doors.
  • It reduces the amount of condensation inside of the windows.
  • Extra security because double glazed windows are more difficult to break.

How Much Can I Save If I Install Double Glazing?

More than 60% of the homeowners surveyed said that their homes were much warmer since they installed double glazing. More than 36% of these homeowners said that they saw a reduction in their energy bills over time.

If you own a three-bedroom semi-detached home and decide to replace all of the single glazed windows in the house, you can save between £75 and £100 per annum as per the Energy Saving Trust – with a B-rated glass. If you use an A-rated glass, the savings increase to £85-£110 per year. Double glazing frames last for more than 20 years. Hence, you can easily save between £1,500 and £2,200 for 20 years.

The Types of Double Glazed Frames

uPVC is the most common type of double glazed frame on the market today. In fact, unplasticized polyvinyl chloride or uPVC is three times cheaper compared to traditional wooden frames and recyclable at the same time. It is considered the best energy-saving frame on the market today.

uPVC frames come in a wide variety of colours, sizes, and finishes. White is a popular option for many customers. You only need to wipe the frames with a soft cloth to maintain it. Make sure to use a washing liquid every now and then.

Wood and aluminium frames are alternatives to uPVC frames. In fact, timber is a naturally renewable and greener option compared to uPVC. Many homeowners feel wooden frames look subtle and nicer compared to uPVC, especially in period-style or traditional properties. Although timber window frames are more expensive and require maintenance, they can last a long time when cared for.

Window Energy Rating (WER) System?

This rating system is quite similar to appliance rating systems. Widows are rated A+ for the best and G for the worst. Building regulations in the country need all window frames to be at least C-rated. Each manufacturer has different levels of ratings such as A++.

As per our calculations, you should get B-rated windows to save an additional 6.5% on your energy bills. That is why you need to consider the rating of the window frame when purchasing it.


Different Types of Signage That All Retailers Should Have

There are several different kinds of signage that retailers should have. And today at least some of the signage choices that a retailer makes should probably involve digital. Let’s look at the various types of signage.

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Directional Signage Is Key

Great directional signage makes a good first impression on customers. Particularly irritating to shoppers are stores that move products around and don’t adjust the signage – either because it would involve making a new sign or because no one was given the simple task of helping the customer to figure out where to find the stuff they came in for.

Poor Signage Shows a Lack of Respect

The Harvard Business Review, no less, describes poor signage as showing lack of respect for customers because it gives them the message that their time doesn’t matter, and if they have to spend half an hour trying to find what they came in for, well that’s just how it is.

Of course, this is where digital signage wins out every time, because if the store is reorganised – say to highlight some seasonal deals – it’s a simple matter to re-program the signs. No new signs need to be made or hung. After the promotion ends, there are no signs to gather dust in the storeroom until they’re needed again – the signage software is simply edited again. Moodmedia provide digital signage to businesses of all types.

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Shop Front Signage Should Change

If a store always looks exactly the same, people just tune out as they walk past it. To attract attention, shop front and outdoor signage needs to change – for example, to invite people in to an event or to highlight special offers or sales that are currently running.

A key advantage of digital signage is that it moves. Previously, the movement consisted of something pretty basic and cartoon-like or some text running on a reel. That’s all changed – think of the escalators on the London tube. When they carried static posters, people barely bothered to look at them. Now that they carry moving mini-programs and engaging images, everyone has a look at them.

The New Year is a good time to take stock of your retail signage and, at the same time, consider whether it might not be time to go digital.


What do you need to know about home automation systems and security?

With increasing connectivity and technological advances, the ability to remotely control areas of your home using just a smartphone is no longer a concept that only exists in the distant future.


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Just a few decades ago, the concept of a smart home didn’t even exist, but innovative technological advancea and accomplished feats of engineering now mean that the option to protect our homes with advanced security and safety features is becoming far more accessible.

Knowing your home is secure and protected can be hugely comforting, and whether you want to ensure your home is warm for when you get home, keep a watchful eye on your pets, or switch on your security lighting system, home automation systems are becoming more integrated into our daily lives with each passing year.

Selecting your system

With home automation companies, such as Digital Interiors (, producing a variety of different products, selecting the right system for your needs can seem like an overwhelming task. However, ensuring you fully understand the features you require will ensure the process isn’t as daunting as initial impressions may suggest.


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Outsmart intruders

When thinking about protecting your home, keeping intruders away from your premises is likely to be at the top of your list. Smart technology is now capable of sending an alert directly to your smartphone when windows are opened unexpectedly or doors are damaged, alleviating concerns when you’re away from home.

Thorough surveillance

Protecting your home with surveillance cameras can also provide additional peace of mind, ensuring that there are no potential intruders lurking around your property looking for possible areas of entry.

Alerting the emergency services

As this article indicates, gas leaks, flooding, and fires are all serious concerns for homeowners. Advanced security systems will immediately alert the relevant emergency services should an issue be detected, potentially saving your home, your possessions, and even your life in the process.

Interior functionality

Controlling your thermostat, turning lights on or off, or drawing the curtains while you’re away from home may seem like a bit of a luxury, but these simple functions can also boost the security of your home, creating the illusion of someone being inside even if you’re stuck in traffic or you have had to change your plans at the last minute and need to leave your home unattended.


Try these ideas for the perfect breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed must be up there as one of the best ways to start your day. No jumping out of bed at the first sound of an alarm clock, no dashing to work with only a slice of cold toast for sustenance – quite simply, you have nowhere to be.


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Now the days are colder and shorter, it’s even more tempting to stay beneath the covers, so follow our top tips for the perfect breakfast under the duvet.

What You’ll Need

The key to a great breakfast in bed for yourself or a loved one is organisation. That doesn’t sound particularly relaxing or indulgent, but a few key items will make all the difference. You’ll need a tray large enough to hold everything, cutlery to eat with and napkins to catch the crumbs. Flowers are optional but add a nice touch.

Where You’ll Be

Of course, you can enjoy breakfast in bed in the comfort of your own home, but why not make the most of it and whisk yourself off to a luxurious hotel or stylish boutique apartment such as no. 8 Waterloo Street apartments, which will afford you all the privacy of home? The beauty of venues like these Birmingham serviced apartments is that they are like a home from home, complete with fully equipped kitchen and sumptuous surroundings, but you won’t have to do the clearing up.


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What You’ll Eat

Thankfully, the nation’s best-loved chefs all have their own take on the perfect way to indulge in this favourite leisurely pastime, continually creating an array of mouth-watering recipes. From Angela Nilsen’s healthier take on the full English to James Martin’s Spiced Bloody Marys, there’s no shortage of delicious ideas. Why not try your hand at one of the recipes, or even better get someone else to try them for you?

You don’t need to be a culinary master either. Dip delicious pancetta-wrapped avocado into your soft boiled egg, or add nutritious matcha powder and maple syrup to some natural yoghurt. Top with kiwi, peach, blueberries and coconut flakes – delicious yet simple.

So now that we’ve provided you with all the ingredients for a fabulously lazy breakfast in bed, there’s no excuse. Choose your venue, stock your fridge and hit the snooze button as you snuggle down under the duvet for some you time.


Themed Cake Ideas for Best Friend’s Bridal Shower

We all have that one special friend in life who knows us inside out. From bunking classes together to going for shopping, having the first drink of life together to screaming at the top of the lungs, we all have done this with our best friend in life. And when our best friend decides to get married, it gives us immense pleasure, and we just can’t hold our excitement together. If your best friend is getting married and you want to do something special that she remembers for the rest of her life, then plan an exciting bridal shower for her. It would be the one last stroke of fun in her single life. To make the event magical, you can order a themed cake online for your best friend’s bridal shower.

If you can’t select the theme to get a customized bridal shower cake, we are here to help you with some excellent ideas.

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Designer Brands Customized Cake

If your friend loves shopping and is a huge brand freak, then order a designer brand customized cake for her bridal shower. It would be the most innovative and delicious cake she ever had in her entire life. If you live in Kolkata, then you can order online customized cakes in Kolkata according to your choice.

FRIENDS Themed Cake

Is your friend a huge FRIENDS fan? If yes, then a ‘FRIENDS’ themed cake would be the best cake for her bridal shower and bring back the memories of all the episodes of the series that you two watched together. You can order cakes online in Kolkata from a cake delivery website or get it prepared at a local cake shop.

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Mickey Mouse Cake

No matter how old we grow up, we all love to binge watch our favorite cartoon characters from childhood, every once in a while. So, while your best friend gets ready to enter the new phase of her life surprise her with a Mickey Mouse themed cake on her bridal shower or some other cartoon character that she loves most. She will relive the sweet memories from her childhood once again. You can get the online cake delivery in Kolkata right at your doorstep without actually going to the market.

Make this pre-wedding celebration a miraculous one for your best friend. Along with a perfectly decorated cake, add some exciting games in the event to take the celebration to a notch higher.


Top ideas for organising your garage

An organised garage is a happy garage and whether you’re using yours as a workshop, storage area or mainly as car storage, you’ll still want to make the best of the space that you have. Read on for some top tips when it comes to organising your home garage.


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Don’t put it off

Garages can quickly become dumping grounds, especially when you first move into a new place and need somewhere to leave bits and bobs. Avoid this by sorting out your garage as soon as you move in. This will give you more space to manoeuvre and see you start as you mean to go on. Organise your garage as efficiently as you can.

Stay on top of it

A garage can easily get messy again, especially if you are using it every day as a workshop. Clear up all tools after every visit to the garage. Make sure tools are put away properly; an important health and safety step if you live with children.


Use dedicated garage shelving equipment such as garage racking systems. These are easy to put up and take up far less space than shelving units or bookshelves. Good sturdy garage shelving will mean you can store a range of tools, equipment, materials and even old books, games and collector’s items up off the floor, and increase the floor space and work space that you have at your disposal. Ensuring all goods are up off the floor will also prevent damage from flooding.


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Cubbyhole shelving

Make a small shelving unit for small bits and bobs, such as screws, nails and fittings. You can make a cubbyhole shelving unit yourself with just a few pieces of three by one, a jig saw, nails and some brackets.

Ceiling racks

Ceiling racks are another great way to make use of space and put items that you rarely use out of the way. These can be installed in flat roof garages, although garages with a sloped roof can make even more use of the loft space, storing large sporting equipment such as sails, canoes, oars and paddles up there.

A garage can be a valuable bit of floor space in any home, doubling up as a workshop or storage area. Make the most of the walls and ceiling and remember to clean up after every use.


What does your front door colour reveal about you?

According to psychologists, there are meanings behind colour choice; they tell you something about the person. When you look at a colourful door, do you automatically wonder who lives there? If so, you wouldn’t be the only one. The front door is the first thing you notice when you look at a house. According to research carried out by Dulux, people living in the UK will pay 25 per cent more for a house that is freshly painted.


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If you are hoping to sell your house and are going to paint it in preparation, what colour are you going to choose? Keep in mind that your colour choice will lead people to make a judgement about your personality. Here are some of the findings about colour to help you decide.


The most popular colour for a door is white as people associate it with peace and calm. If you wish to associate yourself with a calmness and give the impression that your house is a sanctuary, this is the colour to choose. When perusing the windows and doors Dublin houses have, you’ll notice many attractive properties with clean, white paintwork.


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This is the second most popular choice for doors. Blue is considered a conservative colour. People who are successful tend to favour this colour. It is a shade that is also associated with serenity, promoting calmness. It is also thought to promote intellectual thought, making it an appropriate choice for a university town. Ask the experts such as about what shade to choose as the wrong blue can be unwelcoming.


Red is always associated with passion, energy and adventure. Use this colour if you like a little danger in your life and are generally quite sociable. Don’t use this colour if you are trying to promote calmness. This colour is also not for shrinking violets as red is a confident colour.


Lilac is associated with spirituality and the area between the sky and heaven, so it’s a suitable choice for a person of faith. It is calming colour that is also a little mysterious.


This colour is associated with death, eccentricity and drama. It is good for people who are mysterious.


If you are wealthy and powerful, this is the door for you.