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Is the Green Deal stagnating ?

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

27th May 2013

Post Type: Education Item

Prior to its launch in Jan 28th 2013, Climate Change minister Greg Barker described the Green Deal as “the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War…”  Unfortunately last week the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change criticised ministers for having no clear targets for the scheme.  It is easy to understand why – in the first month just 1,803 Green Deal assessments were requested.

A May 2011 report “Financing the Green Deal” predicted minimal take-up of the Green Deal unless loan rates are subsidised down to 2% (they are currently near 8%).  Competition amongst the 50 lenders of The Green Deal Finance Company shows little sign of improving rates by natural means.

The Green Deal scheme is intended to increase the uptake of energy efficiency measures, particularly in households who would otherwise struggle to raise the capital sum outright.  In order to discover if a property is eligible, an assessment is required.  A recent Guardian survey discovered these assessments cost between £95 and £150 – a significant investment for lower income households, particularly with no guarantee of recouping the outlay.  Moreover, an April 2013 survey by Which magazine discovered that 46% of prospective house purchasers would insist that any outstanding Green Deal loan be paid off before proceeding with the purchase.  This could prove a fatal flaw – property owners must purchase an assessment without knowing whether it will be beneficial.  If it is not, they have wasted the assessment fee.  If it is, it may suggest a long term loan which will hamper any future sale of the property.

A right royal party at GWD

by Noel Greenwood from GWD

24th May 2013

Post Type: Education Item

May has arrived and has brought with it some wonderful weather – something I’m sure we’ve all been craving and hoping for during the long winter months.  Now that the sun has arrived I’m sure everyone will be wanting to make the most of it – after all, there’s no guaranteeing that it’s going to continue into July and August!

A right royal party

One product that frequently sees the light of day during the summer months is the hamper box, and we’re generally pretty busy making these all year round.  We’ve mentioned these on this blog before – we had the rather odd task of making some hamper boxes for a company of architects for the purpose of celebrating Chinese New Year.  These were shipped to the South of France: try getting your head around all of those different cultures!  It just so happened that one of these hamper boxes ended up in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.  We’re not quite sure how it got there, but it ended up being a gift to Prince Albert of Monaco – GWD now has some royal connections!IMG_0095

Hamper boxes for the summer

Hamper boxes are great for the summer as they’re a great way to pack lots of food and drink together and head out for a picnic.  Consequently they are a great promotional tool or goodwill offering; perfect if you want to wow a client or showcase your product in as stylish way as possible.

In terms of the interior, we can also make hamper boxes with sub compartments so that you can keep the food for your picnic separate.  Many of the hamper boxes we make are intended for use at festivals – consumers can buy a hamper box ready packed with a bottle of wine, some crisps and some sandwiches or anything really!IMG_0092

Hamper boxes for Christmas time

Traditionally, hamper boxes are very popular at Christmas time, and we’re always busy in the months before yuletide making hamper boxes to store a variety of goodies.  In the past we’ve made a fabulous rectangular Carluccios hamper box filled with an assortment of edible treats – rectangular hamper boxes being particularly good for storing food and wine.  We also make round and square hamper boxes for Bettys who use them to pack an array of cakes and snacks.IMG_0089

Hamper boxes are a great way to present food, drink and anything else in a stylish, smart and efficient way.  Whether you want a picnic, an array of treats for Christmas or want to impress a royal, hamper boxes are a great way to do just that.  Over the years we’ve built up a lot of experience in making hamper boxes and are able to use our expertise to build a bespoke hamper box that can cater for a variety of needs.


Noel Greenwood is the Managing Director of GWD Ltd, the designers and manufacturers of presentation and promotional packaging.  You can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at the company’s website:

Powerhoop classes PROVEN...IT WORKS

by Vicky Wright from Shake & Shuffle

22nd May 2013

Post Type: Newspaper Article
Powerhoop classes PROVEN...IT WORKS

University Study Confirms: Powerhoop Reduces Waist Size

Fitness experts claim that it's impossible to "spot reduce". Powerhoop is proving them wrong.

Powerhooping may be fun, but it's a fitness activity that can be taken seriously. A new study by researchers at Canada’s University of Waterloo Spine Biomechanics Laboratory, one of the world's foremost sports medical research facilities, has now confirmed that regular Powerhooping causes the waist to shrink. The subjects were fourteen mildly overweight women who used a Powerhoop for fifteen minutes per day, five days per week, over a period of six weeks. The researchers collected several types of data, including calories burned, subcutaneous fat measurements, subjects’ body measurements and muscle activation.

On average, participants experienced a significant decrease in waist and hip circumference, and waist‐to‐hip ratio. Average reduction in waist size was 3.35 cm, with three of the fourteen subjects losing between 5 and 7.5 cm around the waist. The hips also shrank, but not as much. (The "hourglass shape" was therefore accentuated.)

Here are the most important findings from the study:

  • Calorie expenditure during normal use varied from 300 to 420 kcal/hour: higher for inexperienced users and when the hoop was used in the “non-preferred” direction.
  • The participants lost on average 1.1 lbs, not reaching statistical significance. However, two of the subjects lost over 6 lbs during the trial.
  • Muscle activation was significantly higher with a Powerhoop than with a traditional lightweight hula hoop.

The researchers also made a surprising finding regarding the distribution of fat on the body. On average, the subjects had slightly more subcutaneous fat (under the skin) after the study period, despite the fact that their waists were narrower, their muscles stronger and their bodies lighter. One possible way of interpreting this is that the amount of “belly fat” (visceral fat that is stored deeper in the abdomen) had decreased and redistributed itself, possibly as a result of the powerful “massage” effect from the hoop.

This would be a sensational finding if proven to be true. Visceral fat is difficult to burn, and is linked to coronary disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and other obesity-related diseases. For now, the question will have to stand with a big question mark after it until the researchers have done a follow-up study, for example, using bioelectrical impedance analysis to measure the amount of visceral fat before and after the trial period.

Lastly, Powerhoop was compared with a conventional hula hoop using a technique called electromyography, which calculates the impact of the hoop as percentage of the maximum voluntary contraction. Not surprisingly, the Powerhoop produced higher activity in every muscle compared to the conventional hoop. In the Rectus Abdominus (the main part of “the abs”), muscle activity was up to 70% higher.

Source:  “Analysis of physiological and biomechanical variables over a 6 week trial using a Powerhoop together with investigation of mechanisms of hooping.” Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1