YOU would not expect a Grade I Norman church in a Cotswold village to be at the forefront of technology among churches, but St Michael and All Angels, in Withington, Gloucester diocese (above), hopes to become the first zero-carbon church in the country.
When the work is completed, any day now, it will no longer give out any carbon emissions. It should even be able to sell enough electricity back to the National Grid to pay for the sawdust pellets for the new biomass boiler. There are 22 solar panels on the roof, the PCC is economising by switching off the outside floodlights from May to September, and will have them on only from dusk to 10.30 p.m. during the winter.
All the internal lighting is low-energy, and these measures have reduced the electrical demand by 40 per cent. At present, they heat the church only on Sundays, and on Monday mornings for the schoolchildren, but Matt Fulford, who initiated all the work, tells me that there is plenty of capacity in the boiler to keep the church warm throughout the week if it is used more frequently.
The work cost £43,000, which came mostly from grants, including £11,500 from the government department of Energy and Climate Change, the Gloucester Environmental Trust, the Lottery, and a “very generous private donation”.
See also this week's feature.