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Church’s bottom-up approach

08 November 2013




Cushioned: Marytn Goss tests the "hot bott"

Cushioned: Marytn Goss tests the "hot bott"

CONGREGATIONS in two Devon churches will be able to stay warm in their pews this winter thanks to a set of hot cushions.

Parishioners at St John the Baptist, Broadclyst, near Exeter, and St Andrew's, South Tawton, on the edge of Dartmoor, will be able to settle down for the sermon on a reusable, portable "hot bott" cushion. It contains a chemically triggered reheatable pad that remains warm for up to 90 minutes, and can be held or sat on. The pad is later boiled in water for five minutes for future use, and can be reheated up to 1000 times. The pack is biodegradable at the end of its life.

Each church has been given 50 cushions to try out as part of the diocese of Exeter's "Shrinking the Footprint" campaign to reduce carbon emissions. A variety of new and efficient heating systems for church buildings are being explored, and using the cushions could save churches energy on their fuel bills.

The cushions are being tested for three months, to the end of January. If successful, the project may be spread across the county.

The Exeter diocesan environment officer, Martyn Goss, said on Tuesday: "This is a technology which has been designed for outdoor use in sports stadiums in Scotland, but we think it could have a lot of potential for church use in Devon, where heating buildings can be expensive and inefficient.

"Both these churches are medieval, and their heating systems struggle to cope. I think Broadclyst's is not even working at the moment, and south Tawton is high on the moors. The policy is to heat the person, not the church. Often, these churches are not used every week, and so heating them up can be problematic and expensive. One of our churches used 4000 litres of oil last winter. Compare the cost of that to £20 for a cushion."


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