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
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."