I DO not really understand how you weigh a gas such as carbon
dioxide, but I take their word for it that St Alban's, in the
village of Earsdon, near Whitley Bay, in Newcastle
diocese, is saving an enormous 22 tonnes of carbon a year since
installing a biomass boiler fuelled by wood pellets.
The boiler heats both the Victorian church and the nearby Eccles
Hall (left), both Grade II buildings. In fact, the new boiler-house
- a rather incongruous wooden building - is attached to Eccles
Hall, which is used for numerous church and community events. Heat
meters have been installed in the church so that they can monitor
how much energy is being saved.
"Knowing how much heat we are producing", the Vicar, the Revd
Andrew France, says, "has enabled us to calculate by how much we
have reduced our carbon emissions through switching from natural
gas to biomass. . . We are very proud of our achievement, which has
come after a great deal of hard work by many people."
To help repay the loan taken out for the work, St Alban's has
opened a charity shop in the Beacon Centre, North Shields, run by
Of course, burning wood pellets also releases carbon dioxide, a
member of Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) tells me,
"but scientific analysis always treats the carbon dioxide from
recently grown vegetation separately from the fossil fuels of coal,
oil, and natural gas".
It certainly creates very little ash - which can be useful as a
fertiliser; and, if the wood pellets are from a local source, it
minimises the carbon cost of transport.
St Alban's, with the help of funding from the DECC, has produced
a ten-minute film about the way that the biomass boiler is working
for them, together with details of other carbon-saving energy
schemes. It can be seen on their website,
www.stalbansearsdon.co.uk, by clicking on their Earsdon