In July we reported how the Commission had engaged with the University of Leeds for an MSc student on the Sustainability and Consulting course (Mohamed Juma) to evaluate whether the Diocese could do more to reduce its carbon footprint.
Climate change remains one of the biggest challenges to the world today. The challenge is huge because it needs action by everyone in the world – not just governments and big businesses but individuals and small companies and organisations like the Diocese as well.
The challenge for the Diocese is that it has a significant financial deficit so does not have the monetary resources to invest large amounts in ‘green’ technology just because it is a good thing to do.
Mohamed surveyed a sample of different churches across the diocese. He examined the applicability of a range of carbon reduction technologies: solar panels, wind turbines, and general construction materials – such as draught proofing, insulation levels, double glazing and the use of energy efficient lighting.
There was no ‘silver bullet’ in what Mohamed found out. Many of the churches he looked at do have roofs that would be very suitable for solar panels, for instance. A number have a large roof at a suitable angle on an East-West orientation (so they get the sun all day). Potentially, some of these roofs could support installations that could generate in the region of 30kW. However, whilst the cost of solar panels has reduced dramatically in the last five years, the amount paid for the electricity generated has fallen by an even larger amount. Hitherto, there have been companies interested in ‘renting’ roofs – which would have been a cost-neutral way of reducing the diocese’s carbon footprint. However, due to the reduction the amounts paid for the electricity these schemes seem to have largely disappeared.
This is not to say that individual parishes should not consider doing it. It is especially worth considering if a church building has to have some work done on its roof. A significant part of the cost of installation is hire of scaffolding whilst installation takes place – so if this can be done off the back of other work that has to be done then it becomes a much more attractive proposition.
A striking finding relates to the heating systems installed in different churches. Most of the churches had relatively new central heating boilers. However, in at least two of the churches visited the boilers themselves were of the order of 50 years old. Whilst it is fantastic that these boilers have lasted so long, they are very inefficient when compared with more recent boilers. So there may well be an economic case to be made in such circumstances.
What Mohamed’s work has illustrated to us is that there are possibilities but that they need detailed investigation and promotion at a parish level. If you are interested in helping us to do this then please email us at mailto:email@example.com