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UK’s First Zero Carbon Church


Work to make St Michaels and All Angels Church in Withington the first zero carbon church in the UK is due for completion at the end of September.

When the work is completed, the Grade 1 listed Norman church will no longer give out any carbon dioxide emissions. It will even be able to sell energy back to the national grid. The money raised from the sale of electricity and funds from a new ‘feed in tariff’ should provide enough income to buy sawdust pellets for a new biomass boiler.

The finished church will have 22 solar panels on the roof. Outside floodlights are now switched off from May to September and are only on from dusk until 10.30pm during the winter. The internal lighting is now all low energy. This has reduced electrical demand by 40 per cent.

The project costs have been almost all met through grants from the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, the Low Carbon Buildings Programme from DECC, the Big Lottery Community Sustainable Energy Programme and a very generous private donation. The church also used some of its own funds which it would have had to spend on replacing the new boiler.

Project leader Matt Fulford said: “People debate about how new buildings can be made zero carbon. Some debate whether historic buildings are too difficult to work with and should be exempt but in little old Withington we have quietly got on and achieved it in a Grade 1 listed late Norman church.

What’s more, you wouldn’t even notice it. The church will still be the same peaceful haven except the warmth is a little more reliable and the finances are a little more assured.”

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