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St Peter’s Church, Balsall Common

St Peter’s church is very keen to embrace the ethos of carbon reduction, and since registering as an ‘Eco Congregation‘, have implemented many no-cost, lo-cost measures.

Brian Hornsby says it was joining this scheme which really got things moving, providing information, focus, and a practical framework within which to work.

Father Peter Thomas is a very strong advocate of environmentally friendly action, and is keen to pursue ideas which can be implemented within the church and congregation.

The Eco-congregation award

The main aspects of this scheme fall into the three categories, which are ‘Spiritual’, ‘Practical’ and ‘Mission’.

Spiritual – this involves linking environmental issues with the Christian worship and teaching

Practical – concerned with the management of buildings, land, and the church generally

Mission – the reaching out, both locally into the congregation and society, and globally.

To raise awareness and motivate others to embrace the environmental ethos and take action.

Further information on the scheme can be obtained from: http://ew.ecocongregation.org/gettingstarted

Current activities are:

Recycling Centres

Recycling CentreRecycling Centre

There are recycling boxes at the entrance to the church and church hall, with posters and literature to encourage their use. Currently they are for:

Spectacles

Printer cartridges

Stamps

Batteries

Mobile phones

Greeting cards

These are useful in two ways. They are obviously of practical use in recycling and the safe disposal of items, but also in raising awareness and getting people thinking eco-friendly.

Energy

Brian thinks that raising awareness and education is a crucial part of the scheme, and one way of doing this is by loaning an energy monitor to the congregation. This appears to be popular and effective, particularly with some children. Meter readings are taken regularly to monitor consumption and sent to the suppliers so that accurate bills are issued. This will help in measuring the effect of improvements made.

Heating

Heating

Heating is the main energy user, both in the church itself and adjacent hall. The church has recently replaced its boiler, and heating is via hot air ducts on either side of the building. The hall uses overhead radiant heaters, and measures its energy use with a wireless energy monitor. This is useful as an aid to insuring all appliances are turned off at the end of sessions (it registers the minimum background reading), and also gives the amount and cost of energy being used at any one time. This makes it easy to factor energy use into charging for the hall, and raises awareness of energy usage.

Energy Monitor

Lighting

A survey of lighting has been carried out, with a view to replacing either or both of fittings and bulbs. A batch of extremely cheap low energy bulbs have been bought, which are available to the congregation.

Building fabric

For the hall, they are looking into re-roofing, with incorporated improved insulation, and also cavity wall insulation.

They are also surveying for draught exclusion.

A cycle rack will be provided by SMBC.

Possible future schemes are:

Photovoltaic panels on the hall roof.

Rainwater harvesting for use in the hall toilets.

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