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Praise for Going Green

by ajack last modified 15 Dec, 2021 05:34 PM

St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster, wins building of the month for their vision to care for creation.

Last year, General Synod voted to set a target for the whole Church of England of achieving ‘net-zero’ carbon by 2030, and since then, many churches are submitting applications for retrofitting listed churches and installing new heating and energy generation systems. 

Grade I listed medieval church, St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster, has recently worked with The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) on a proposal to install solar panels and two air source heat pumps in their bid to ‘go green’ and won building of the month! Read more about this here.

The panels and the Air Source Heat Pump will be in discrete areas and will have a very minimal impact on the Conservation Area. The panels will be located on the shallow pitch of the South Aisle roof which has a crenellated parapet so they should be barely visible from the ground and the surrounding area. The location of the heat pumps should be in a discrete area and if well-screened, they will have a very minimal impact and be barely noticeable.

We are all doing our bit towards becoming ‘net-zero’ by 2030, but work like this requires a very comprehensive application. 

If your church is considering similar works, SPAB has provided the following guidance: 

  • Justification. Why does the heating system need to be replaced now? It may be more environmentally friendly to consider retaining a perfectly functioning system until it actually needs replacing. Could it be upgraded instead?

  • Expert Input. What other options could be considered for heating/energy generation and would these be less harmful? Think about what happens in the church, the frequency of events/activities, could the space be zoned? Consider heating the inhabitants and not the space. Simply changing to a green energy supplier can go a long way towards being ’net zero’.

  • Save Energy. Have the parish tackled all the suggested works/energy-saving measures listed in the most recent inspection – damp, draughts, insulation. There is no point in spending a lot of money if the building is not dry and draught proofed. Materials should be breathable.

  • Archaeology and visibility. How visible would the panels/heat pumps etc be and will this be harmful to the church / surrounding area? Heat pumps can be noisy so may not be suitable if there are adjacent houses. Remember that any below groundworks for cabling/pipework is very likely to require overseeing by an archaeologist.

To find out more, please visit their website.

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