The team at St Peter’s works hard to minimise the impact that our activities have on the environment. We are very pleased that our efforts have been recognised by the award of an Eco Church Bronze certificate and are currently working towards our Silver certificate . The Eco Church scheme, managed by A Rocha, awards churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. To See our Eco Church certificate, Click Here or, for further information about the Eco Church scheme click Here.
To reduce St Peter’s impact we have, over the last few years, undertaken a number of major projects which reduce our carbon footprint, as well as saving money which can be used for other church related activities.
As all churches in the UK are oriented East-West it is a fair certainty that at least one roof will be South facing and able to take advantage of the sun and the potential for solar power generation. In 2016 St Peter’s was fortunate to receive a number of generous donations towards the cost of installing of solar panels on the church. With agreement from the PCC, the Fabric & Building committee, with the support of the church architect, Simon Goddard, started the process of getting a faculty from the Diocese and approval from both the South Downs National Park Authority and Historic England to allow the installation of 27 photo-voltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the South aisle.
Key to the success of the application was a close co-operation with the architect who generated a detailed plan showing that the parapet along the roof edge meant that the panels could not be seen and a concealed route for the cables to the North side of the church was available. This all meant that the installation would not be seen by visitors to the church. The system installer, Solstice Energy (www.solsticeenergy.co.uk) was also experienced in installing panels on lead roofs and used some specialist mounting brackets that fix to the rolls where the lead sheets join, meaning that there was no need to penetrate the roof.
The necessary approvals were received and the installation commenced in August 2016. The panels were soon generating electricity for the church and, as can be seen below, the analysis of the power generation and electricity consumption since that time clearly demonstrates the benefits of this system to St Peter’s.
This project made St Peter’s amongst the first Grade 1 listed churches in the UK to have installed solar panels on the church itself.
As part of St Peter’s re-ordering in 2000, the central heating system was upgraded by the installation of a single boiler. This gave excellent service but, after 15 years of use, was becoming unreliable and difficult to maintain. In addition, advances in boiler technology meant that newer boilers would provide significantly greater efficiency. With agreement from the PCC the Fabric & Building committee sought out quotes from a number of commercial boiler installation companies and, in the Autumn of 2015, selected a local company, Ampella, to undertake the project to replace the old boiler. It was agreed to install two smaller boilers as this would provide a more resilient solution at minimal additional cost. In addition the old gravity pressurised, open vented system was modified and a closed pressurised system implemented further improving efficiency.
At the same time a comprehensive, modern control system was installed which gave, for the first time, control of the heating from inside the church. This system is also able to react to changes in external temperature to ensure that the temperature inside the church is correctly maintained.
This was a major capital project for St Peters so the congregation were asked to suggest names for the boilers. They are now known as Bubble and Squeak and their efforts are much appreciated by all who use the church.
The 2000 re-ordering also included a new lighting system This provided both a simple, easily understood way to control lighting inside the church as well as the ability to adjust the lighting in individual zones as required for special events. However the light bulbs used traditional incandescent technology, each consuming around 100W. As we have over 100 of them that is a lot of electricity. The incandescent bulbs also had a relatively short life requiring regular trips up a ladder to replace them. An expensive maintenance exercise and not without risks in view of the relatively high positioning of the lighting tracks.
Recent developments in LED lighting technology means that it is now possible to buy LED bulbs that are both the same size as the old ones and able to work with the existing dimmer system. The new bulbs also only require around 10W each, significantly reducing the amount of power required to light the church.
The bulbs were replaced over a period of around 9 months, replacing old incandescent ones when they failed.