Workshops – Generic Building Solutions

The Generic Building Solutions is a project of the Diocese of London, in partnership with the Carbon Trust, and with the noted multi-disciplinary design firm Arup as consultants. The project forms part of the Climate Action Programme, itself one strand in the Diocese of London’s strategic plan to address the challenge of energy use and carbon emissions from its buildings.

This project is hosting two further workshops:

  • VALUES AND HERITAGE – Thursday 19th April 2012: including Oliver Caroe on an integrated approach to conservation and sustainability; Diana Evans, English Heritage on renewable energy installations in historic churches; Sarah Royse, InBuilt on Multiple interventions for sustainable low carbon performance and Alex Coppock, Communion Design on reordering and retrofitting a Norman church for sustainable multiple community uses.
  • RESOURCES AND PEOPLE – Thursday 31st May 2012: including Bob Wilson, Wilson Stephen Partnership on the St John Wembley Vicarage and Passivhaus; Simon Harvey, St Mary Islington on a case study in energy saving & micro-generation; and Magdalini Makrodimitri, Queens’ College Cambridge on research into the heating of churches and the care of fabric and contents

All workshops are at London Diocesan House, 36 Causton Street, London SW1P 4AU from 1:30pm – 6:00 pm

Further details are at:

Any queries to

The cost is £40 per person for each workshop.

Questioning the temperature

Phil Kingston, a retired Lecturer in Social Work at Bristol University, says, “…since having grand-children, I have been concerned about how the changing context of the Earth is likely to affect them. For about 5 years I have been learning about the relationship between economic growth and consumption on the one hand; and the overuse of Earth’s resources and ecosystem destruction on the other. The more I learn, the more I am disturbed about the effects of the former upon God’s creation, the poorest peoples of the world and future generations. My biggest concern these days is how the media, politicians and business generally not only do not engage with these relationships: they don’t even refer to them. Indeed my experience is that they avoid referring to them.”

Recently he found the media and governments lack of engagement with the information in the 2011 World Energy Outlook was an example of this, and here he shares why he is concerned with this recent report:

‘Potential breaking of the 2 degrees C. internationally agreed limit to average world temperature’

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its 2011 World Energy Outlook last November ( ). This well-respected publication has particular credibility because the IEA was set up by the 28 richest Western countries which form the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation. It is, so to speak, from the horse’s mouth.

The Executive Summary contains two statements which are likely to be of deep concern to most adults.

  • The first refers to the current policies in place by world governments with regard to limiting average global temperatures to 2 degrees Centigrade – i.e. the average temperature increase which governments agreed at Kyoto to stay below. The report states that with these current policies ‘we are … on …. track for a temperature increase of 6 degrees Centigrade or more.’ And that with policies already agreed but still to be implemented by governments, ‘the world is on a trajectory that results in a level of emissions consistent with a long-term average temperature increase of more than 3.5 degrees Centigrade.’
  • The second is the reference that ‘Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permissible by 2035’ (i.e. the emissions which may keep the temperature increase to 2 degrees Centigrade), ‘are already ‘locked-in’ by our existing capital stock (power plants, buildings, factories etc. ‘. (The term ‘locked-in’ means that the plant, once built, continues to emit CO2 throughout its lifetime). The report goes on to state that if stringent action is not taken before 2017, the new plant then in place will be such that its ‘locked-in’ CO2 emissions will have the world on a trajectory to surpass the 2 degrees C. increase.

If you would like to write to your local paper and to the relevant Government Ministries, below are draft letters you could use:

Phil Kingston

Paul Kingston is a retired Lecturer in Social Work at Bristol University, and writes here in a personal capacity.

Earth Hour – 8.30pm 31 March 2012

WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that’s quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Hundreds of millions of people turning off their lights for one hour, on the same night, all across the planet. It’s about appreciating the brilliant world we all share – and how we need to protect it. Not just for an hour a year, but every day.

Find out more and join in

Win tickets for the Soil & Soul festival

We are giving away 2 tickets to the Soil & Soul Festival – a one day festival celebrating the earth and contemplative spirituality in the Jesus tradition. The festival will take place on Saturday 28th April in Oxford.

We’ve given one ticket away through the Earthing Faith network already – Emma Bush won the ticket on 16 March.

There will be another opportunity to win one more ticket via the April edition of The Door newspaper. Look out for it at the end of March for details!

Soil & Soul Festival Details

The festival is bring orgnaised by Still Point, in association with the Diocese of Oxford, and will take place on Saturday 28th April from 10am until 10pm at the Isis Farmhouse Pub & Boathouse in Oxford.

Early Bird Tickets Tickets costing £20 are available until Sunday 18th March, and then tickets will be £30 / £25. Full details and ticket booking at:

Switch your church to green electricity

Energy can be the most significant spend for churches therefore good pricing is important as is good contract management to ensure tariffs remain competitive and parishes are not “rolled over” into uncompetitive contracts.

Switching supliers not only can savce you money it can also be complicated – so below we provide details of negotiated deals that make switching easy and include the best deals for churches on green renewable electricity suppliers.

The Diocese of Oxford schemes

The Diocese of Oxford has negotiated schemes with two of the UK’s leading green energy providers that make switching to green electricity easy and make donations to the Church of England’s Climate Justice Fund. Read more…


Parish Buying website schemes

The national Church of England has created the Parish Buying website to provide churches access to negotiated schemes with two of the UK’s leading green energy providers, as well as ‘brown’ energy providers.

Parish Buying have appointed the two leading national green energy suppliers, Good Energy and Ecotricity, to provide green electricity to churches. By purchasing green electricity through Parish Buying your church will be eligible for discounts off the standard tariffs.

Find out more and register for free at:

Note on rate of VAT

Irrespective of which company supplies your energy, as a church undertaking charitable activities, you should be eligible for exemption from the Climate Change Levy and also benefit from a reduced rate of VAT (currently 5%) . Do check your bills to ensure this is the case, and if not request a VAT declaration certificate from your energy supplier for you to complete and return to them.

* The Climate Justice Fund is the Church of England’s national environmental fund working in partnership with Tearfund. The Climate Justice Fund gives you and your church the opportunity to compensate for the size of your carbon footprint. The website also provides campaigning actions, and resources to help you pray and talk about this issue with others.


Visit a retro-fitted energy efficient house – March 2012

Pioneering owners of some of the UK’s most energy efficient houses will be hosting free open days during SuperHomes Week between Saturday 17th March and Sunday 25th March 2012.

SuperHomes are older homes that have been refurbished to the highest standards of energy efficiency – resulting in greater comfort, significantly lower running costs and a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 60%.

The houses showcase a range of home improvements. For example many will be super-insulated so visitors with draughty old solid wall properties will discover some clever ways to make their home more comfortable in winter. In many cases renewable energy heats water, provides electricity or contributes to space heating. You will also find the latest in low energy lighting on display.

Attending an open day provides the opportunity to speak to a homeowner who has already done the thinking and undertaken and lived with some major improvements. Who could be better qualified to help you make the right choices?

Ther are lots of SuperHomes in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. You’ll find them on the SuperHomes Locator Map.

For more information, or to book to attend an open day, visit

Church and Energy Management Workshops – March 2012

sMeasure and the Diocese of Oxford will be running a Church and Energy Management Workshop in three venues during March. The workshop will be run by sMeasure and provide a walk through their software, which is being offered to churches in a pilot scheme, and explain how to analyse and use the data it provides, as well as discuss good energy management practices for churches.

The workshops are open to churches registered in the energy monitoring pilot on a first come first served basis, and up to two people per church can attend. They will start at 7.30pm and finish by 9.30pm and take place at the following:

  • Wednesday 21st March in Oxford at Diocese Church House, North Hinksey Lane
  • Thursday 22nd March in Reading at Trinity Church, Earley
  • Wednesday 28th March in Aylesbury at Church of the Good Shepherd, Southcourt

To register for one of the workshops please complete the online form.


New resources for the energy monitoring pilot are also now available, including a number of guide sheets to help churches understand how sMeasure works and how to use the data it gives, these cover for example analysing your data, understanding weather as a driver for your heating demand and how performance benchmarking works. You can download all the guideson the Diocese of Oxford’s website here.