Heritage Angel Awards

Are you involved in rescuing a historic place? If so, tell English Heritage about your work and you could be voted one of English Heritage’s 2011 Heritage Angels.

The English Heritage Angel Awards launched this year to celebrate the work of individuals and groups who have saved a significant historic place that was at risk of being lost forever. The closing date for entries is 12 August 2011.

There will be four annual awards for:

  • the best rescue or repair of a place of worship
  • the best rescue of an industrial building or site
  • the best craftsmanship employed on a heritage rescue
  • the best rescue of any other entry on the Heritage at Risk register.

Four projects will be shortlisted for each category and the people involved will be invited to meet Andrew Lloyd Webber and the other judges at a reception at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End. The reception will take place in the Autumn where the winners will be presented with a statuette in the form of an angel.

For further inforamtion visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/caring/heritage-at-risk/English-Heritage-Angel-Awards/

For Creed and Creation Book

For Creed and Creation: A simple guide to greening your church is a great new little book of practical suggestions for making your church more energy efficient.

With simple ideas and advice from the way the building is run, to how rubbish is recycled and the light switches used, the guide will help to reduce bills and put your church on the right track to tackling your carbon footprint. Published by the Diocese of Oxford and co-written by local curate, Revd. Dr. Gillian Straine, the book includes details of local organisations and where to go for help.
“…churches aren’t just places of wonder, encounter and community; they’re also real buildings which make an impact on the natural world, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that their carbon footprint is as small as possible. We have over 800 church buildings in our diocese, and with all the people who pass through them in a year, we can influence literally hundreds of thousands more buildings.”
Bishop of Oxford
Copies of the booklet are available for:
  • £2.50 each – £3.28 including postage and packaging
  • £10 for five copies – £11.33 including postage and packaging
  • £15 for ten copies – £18.41 including postage and packaging

Order by Post: Send a cheque for the total amount (including postage and packaging), made payable to ‘Oxford Diocesan Board of Finance, to: For Creed and Creation Book, Environment Desk, Dept of Mission, Diocese of Oxford, North Hinksey, Oxford, OX2 0NB.

View online: You can view the contents of the book in the viewer below.

Bulk oil buying scheme

Oxfordshire Rural Community Council is calling on churches to get involved in their new bulk oil buying scheme. The scheme aims to keep fuel costs as low as possible in rural areas, where many households don’t have mains gas. The scheme will source better prices for oil deliveries and also help to reduce the carbon footprint of the actual delivery system.  Every time a tanker comes out to make a delivery, it uses fuel – a full tanker may only get about 8 miles per gallon – so if deliveries are organised so that one tanker can reach as many customers in as small an area as possible, fuel consumption is reduced.

ORCC is asking for people to help get the scheme going by becoming a local coordinators. Their job will be to garner support locally so the scheme can start in your local area. ‘We’ve made it as simple as possible because we know people are busy’ said ORCC’s Chief Executive Linda Watson, ‘Local co-ordinators are going to be vital to the success of the scheme.  They won’t have to do the negotiating with the oil suppliers and won’t have to deal with any money, so we don’t expect this to take much time.’

Further details via ORCC News – and  Local co-ordinators’ leaflet and Members’ leaflet.

* Update * The bulk oil buying scheme offered by ORCC in Oxfordshire has now been extended to Berkshire and Buckinghamshire – details below:

Oxfordshire – contact Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) at www.oxonrcc.org.uk/home/bulk-oil-buying-scheme

Berkshire – contact Community Council for Berkshire (CCB) at www.actionforall.org.uk/CCB/ccb_oil_club

Buckinghamshire – contact Community Impact Bucks at www.communityimpactbucks.org.uk/pages/work-with-commu-bulk-oil-buying-scheme-159.html

Solar panels for a Saxon church in the Diocese of Oxford

ULTRA modern solar panels are being installed one of the UK’s finest Anglo Saxon churches. The £50,000 project was inspired when the congregation at All Saints, Wing with Grove in Buckinghamshire decided to look into becoming more environmentally friendly. They began by deciding to support Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign.

The solar panels were inspired by St Denys Church, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, which was featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise programme. The PCC asked former church warden Martin Findlay to visit Sleaford and find out more.

Martin said: “We realised that all churches face east and therefore are likely to have south facing roofs. This is ideal for solar installations.

“In light of the current global climate change crisis, we felt that in addition to praying
at services for Christians look after God’s creation. The Church should take action to reduce its carbon footprint.”

The PCC began a feasibility study into the scheme and then began to raise funds, get a ‘faculty’ (special permission from the Diocese to carry out the work), and planning permission from Aylesbury Vale District Council.

This month the 54 Solar Photo Voltaic panels will be ready to be installed on the nave and south aisle roofs.

The Church will benefit from the government’s new Feed-In tariffs which were introduced in April 2010. Feed-In tariffs mean energy suppliers have to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources. It will also be able to sell the energy it produces to the National Grid.

Martin added: “It has taken a lot of hard work by the PCC and the congregation but it has paid off and we are delighted that we are now in a position to install these solar panels. We are now developing plans for further action to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.”

Solar panels for a Saxon church – Diocese of Oxford.

Churches that are part of the Diocese of Oxford and interested in exploring putting solar panels on their buildings can contact the diocese for further information: click here.

Big Lottery Fund launches £75m grants scheme for buildings

The Big Lottery Fund is opening a £75m community buildings grants programme that some churches could be eligible for. Not-for-profit groups will be able to apply for sums of between £100,000 and £500,000 each from the BLF’s Reaching Communities programme from early December.

via Shrinking The Footprint – News Item.

Persuading your landlord to install energy saving measures

The start of term can see lots of people moving into rented accommodation – and living in a rented property can be a frustrating experience if you want to stop wasting energy. After all it’s unlikely you’re going to want to install loft insulation or replace the inefficient heating system at your own expense.

Help is at hand, however, thanks to the Energy Saving Trust’s resource for tenants.

With persuasive reasons why your landlord should install energy saving measures, a template landlord letter to encourage your landlord to take action now, and a list of simple and quick ways you can stop wasting energy at home immediately – it could be a valuable resource for you or someone you know.

Find out more at How to persuade your landlord to install energy saving measures in your home.

Greening your church building

As Christians it is our duty to care for the world with which we have been entrusted. It is now clear that our modern, energy-hungry lifestyles are changing the planet for the worse. If we do nothing, simply allowing carbon emissions to continue at current levels, by 2100 the average annual temperature will have risen between 1 and 5°C. There will be 50% less precipitation in the summer months, but 30% more in the winter months. Extreme weather events such as storms and floods will become more common and sea levels could rise by as much as 80cm. Drier summers will increase the risk of wildfires and drought. Stormier winters will increase the risk of wind and flood damage. We must act now to ward off these threats to God’s creation.

What can we do?

Some of the most effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your church are also the simplest. Conventional fossil fuel fired power stations emit around 9 000 000 tonnes of carbon each per year in order to satisfy our demand for electricity. Reducing that demand therefore lowers emissions, as well as saving you money. Make sure that your use of energy is as efficient as possible by following these simple steps:

  • Heating should be tailored to the nature of the groups using the building rather then set at default levels. Remember that an active group (such as a playgroup) will require less heat than a sedentary one (e.g. a Sunday congregation). Use timer and/or thermostatic controls to prevent overuse.
  • Lighting should only be used when it is needed – low tech printed “Switch off” signs by light switches right through to motion activated lighting can help you achieve this. New lighting and heating systems should be sectional, allowing parts of the building currently in use to be lit and heated whilst other areas are not. Where possible install energy saving light bulbs – these can reduce energy consumption by up to 80%.

Combating climate change is about minimising use of all the planet’s resources, not just fossil fuels:

  • Reduce water use by using spray fitting taps, dual flush WCs, and harvesting rainwater.
  • Make sure products used in the church are recyclable or long life
  • Where possible, carry out repairs to the church building in sustainable, environmentally friendly materials, and ensure that additions to the building are “green by design”.

Should we be generating our own power?

Clearly it is impossible to do away with the need for power entirely. It is therefore important that our sources of power are clean and sustainable – that they do not put any additional carbon into the atmosphere. In most cases it will not be possible for churches to generate their own power on site, whether due to the capital costs of such an installation or planning restrictions. For example, the installation costs of systems such as photovoltaic cells are significantly higher than for other renewable energies, with standard installations costing around £15 000. The installation of such cells on historic churches can be detrimental both to the appearance and fabric of the building, and it is important to note that this technology is not carbon neutral due to the amount of energy required to make the cells. For churches that cannot meet such capital costs or that do not have a site suitable for microgeneration, switching to a green energy provider is the best way to ensure that the energy you are using is not harming the planet. For churches that can afford the initial cost or need to replace their current heating systems in the near future, systems such as ground source heat pumps and particularly biomass may be worth investigating as they are particularly well suited to the energy demands of church buildings.

There is no “one size fits all” solution for the provision of sustainable energy. The best solutions are tailored to the specific needs and resources of your church.

Further information

For further information and guidance on climate change and your church building in the Diocese of Oxford, contact natalie.merry@oxford.anglican.org or see the following websites:

The Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk) has fact sheets on all the major types of micro-generation, has an online shop selling the parts required, and can offer consultation on individual projects.

The Energy Saving Trust (www.est.org.uk) has information on the different types of renewable energy, as well as on how to use energy more efficiently, and on funding/grants for micro-generation equipment

The Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint initiative (www.shrinkingthefootprint.cofe.anglican.org) has advice on how to measure the carbon footprint of your church, and how to reduce it.

Eco-congregation (www.ecocongregation.org) has a wealth of practical information on the green management of your church, and on introducing green issues into worship.

Remember that all alterations to the church building that are not covered by de minimis will require the permission of the Chancellor through the usual faculty process. You should contact the office of the DAC Secretary for advice on such alterations.

Natalie Merry is the Secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the care of churches in the Diocese of Oxford.