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Church’s solar panels are paying dividends
CHURCHGOERS at St Peter’s Church in Petersfield are enjoying the benefits of going greener – they are seeing reduced energy bills alongside having cleaner consciences.
Worshippers there decided to make environmental improvements to the church building in 2016. They put 27 solar panels on their south-facing roof, helping to generate the energy they need to keep the church heated and lit.
They also replaced all their church light bulbs with dimmable LED lights. Alongside their new, highly-efficient boilers, that meant the church’s heating and electricity bills have gone from £8,500 in 2016 down to £1,750. That’s despite the fact that they keep the church open, lit and heated at a steady temperature every day from 9am until 5:30pm.
And it’s before they get around £600 a year back for the electricity they generate via their solar panels – which can’t be seen from the ground.
We’re highlighting what they’ve done as part of the focus on the environment during Lent 2020. Both our diocese and the national Church of England are sharing reflections on God’s creation and practical actions to combat climate change during this season, while the Bishop’s Lent Appeal 2020 is allowing us to donate money to global and local environmental charities. Download a list of practical actions you can take during Lent from this page.
St Peter’s Church in Petersfield has also tried to make the churchyard an eco-space by putting up owl boxes and looking after trees. Their owl box is actually a recycled car tyre.
They’ve insulated the parish office, which has helped to keep the administration team more comfortable, and are putting in double-glazing. Our diocese also double-glazed the vicarage recently, all of which will save on energy bills too.
The church makes sure that it uses starch cups that biodegrade at church fetes and events – rather than plastic ones. And they are a Fairtrade church as well, meaning that they buy products that help suppliers in developing countries. The church has been given a bronze Eco-Church Award by the Christian environmental charity A Rocha.
It operates the awards scheme to encourage churches to to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully.
The vicar, Canon Will Hughes, said: “Going green in St Peter’s has not cost us a great deal in terms of changing what we do, day by day, nor in terms of money apart from the initial investment in solar panels and bulbs. It has just meant thinking about what we do and finding the most environmentally responsible way of doing it.
“Now the environment wins, the church wins and our finances win. I can’t think why everyone doesn’t do it!”
Church Path, The Square Petersfield, GU32 3HS