Cathedral achieves silver Eco Church award

    3 Jan. 2024

    OUR cathedral has achieved a significant milestone in its commitment to environmental sustainability.

    It has received a silver Eco Church award from the charity A Rocha, which recognises the steps it has taken to promoting a sustainable and eco-friendly community. It is the 17th cathedral to achieve this award. 

    The cathedral has undertaken several projects since gaining the bronze Eco Church award, reflecting its dedication to environmental stewardship. It has implemented a comprehensive land management plan, altering mowing patterns, establishing wildflower meadows, and creating a hedgehog hotel, which are all steps towards providing a safe haven for insects and small animals.

    In another significant move towards energy efficiency, the cathedral's offices and community spaces in Cathedral House now have LED lighting. The cathedral has also embraced double glazing and weather-sealing measures where possible, and the installation of thermal curtains has also reduced energy consumption. 

    While the cathedral heating system requires significant investment and redevelopment, the use of smart monitoring devices has helped reduce heating requirements. These supplementary devices allow a more informed approach to heating the spaces and contribute to a more sustainable future.

    Portsmouth Cathedral's holistic approach to sustainability is also evident in its annual Sustainability Fortnight. This includes Sustainability Sunday, featuring a guest speaker on environmental issues, while also supporting local and international charities such as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Toilet Twinning financially. Its promotion of cycling includes the appointment of a cycling champion.

    Throughout the year, practical lifestyle tips, spearheaded by climate champion Sue Ward, have been integrated into weekly communications. This approach, combined with community engagement, reinforces the collective responsibility towards a greener tomorrow.

    Climate champion Sue Ward said: "It's not just about the cathedral; it's about empowering the community. Conducting home surveys and offering resources to save on bills ensures that sustainability becomes a shared endeavour. We must all make genuine efforts to reduce our carbon footprints and press for changes in national and international policies to make climate justice a reality and save the planet."

    And the Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Rev Anthony Cane, said: "The attainment of Eco Church silver status is indeed rewarding, but our commitment to caring for God’s earth extends far beyond accolades. We are resolute in reducing our carbon footprint and achieving net-zero by 2030. Over the past ten years the cathedral has taken small, but important steps to reduce its carbon footprint by 50 per cent (35% weather-adjusted).

    “Our recently completed heating feasibility study as well as other projects, reflect our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in this area, and we look forward to the next stages bringing us to gold status and reducing our carbon footprint even further."

    Looking ahead, Portsmouth Cathedral envisions a future with a full LED lighting system in the cathedral itself, enhanced heating efficiency, and a Centenary Capital Project that relates back to the Cathedral’s ongoing environmental commitment, and core vision and mission. 

    This wouldn’t be possible without the support of local stakeholders and investment from partners. In the short term, Portsmouth Cathedral will continue to prioritise minor building improvements to enhance comfort and improve energy efficiency within the cathedral. Other small investments such as personal heating pads, data-driven heating adjustments, temporary secondary glazing, and knowledge-sharing with other churches underscore the dedication to incremental progress. Find out more here.

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