Renewable energy installations are more and more common and affordable.
But it’s important to choose the right one for your building and community use.
Before you start
Don’t just think about renewable energy. Make sure you try some of the easy, low impact changes first. Have you:
- Checked your energy bills are correct?
- Reduced draughts?
- Insulated radiator pipes?
- Ensured gutters are clear?
- Installed a thermostat?
- Installed LED bulbs?
- Switched to green energy?
Guidance on energy sources
The price of renewable technology continues to fall.
And with improving energy storage opportunities, the initial cost can, in many cases, be recovered through energy savings over a relatively short timeframe.
There are also a number of community energy groups looking for installation sites. They are keen to work with churches.
Some grant funders will pay for the technology if you include it in a larger project as they are increasingly asking for the integration of environmental measures into applications.
Finally, there are also some small Government incentives available for renewable technologies.For solar panels
A small feed-in tariff is available. It is made of:
- A generation tariff
- And an export tariff (for units exported to the grid)
You can get more funding if:
- Your building can achieve an Energy Performance Certificate of grade D or higher
- Or you’re part of a community energy scheme
Applying for faculty
Installing a renewable energy system can have a major impact on your church building so it’s important to think about how best to reduce that impact.
Given the speed at which technologies are evolving it is also important to make sure that installations are reversible where possible.
You will probably need the following supporting information for your faculty application:
- Introductory statement providing background information and setting the work in context
- Statement of needs for the work
- Statement of significance for the building or building remains affected by the work
- Description of the proposed work and drawings
- Technical specifications (e.g. installation fixings, cable runs, maintenance requirements and allowance for contingencies, etc)
- Robust engineering statement based on appropriate calculations (e.g. for roof-mounted solar panel installations, the weight of the array and its housing, wind loading and dynamic stresses, etc)
- An impact statement by your architect or archaeologist (e.g. if proposing a ground source heat pump near burials)
Your Diocesan Advisory Committee secretary will be able to give you advice
Bath Abbey is using hot water from the roman baths to produce energy.
Gloucester cathedral has installed 150 solar panels on the nave roof.
They generate 25% of the cathedral’s entire electricity use.
St Wenn’s church in Truro diocese is sharing a biomass heating system with the school.