Our Green Journey: 2010-2014 church redevelopment and our third Eco-Congregation award

In 2010 the church joined the Carbon Reduction Benchmarking Scheme. It was found that the annual carbon footprint of the church building was 35.2 tonnes CO2, which was 11% higher than that of the standard building carbon footprint. The building’s environmental performance was rated as poor. We were expected to achieve a 27% reduction by 2015 to achieve an average carbon footprint for our type of building.

The decision to redevelop the church building in 2010 provided a timely opportunity for us to make a step-change in reducing our environmental impact.

The Green Group researched options and submitted ideas for how the church could make the building greener. All of its recommendations were incorporated into the plans and the group, along with the redevelopment steering group, worked closely with the architects to incorporate as many green features into the plans as possible. These included:

  • Double glazing for doors and windows
  • Improved insulation of the walls and ceilings
  • New, much more efficient, gas boilers for the central heating
  • Installation of solar panels and a ground source heat pump in a new room
  • Installation of rainwater harvesting system to flush the toilets
  • More efficient lighting throughout the building i.e. rewiring and LED lighting with microwave sensor control of public corridors
  • A wildflower garden to increase biodiversity
  • Recycling as many materials as possible – for example the wooden pews were donated to Grassmarket Community Project for furniture making, the old curtains were recycled to make shopping bags and old carpets were re-used for the stairs.

After 4 years of fundraising and 14 months of building work the refurbishment of the building was completed in 2014.

Because of all the measures that we were able to incorporate into the scheme the church premises has successfully reduced its carbon footprint from around 40 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year in 2005 to on average 16 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year in the last 5 years. (This excludes 2020 which was exceptional because of the pandemic.)

The redevelopment opened up new spaces and better facilities for church and community use. Although the number of people using the church has increased substantially, we have been able to reduce our overall environmental impact.

Alongside the massive amount of work associated with the redevelopment, much work continued to deepen the integration of environment concerns into the life of all church activity.

The theme of stewardship was included in various church group programmes:

Speakers from Stratford Transition Town, the Director of Recycling from Stratford District Council and Act on Energy Warwickshire were invited to the Men’s Meeting Point.

A visit to the recycling firm “Pure” was organised for church friends.

A harvest workshop organised by the Wesley Baby & Toddler group had strong environmental theme.

Environmental themes were incorporated in Brunch for children.

In 2014, following the completion of the redevelopment of the church premises, we were awarded a 3rd Eco-Congregation award.