Ashford St Hilda’s Goes Green
No, the vicar has not gone mad and painted the building green! But we have become the latest generating plant in West London!
It all started 12 years ago when the new Vicar, with that funny Yorkshire accent, arrived, and started his ministry in Ashford. It was not only going to be about the faith, but the community and future generations also.
It was not long before his eyes wandered upwards and within a few minutes the question came 81 bulbs at what wattage? Followed by why? 100 low energy bulbs brought within the next couple of days increased the lighting level of the church by 50%, hence we can read and sing the hymns louder and saved 51 watts per light bulb! It took just over eight months to recover the costs of his wild idea of going greener. The madness continued as slowly over the following couple of year’s fittings and lighting arrangements were updated with the phase “WE only do low energy!” Nowadays we use 80% less electric than when the previous vicar retired.
With the flood and the death of the heating system boiler his eyes twinkled again, and nowadays we only throw up the chimney about 1p in the £1 of the cost of gas we burn for heating instead of the 50p in the £1 before. We are warmer and greener and still the story continued. High output radiators and new boilers did the trick. Many thanks go to not only the Diocese but hundreds of individuals and families who helped to fund his madness and the larger group of worshipers who had joined the madness..
Then the Bishop of London’s 2050 project was launched with Bishop Richard encouraging all parishes to go greener to not only save money in the long term, but more importantly give a safer place to bring up our children and grandchildren as we all do our bit in reducing greenhouse gasses. At the same time we received a generous gift to use on St Hilda’s Church from Doris Hilda Durham. The monies were invested in the long term project of become an electric generating church so that our electrical carbon footprint became zero and in fact less than zero compensating for the gas we burn in our heating system.
Solar PV’s now installed will generate electricity from sunlight and as we sell it back to the Central Electricity Generating Board. We now not only recover our costs for the installation but also make a small profit. The long-term deal is better than investing the monies in the bank.
From the upward glance of how many bulbs and why to becoming one of those very small number of churches who not only worship Almighty God but also endeavour to be a good caretaker of the world he gave us to care for.
Long may the madness continue!
Fr Chris Rogers
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