I was intrigued to learn that major works at City of London Church, St Andrew by the Wardrobe, have resulted in this Church becoming the first carbon neutral Church in the City and probably one of the first Grade 1 Listed Churches in the country. Quite enterprising for one of the City Churches dating back to the middle ages, destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and again blitzed in the Second World War and rebuilt. It was exceptionally interesting for the Livery Climate Action Group Home - Livery Climate Action Group (liverycag.org.uk)
members to visit and explore the Church with Archdeacon Father Luke Miller and Bob Wilson ( the mastermind of the plans). Like many Churches it was in need of a new heating system and old standalone heaters (ready to be recycled) spoke of a temporary fix since 2015 - as well as lots of jumpers. The work included rewiring, new lighting and a new heating system that was installed with what looks like seamless joinery and plasterwork. Phase 2 will see the project finished, equal access, redecoration and some further improvements.
The Church was previously heated with under floor heating which had broken down and was not working. There was no gas supply to the premises and ancient burials and lack of physical space around the building meant it was not possible to consider ground source heat pumps. Solar panels would not provide sufficient power for such a large space. The solution was to be air source heat pumps with additional electric radiators in the larger areas of the Church itself. Seven air source heat pumps have been installed in the roof space. Prone to vibrate, they need to be affixed to a solid structure but clearly as a listed building this must not cause damage, nor noise and interference for any neighbours. There is a large amount of equipment to attenuate the sound - so everything is possible. There is now much more insulation in the roof but the area is not a sealed box as the air is drawn in from one side of the Church passes through the pumps and is expelled on the other side. An up to 15 degree differential in the temperature of the air generates the energy to heat the building. The back up electric radiators work as needed and are fed off the green tariffs from Parish Buying to be efficient financially as well.
It is these air source heat pumps based in the roof space that are remarkable - but are good examples of what we all need to do and this project has shown that you can! As a result of these works St Andrew by the Wardrobe faces a much more positive future with new groups lined up to occupy and utilise the spaces with ease and a net zero carbon footprint. The Church of England (a leader in tackling climate issues around investments) have committed to net zero carbon by 2030. There are lots of resources on their website and I am sure that many other Churches in the City and beyond are working on this right now. See St Andrew’s from 3:54 on the films on the C/E Environment page Church of England Environment Programme | The Church of England and there is another film about the project here.