Going green in London
East Molesey Methodist Church is using its award money to push forward with a plan to reduce carbon emissions and their power bills, and to keep the church building on a sustainable footing for both worshippers and community users.
They have been planning an ambitious project to go ‘green’ for some time. The work will involve installing a series of photovoltaic panels on the long, south-facing elevation of the church hall roof to capture solar energy during the day.
Some of that power will be used to provide electricity to the church in real-time, while any excess will either charge up a newly-installed series of batteries – allowing the building to run on ‘solar power’ long after the sun has gone down in the evening – or will be sold back to the National Grid at a profit.
‘The church has a variety of rooms and spaces which are in use quite a lot of the time by both church and community groups,’ said church treasurer Ian Pegg. ‘There’s a preschool playgroup which has a great reputation for its work with special needs children, Rainbows and Brownies, dance and music groups, fitness and tutor groups, a variety of local societies and exhibitions, and children’s birthday parties.
‘In terms of the church activities there is obviously Sunday worship, but we also have a toddler group, a film club, numerous fundraising events, and regular church and circuit and ecumenical meetings.
‘In a typical week we will have over 400 people coming on-site, so you can imagine the electricity usage is quite high. We’ve been planning this conversion for some time. The environmental factor was always there, but the recent significant rises in the price of electricity have made it much more urgent. We were already fundraising, but the award is a really welcome boost and a lovely surprise. We’re very grateful for it.
‘We are the first church in the circuit to instal solar panels, so we’ll be the guinea pigs for others – it has to be the future, so we’re hoping that our experiences inform and inspire other churches to do the same.’