St Mary Redcliffe Church signs up to Go Green
St Mary Redcliffe Church signs up to Go Green to demonstrate its continued commitment to sustainability and a greener Bristol.
2015 is Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. This acknowledges the city’s determination to making sustainable urban living mainstream and help build stronger more resilient communities across the city and well beyond. So much has been going on across the city and St Mary Redcliffe Church is delighted to be playing its part and getting involved. One way it is doing so has been by signing up to Go Green, the main business and employer engagement programme being run by Business West and Low Carbon South West.
The church enjoys strong relationships with the local business community, in particular through The Canynges Society, and this initiative enables it to build on work done to date and now share its experiences and also learn from others. Its part of how the church is able to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability in the widest sense.
Implementing environmentally friendly measures and fittings in a Grade 1 listed, 14th Century building is certainly no easy task. However, ever since St Mary Redcliffe church signed the Bristol Green Capital Partnership (BGCP) pledge back in 2013, the church has taken a number of significant steps to help improve its environmental performance, and is a fantastic case study of how older, historic premises can be retrofitted to become more sustainable.
By signing the BGCP pledge, the Church committed itself to helping make Bristol “a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all”. In 2014 with the help of the Canynges Society it set to work and commissioned an energy audit from Inspired Efficiency to identify areas where heat and light energy consumption could be improved.
Following Inspired Efficiency’s report, the church bid for, and was awarded a £4,000 grant from the Bristol Community Building Fund to replace the building’s heating pump, and upgrade the heating control system. The installation of the new heating system is estimated to save the church a staggering £2,500 per year in gas consumption. The report also suggested improvements to the lighting systems and as a result, a large number of low energy LED lights have been fitted.
Alongside this the parish office analysed its activities to identify areas where it could be more efficient and make other changes. In response, a new water heating system has recently been installed in the staff kitchen, and the range of its recycling has been expanded to include plastics and glass. In all, saving the church electricity and water bills, and reducing its overall impact on the environment.
Go Green, as the main business and employer engagement programme for Bristol 2015, is an initiative which supports businesses, charities and organisations of all shapes and sizes, on their journey to embrace sustainability and reduce impact on the environment. Launched in February 2015, as a key initiative for the year (and beyond) it has already very successfully engaged well over 1,000 business people and organisations and encouraged them to engage or go further. With a simple formula it helps embed the green agenda into any organisation, making it straightforward and easy to use. But is also allows business people and other employers to share what they are doing and connect and collaborate in lots of ways and also have some fun along the way.
The church is always looking for ways to improve its sustainability measures and by adopting the online Go Green tool it has created itself a unique action plan, which then recommends procedures the church can undertake across five key themes: energy and efficiency; travel and transport; planning and resilience; sustainable sourcing, and happy and healthy.
In addition, Go Green offers opportunities for collaboration between businesses and all those involved through events and networking, and offers the option to share case studies and tips regarding environmental practices. These collaboration opportunities will help the church in its further plans to reduce its energy consumption through improving the electrical systems and installing photovoltaic cells on the roof but also of course in its core mission to reach out, connect and work with the parish and other communities in the city.
In what is a tall order for Bristol’s tallest building, the Church has shown that despite the age of a building, measures can be implemented to help improve environmental performance and sustainability of how it operates for the building and its people. It is perhaps unlikely that Bristol’s merchants who built “the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England” had environmental impact on their agenda, but through hard work and dedication the Church is on the path to sustainability and will continue to do so with the help of Go Green.
For more information about Bristol as European Green Capital visit the Bristol 2015 website: https://www.bristol2015.co.uk/
Go Green Website: http://gogreenbusiness.co.uk/
Frequently Asked Questions about Green Capital: