Environmentalism has been described by some as a form of religion. Well, if so, then it seems that the old religions are being converted. We reported recently on a church which wanted to have solar panels installed but was denied planning rights because it was considered that it would destroy the look of the building. Now, however, a church in Gloucestershire is producing all of its energy from green sources.
The church in question is also very old. In fact, it is grade one listed, but this has not prevented it from being able to make use of solar energy by having PV cells installed on its roof. The church is located in the village of Withington, the church of St Michael and All Angels.
The solar panels account for all of the electrical needs which the church has. This is done with a total of twenty-four panels, and means that all of its electricity is provided by solar energy. In terms of heating, they have a new boiler which runs on pellets. This means that no gas is required, and it doesn’t need additional electricity to run the boiler.
This plan has recently been completed but was originated two years ago. Work was done on the whole on a pro bono basis by one of the congregation who works for an asset consultancy firm and is the head of their sustainability department.
This sort of generosity cannot be delivered to everyone of course, however the costs that would normally be applied, and which private individuals would have to deal with, over time actually take care of themselves. This is due not only to the savings on your electricity bill which you will receive as a result of having solar energy panels installed, but also because of the feed-in-tariff scheme currently in operation.
What people should really learn from this project however is that it is not necessary to take cosmetic considerations into account for these projects. There are certain people who are fighting to get solar panels installed on their roofs so that they can make use of solar energy, but they are denied this opportunity by planning committees who say that solar panels are too ugly. However, church in question is nearly a thousand years old and is a listed building, and yet it was allowed planning permission to have solar panels installed. Similarly, as we reported only last week, President Obama and Prince Charles have had solar panels installed on their property, and the former is one of the most iconic buildings in the world.
Not so many people take inspiration from religion any more, and environmentalists tend not to like the tag. However nobody can deny that religions have produced great leaders throughout the ages, and it does have the power to inspire us to do the right thing. Perhaps, then, this is a case of religions old and new coming together and giving inspiration even in our modern age, to overlook the superficial and do the right thing for everybody.