In the G7 summit, held in June of this year, one of the hot topics was The Environment and Climate Change. There was a call for world leaders to take serious action and show immediate transformation. This theme will also be followed through at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) at the end of October. As a result, the UK has agreed to legislate a new target of a 78% reduction in national emissions by 2035.
What does this mean for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South England Conference?
When it comes to sustainability, we all have a part to play as stewards of God’s kingdom. One area that involves us all, is our church buildings and building projects. The condition of our current buildings, how we use our properties and how we refurbish them should include provision for sustainability and future proofing.
So where do we start?
Here are just a few actions for our existing buildings:
* Maintain the roof and gutters to prevent damp entering the building and warm air escaping.
* Fix any broken windowpanes and make sure opening windows shut tightly to reduce heat loss.
* Insulate heating pipes to direct heat where needed; this may allow other sources of heat to be reduced in this area.
* If draughts from doors are problematic, draught-proof the gaps or put up a door-curtain.
* Consider using rugs/floor-coverings (with breathable backings) and cushions on/around the pews/chairs.
Heating and lighting:
* Switch to 100% renewable electricity.
* Match heat settings to better usage, so heating is only switched on when necessary.
* If there are water-filled radiators, try turning-off the heating 15 minutes before the service ends. For most churches, this allows the heating system to continue to radiate residual warmth.
* Add a glycol-based “anti-freeze” to your radiator system and review your frost setting.
* Replace lightbulbs with LEDs where simple replacement is possible.
* Replace floodlights with new LED units.
* Where there is an internet connection, install a HIVE- or NEST-type heating controller to better control heating.
If current appliances fail, then replace them with A+++ appliances.
People and policies:
* Create an Energy Champion who monitors bills and encourages people to switch appliances off when not needed.
The above steps are ways for local churches to reduce their energy usage and carbon emissions. It’s a way for us to play our part in God’s Kingdom by becoming ready.
What about building projects?
* When taking on a building project, make sure that the most energy-efficient options, as well as sustainability, are considered. For example, the SEC considered sustainability at Hay’s Wood Retreat centre, selecting sustainable building materials and installing an eco-energy system. This is a part of good stewardship, and we all have our part to play.