Heating the People, Not the Church

Revd David Page, from St. Peter’s Church in Elworth, shares how their innovative heating system has significantly improved the experience for attendees during church services.

The planning for their new heating system began before the Covid pandemic. The existing system was no longer functional, prompting the Vicar and his team to explore alternative options. Traditional heating systems typically focus on warming an entire room, but this approach doesn’t work well for churches. Churches are vast spaces, not only in terms of floor area but also in cubic volume. The high ceilings in many churches mean there’s a considerable amount of air to heat. Unfortunately, due to the laws of physics and thermodynamics, much of that heated air rises toward the roof, where it isn’t needed. This inefficiency poses a challenge for heating churches effectively.

St. Peter’s new heating system operates on a different principle: heating the people, not the church. Here’s how it works:

  1. Air Cushion Heater Above the Entrance: As people arrive, they are greeted by a warm air cushion heater, similar to what you might find in a shop. This system directs warm air downward, ensuring a cozy welcome.

  2. Under-Pew Heating: Each pew has its own independent heating control. Empty pews can be turned off to conserve energy. Parishioners can also adjust the heat for their specific pew using a discreet switch.

  3. Infra-Red Heating in Strategic Areas: Infra-red heaters are strategically placed in parts of the church where people aren’t fixed in one position, such as near the font and by the choir.

Since the installation of the new heating system, St. Peter’s has already observed positive changes.. "People are feeling much warmer, more welcomed, and much more engaged." Says David, who adds, "It has had an impact on our heating bills, which are much lower."

Katy Purvis, Net Zero Carbon Project Officer commented “It is wonderful to celebrate the success of the new Net Zero carbon heating system at St Peters. The parish have fully understood and acted on the Church of England guidance to “heat the people, not the building”. The new heating system includes three different types of electrically powered heat emitters, which will not only have different effects on those using St Peters, but will also really help other parishes in Chester Diocese learn more about what might work in their own churches and other buildings. Every church is different, so if you are thinking about changing your heating system, firstly plan ahead, and please talk to both the DAC office and myself at Church House, we will do our best to guide you.” Contact details are available here.

If you'd like to know more about how St Peter's managed their new heating project, the church office can be contacted on 01270 762 213  office@stpeters-elworth.org.uk

Revd David Page explains more in the video below. 




Page last updated: Wednesday 10th April 2024 8:52 AM
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