The country's first green cathedral

MANY property owners are doing their bit to become greener but when your home is a house of God, the challenges involved are somewhat on a larger scale.

James Hore

MANY property owners are doing their bit to become greener but when your home is a house of God, the challenges involved are somewhat on a larger scale.

But the congregation of Chelmsford Cathedral have worked together and it has become the first in England and Wales to given a special green award.

The Groundwork Trust carried out the assessments before awarding the “eco congregation status”.

A series of initiatives have been introduced at the cathedral including green bins for paper re-cycling, using a compost heap in the diocesan gardens and more economic use of all resources, including heating.

The cathedral's five main boilers are due to be replaced with more efficient models and a low-energy circuit for the building's lighting system is being considered.

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Other ideas for the Chapter House include changing heating fuel from electricity to gas, improving thermal insulation in the roof and walls and fitting low-flow devices to reduce water use.

Royal Navy Captain, retired, David Fifield led the efforts which have included establishing an environmental group and the granting of Fair Trade status.

Tony Allen, publicity officer for the cathedral, said it was hoped the 1,500 congregation would be inspired to make their own homes greener.

He said: “What I think is encouraging is that it will help individuals in their own homes and own communities to give some priority to it as well.

“We are trying to do this so that those who worship with us look at their own homes and situation and we are trying to take the lead.

“It is secular as well as spiritual and we are looking at it from the community point of view too.”

David Hughes from the Groundwork Trust said he had been impressed by the amount of work which had been done to make “buildings so much greener”.

He said: “This is often a very valuable witness to the community that the church takes seriously our call to be stewards of God's creation.”