AS old, draughty buildings with outdated heating systems, churches aren’t usually the most environmentally friendly.
But Newsome South Methodist Church (NSMC) has being trying to change that for almost 20 years.
The church on Birch Road in Newsome was built in 1893 with a Sunday school extension added in 1981.
The Victorian section of the building was particularly inefficient so since 1994 the congregation has began improving it bit by bit.
Now the church – which features insulation in the walls, roof and windows – is possibly the most energy efficient church in Huddersfield.
And with 16 photo-voltaic panels installed on the church’s south-facing roof last year, NSMC is now generating its own energy and cash for the electricity it pumps into the National Grid.
NSMC has installed low energy lighting to replace the electricity guzzling floodlights and two small condensing boilers to replace the inefficient gas boiler.
Heating in each room can be adjusted independently preventing energy being wasted by heating empty rooms. Meanwhile, the ceiling in the kitchen has been lowered to further cut heating costs.
NSMC has signed up to the Methodist Church’s – the national body for UK methodist churches – carbon reduction pledge.
Dr Richard Vautrey, former Vice President of the Methodist Church, had declared that it was ‘morally irresponsible’ to fail to acknowledge the need to cut carbon emissions.
NSMC Property Steward Howard Robinson said: “As Christians we believe it’s God’s world and we have a responsibility to look after it and we should use our energy wisely.
“I don’t know if we’re unique but I’d say we’re a pioneer church.”
But NSMC’s environmental work isn’t finished.
The church has began collecting all manner of materials for recycling including foreign coins and used pens.
NSMC hopes to qualify for Eco Congregation status which also involves spreading the environmental message.
Mr Robinson added: “We’re not finished yet. It’s not just about looking after your church but looking after your congregation and taking care of the environment.”
Newsome South Methodist Church is open to schools for visits to see the church’s energy saving measures.
For details visit www.huddersfieldmethodists.org.uk/newsome.htm or call Rev John Hayes: 07531 243327.