AN ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY methodist church in Stratford has become the first in the country to win a green award.
The eco-church scheme, organised by Christian charity A Rocha, encourages churches to make changes to improve their climate impact and take action to help the environment.
And Stratford Methodist Church in Old Town celebrated becoming the first Methodist church and the fifth church in the country to receive a gold award from the charity following a number of eco-inspired changes.
The church began redeveloping the premises in 2014 to be more energy efficient. Apart from reducing heat loss from the building and replacing the heating system, 36 solar panels were installed, as well as a ground heat source pump and a rainwater harvesting system to flush the toilets.
The changes mean the church has significantly reduced its carbon footprint from 40 tonnes to 16 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Leader of the Church Green Group Dr Lim Ho said: “We’ve shown it’s achievable in the long run. We’ve been working together for 15 years just starting with simple things like collecting recycling take to the recycling centre. A lot of churches are used by whole communities and they should also take steps to reduce the energy in the building and produce their own energy as well.
“We will work more closely with other local churches as well as environmental groups to make Stratford a better place for a low carbon future.”
The church is also hosting a climate action day, alongside Stratford Friends of the Earth and Stratford Quakers, on Saturday June 22 from 10am to 4pm.
The event – with the theme ‘The Climate Emergency: What Can Stratford Do?’ – includes a lecture from Dr Lisa Schipper of the Environmental Change Institute, over 30 exhibitions and workshops about ways to cut down on waste and saving energy.
Food from the Plantarium cafe will also be available.
Visit www.stratfordclimate.org for more information.