The new church building for St Andrew’s Dean Court uses renewable energy to power, heat and light the space and is a valuable centre for the whole community to use and enjoy.
Roger Long is part of the congregation at St Andrew’s Church, in the Cumnor Parish on the western edge of Oxford, and took on the task of project managing the rebuild from start to finish. Beginning in November 2021, in under a year, the church rebuild was completed and was officially opened by the Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Gavin Collins, on 10 September 2022.
Replacing the small and inefficient 1960s wooden church building, which was originally built as a church and community centre for the old Pinnocks Way social housing estate, the new church building incorporates a range of sustainable and energy-efficient measures, helping the church on its journey to becoming carbon neutral. Air source heat pumps provide hot water and underfloor heating, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof provide electricity, and a sustainable urban drainage system in the outdoor space and car park reduces pressure on the local high-water table.
During the rebuild, they were mindful of retaining the trees and hedgerows surrounding the site to limit any negative impact on wildlife and biodiversity. The new church building is now more accessible with full disabled access, parking, and toilets, and to encourage alternative modes of transport, bike racks were installed.
Roger shares more about the sustainability and efficiency of the church building:
“Sustainability was a key credential of the rebuild from the start of the project with the aim always being to make the building as sustainable as possible and keep the environmental impact low within the budget we had. We worked with local builders and sourced local materials to limit the carbon footprint of the construction and building.
“Along with installing solar panels, air source heat pumps, and cavity wall and roof insulation, we have adopted a range of simple but effective measures to help reduce energy use. Skylights and large double-glazed windows have reduced the need to use lighting regularly, all light fittings are LED and on a zoning system, and our heating also uses zoning.”
The project was funded from a range of sources including a grant from the Development Fund, the Bishop of Oxford’s Outreach Fund, the Archdeacon of Dorchester’s Building Fund, among other charities and foundations. The majority of the funding came directly from the church congregation and the Parish Church Council.
“The congregation has been very supportive of the new build and without their generous donations, totaling 45% of the overall funding, the rebuild would not have been possible.
“It’s really pleasing to see that the local community values the church too and we kept our neighbours involved during each step of the process. The building is already making an impact, we’ve seen the congregation grow since opening the new church and it is used almost every day of the week, daytime and evening, for community groups and events.”
Find helpful tips and easy-to-follow advice on how to improve the sustainability of your church buildings and maximise energy efficiency in the new parish resource pack from our Environment Team.
Remember to speak to the DAC and church buildings team for advice and permissions on altering your church building.