Eco-improvements to the grade one listed Norman church of St Michael and All Angels in the Cotswold village of Withington, Gloucestershire, were finally completed after one week of intense activity.

The work included fitting solar panels on the roof and installing a boiler – meaning the whole of the church, which dates back to 1140, is now completely heated and powered from renewable energy sources.

The project, which began in 2008, was managed by Matt Fulford who attends the church with his family and claims the result make the church the UK’s first zero carbon place of worship.

Mr Fulford, who worked on the project in a pro bono basis, with the backing of his employer built asset consultancy EC Harris, where he is head of the firm’s sustainability practice.

He said: “We had been concerned that the forecasted weather would prevent us from completing the works as planned but it seems as if the project has been blessed with good weather and hopefully the sun will continue to shine to enable the solar panels to generate maximum power.”

The works on the project have attempted to demonstrate what is possible in terms of energy saving and generation for the local community and within historic buildings.

The total heating for the church has been met from a new 38kW biomass pellet boiler and the electrical demand is met from 24 solar panels carefully placed on the nave roof of the church.

Luke Walsh

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