Meet the Brighthelm centre. It’s a church and community centre in the heart of Brighton. Along with the church services, they also run a cafe, a pre-school and a lovely community garden.
Back in 2013 they zeroed in on sustainability as the focus across all their projects. Part of that meant looking into their finances, and they decided to sell all their shares in fossil fuels. They are the first church in the UK to divest from oil and gas.
They ended up with £120,000. Rather than investing it back into the stock market, they wanted to use money to do the community and the environment some good. The result: the centre got an energy makeover!
They have installed LED lights almost everywhere, reducing their electricity consumption by 60-80%. They even turned light switches to motion sensors to save even more electricity. It adds up to savings of £1,000 per year!
They’re also taking their ancient heating system to task and are in the process of renovating the old heating controls and installing some snazzy new boilers. And fueling all this work were some new energy efficient tea urns - absolutely essential in a busy church and community centre!
Add in a whole new recycling programme and some super water saving loos and you’ve got an impressive low-carbon renovation.
But Rob Parker, Brighthelm’s building manager doesn’t want their vision to stop with them. “We hope Brighthelm can serve as a beacon for other local organisations who want to modernise and lessen their impact on the environment.”
We hope so too!
Photo: the Brighthelm centre