St Leonard’s Green Scheme – FAQs

Hopefully the information below will answer your question, but if not, please do email us and we’ll respond as quickly as we can.

Q: What is the St Leonard’s Green Scheme?
A: We have to replace the oil-fired boiler at St Leonard’s because it’s on its last legs and may not get us through the next winter. We have had advice from various heating solutions and solar installation engineers and community energy groups, as well as approval from Semley’s PCC and our church architect (Brian Watts of PWCR Architects).

Q: Why go solar powered?
A: Many reasons. Burning fossil fuels is not sustainable so replacing the old boiler with a new oil-fired one is not an option. St Leonard’s is already a Bronze Eco Church under the A Rocha scheme and we are determined to do our bit in reducing our climate impact. It is a vital part of our Christian faith to care for the world we believe God created for us to enjoy and look after. You can read more about that here.

Q: Won’t solar panels ruin the look of the listed church, inside and out?
A: Fortunately, the church has a south-facing roof which is not seen from anywhere in the village (the main roof is concealed by the south aisle roof) so it is a perfect site for a solar panel array. Modern heating techniques mean under-pew heating can keep church goers warm very efficiently and quickly – the system heats the people not the space. The heaters under the pews will only be seen if you are crawling round under the pews (and if that’s your thing, we won’t judge!), far less intrusive than the existing radiators on the backs of some pews.

Q: What if it isn’t sunny?
A good question! Fortunately, the battery system allows us to store enough energy from even a fairly murky week to use at a standard Sunday service. Modern solar panels collect some energy even in moderate cloudy weather. If it really is wall-to-wall heavy cloud all week, or we have multiple events close together, we can use electricity from the National Grid to top us up (our supplier provides us with 100% renewably generated electricity).

Q: Why not air-source heat pumps?
The Church is a listed building with a large open space to keep warm. Air-source heat pumps are not suitable, visually, for the building or effective at keeping such a large space comfortable. Consulting with experienced heating engineers helped us arrive at this solution.

Q: How much will it cost?
We have had quotes indicating it will cost about £50,000. Very roughly, it works out at about £1500 for the longer pews, and £500 for the shorter ones. If you’d like to donate, please click here.

Q: And how will you raise the money?
On 9th June we will launch our fundraising campaign at a Big Green Picnic. We are planning a silent auction with loads of great lots and later a live auction. We will also launch a “sponsor a pew” scheme. We are planning a whole summer of talks and events like a “come and sing” and a choral evensong. There are also organisations, charitable foundations and institutions that we are approaching for
grants and donations. If you have any ideas for fundraising events, please do let us know by emailing us – we’d love to hear from you!