Carbon-neutral refit on listed City of London church

carbon neutral

A carbon-neutral refit has just been completed on a City of London Grade 1 listed church. St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe reopened last week after closing for the refit work at the end of 2021.

Anglican and Coptic Orthodox congregations will share the newly refurbished church.

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe’s carbon-neutral refurbishment incorporated installing energy-saving technology including air-source heat pumps, new roof insulation and LED lighting.

The church is believed to be London’s first Grade I listed church to become carbon-neutral.

A celebratory choral evensong on Wednesday of last week marked the church’s reopening.

“As stewards of God’s creation, we have a fundamental responsibility to act sustainably and protect the world we live in,” Bishop of London the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally said.

“I am thrilled that St Andrew’s is leading the way in showing us an example which we should all strive to follow.”

About seven percent of England’s churches are already carbon-neutral. That’s a statistic the Church of England’s General Synod would like to improve, with a General Synod resolution urging the Church of England at all levels to take action on climate change.

The Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London also attended the service.

He spoke of his delight that, besides being home to St-Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe’s Anglican congregation, it will be the new Coptic Orthodox London headquarters as well.

“When we first embarked on this partnership, it was never expected to reach the scale which it has,” he said.

“Having the 2000-year-old Church of Egypt now finding a home in a 1000-year-old iconic church in the heart of London speaks of the breadth of the Church in our current era.

“Our vision is that this not only becomes a place of worship for the Coptic Orthodox Community, but a space through which it serves London in all its breadth and diversity.”

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe is sited near Blackfriars Bridge, with references to appearing almost 1000 years ago.

Sir Christopher Wren designed the current building’s core, to replace the building destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

The church was further damaged during the Blitz in World War 2.

It was renovated in 1961, but in recent years has “become unfit for purpose, with the electrical system about to be condemned putting the church at risk of closure.

“It’s been a true privilege to oversee the third regeneration of an irreplaceable part of the City’s rich tapestry, and I am so excited to see worshippers welcomed through C doors once more.”

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe’s name refers to its proximity to the Royal Wardrobe of Edward III, where clothes and other regalia were kept. This too was destroyed in the devastating fire of London in 1666.


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