urbandesign.com's computer simulation of the project

A green design for the whole community

They say you should practice what you preach, and it looks as if the St John’s parish in Wembley is really putting that into action.

 The Archdeacon of Northolt, the Venerable Rachel Treweek, has given her blessing to an ambitious move on the part of the Church of England: St. John’s Wembley vicarage, built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6.

To clarify, that’s the top level a building can be. Solar panels, sustainable building materials and, naturally, yards upon yards of insulation are behind the project, and as well as the vicarage it also includes a community hall, which the church will use, and affordable housing for local residents. It’s all highly suitable in a development serving higher concerns.

Naturally, the Energy Saving Trust is pleased about this. We’ve got lots of guides, case studies and info for builders and householders – anyone interested in new build development, in fact – packed on our website, but it also turns out that the church has its own guide for those in that particular line of business, as it were. So if you’ve been thinking of building your own low-carbon religious establishment, you may find the Church Commission’s Parsonages: a Design Guide a good starting point.

St John's old postcard photo

To the greener glory...

This will be London’s first Code Level 6 church building, and the whole has been designed to reflect and augment the design of the listed Victorian church itself. Vicar Rev Francis Adu-Boachie is naturally excited:

We are thankful and privileged to live in the first Code 6 vicarage in the London Diocese… it is a life-changing building which will affect how we live and manage our energy consumption.

As a parish we are committed to working with others on environmental issues and this building is both a sign and an example to the community of what can be achieved. There are lots of gadgets which we have to learn to operate and I’m looking forward to trying them all out.

Marcus Aniol, Managing Director of J S Wright – the contractors who will design and install underfloor heating linked to a ground source heat pump and a domestic water service that incorporates rainwater harvesting’ – said:

We are delighted to have been appointed to lead the way in greener housing by fitting out such an imaginative development to Level 6 of the Government Code, especially as it is expected that all grant-funded social housing will have to meet the exacting standard by 2016.

We’d say the development should be the envy of the Christian flock, if envy wasn’t one the seven deadly sins. So we hope it’ll be more like an inspiration.

Have a happy and energy-saving Easter weekend, everyone!