Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the gates, lovely warm people
When constructing any new building, the best-practice for heating it tends to be decided in the design process. However, when a structure has been in place for hundreds of years such as churches, standard heating systems and procedures have to be reconsidered.
In particular, churches present unique heating and ventilating challenges: how can you provide comfortable temperatures to a congregation while conserving the historic aesthetics and building materials that make them a staple of Britain’s architectural heritage? Throw environmental factors and ever-rising heating costs into the mix and the mind starts to boggle.
While modern churches are often designed to double as community centres and are used regularly throughout the week, the older, more historic churches are generally not in daily use and need to warm up quickly in time for a service.
Although older churches’ quintessential stone walls feature a high thermal mass to ensure they remain cool in the hot summer weather, the same effect in winter causes the expansive buildings to become uncomfortably cold. The sun’s heat can take all day to penetrate the thick stones and heat the interior; in winter, the temperature rarely soars high enough for the stones to radiate any heat at all. But switching on a conventional central heating system hours before every service is hardly ideal, particularly given the impact it has on a parish’s and the planet’s valuable resources.
Highly responsive heating is the desirable solution, and if it can reduce the building’s carbon footprint as well as hefty energy costs in the process, that’s even better. Jaga’s Low-H2O technology combined with its Dynamic Boost Effect (DBE) ticks all the boxes.
St John’s Cathedral in the heart of Norwich utilised the DBE technology to dramatically improve its heating efficiency – the heating system can now run seven days a week for the same cost as two days under the previous part-electric, part-gas system. Primarily installed in trenches underneath its raised pews, the powerful system provides more than adequate warmth to combat the heat-sapping high ceiling that dwarfs the sanctuary and nave. For the full story, check out our St John’s Cathedral case study.
The heat pump compatible DBE convector fan unit attaches to the radiator’s heat exchanger and draws air over the element to significantly increase the radiator’s efficiency in quietly circulating air around the room. It reacts promptly and accurately to any room temperature changes – which are forever fluctuating in large, draughty churches – and can supply a quick boost of extra heat if necessary.
Additionally, a low mass, low water content (Low-H2O) radiator uses 90% less water and has only 5% of the thermal mass of bulky steel panel radiators, ensuring it heats up instantly and quickly distributes the warmth throughout the vast structure.
Both these technologies can work in conjunction with a host of radiator designs to ensure the building’s character remains intact. From inconspicuous trench heaters to sleek, unobtrusive wall-mounted radiators or more bespoke continuous solutions such as Tempo and Maxi – any church can be heated without drawing attention away from its traditional grandeur.
Case in point - the newly-refurbished Steeple Church in Dundee. All the products and technologies mentioned above were installed, with Strada DBE radiators used for the walls and hidden Clima Canal trench heaters built horizontally into the stairs that lead to the altar.
Find out exactly how Jaga products helped some of these other churches upgrade their heating systems:
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