Monday, November 16, 2009

One small step toward zero carbon footprint

I had a brief meeting this morning in church with the Representative Body's properties officer, Alex Glanville, and two representatives of British Geothermals, whose proposals for a feasibility study on making St John's a zero carbon footprint building are under consideration.

The technologies in this area are developing at a pace right now, as many people in business as well as ecologically minded individuals are concerned to do what they can to counter global warming. The company are keen to show the potential of delivering a state of the art solution to the huge challenge of keeping such a large volume old building at a temperature that is both good for old stone, vintage organs and people (of all ages).

With so many people visiting St John's over the course of a year, and our desire to maintain the building as a place of welcome in every sense, the need for heating is important, just as the need to move as soon as possible towards a zero carbon footprint is, in order to give a very public lead within the city.

We had a forthright discussion, and all of us departed feeling that the next step was worth taking. So the survey will be commissioned, and maybe, before I retire, I'll be able to present it to the PCC as a legacy. If the project is fully realised it will take several years to implement, given not only the technical procedures entailed, but also the bureaucratic stages which must be followed scrupulously to ensure CADW and other conservation bodies are satisfied, not to mention government bodies with strict specification requirements to ensure grant aid eligibility.

I think I'll be happier to watch this happen from afar, than wait for all the cogs to grind towards achievement. The older I get, the more I suffer from my impatience to see things put right. It's all part of knowing how little time I have left, in terms of potential years of life, but also growing climate chaos we experience more frequently it seems.

When I was young I was impatient largely because I wanted to get on to the next new thing to be achieved. Now I know a little more about what matters in the long term, my reasons not to be patient increase day by day, as my ability of achieve anything really useful diminishes.

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