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Champion Norwich church is first to help others through demonstrator projects – new video released.

The Earth chapel inside St Peter Mancroft Church

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St Peter Mancroft in Norwich city centre is the first of over 100 churches to receive a grant as part of the £5.2M Demonstrator Churches project from the Church of England’s Net Zero Programme.  This aims to help 114 churches in 2024 and 2025 pay for items such as solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, secondary glazing, LED lighting and infrared heating system.

St Peter Mancroft church journey to net zero.

 As work progresses, the network of Demonstrator Churches – representing many different types of community and situations – will share what they have learned more widely with dioceses and parishes so that all Church of England churches can learn from their experiences. 

Located in the marketplace in the heart of the medieval city of Norwich, St Peter Mancroft, is the largest of the city’s 31 surviving medieval parish churches. 

The church has received a Church of England Demonstrator Churches grant of £50,000 with co-funding from the scheme’s partners, Benefact Trust, of £36,000 to transform its carbon footprint and energy use by replacing its entire interior lighting system and installing heat pumps as well as batteries and 48 solar panels. 

Through this work, the church expects to see an 84% reduction in emissions by saving 52.26 tonnes of CO2 each year. 

Bishop Graham said: “I am delighted that the clergy and congregation at St Peter Mancroft have taken the journey to Net Zero Carbon seriously and have worked hard on ambitious plans. As a major historic building in the centre of Norwich, their work will have widespread interest. Their selection as a national demonstrator project also means that their learning will be shared and they will be able to encourage other church communities.” 

The roots of this project at St Peter Mancroft began in 2017. It became apparent that the lighting in the Grade 1 listed church needed a complete overhaul to bring it up to date. The current inflexible sodium lights have been burning for decades. As part of this project, new and more energy efficient LED lighting will be installed to replace the old lighting. 

The Revd Canon Edward Carter, the Vicar of St Peter Mancroft Church, has been instrumental in this project. Soon after he arrived at the church, one of the main gas boilers failed. It was another element which speeded up this major environmental project. Work began on installing solar panels on the southern roof in March 2024, with the installation of the new LED lighting system, heat pumps and batteries to follow.  

Revd Edward said: “It’s so satisfying to see this project finally come to fruition. It is a comprehensive project to a Grade 1 listed church at a time when the net zero agenda is one of the Church of England’s top priorities. We are delighted to have been identified by the Diocese of Norwich as a demonstrator church project. I hope that others will be inspired by the short film that has been made capturing the project. 

Ed Cotterill, Net Zero Carbon Adviser for the Diocese said: “It’s great to see this ambitious installation happen and we look forward to sharing the lessons learned from the whole process through planning and execution with other churches who may be able to benefit from one or more similar net zero technologies. 

“However, it’s important to note that each church needs to look at their needs as a congregation on a case-by-case basis. Solar panels are not a panacea for reducing our carbon emissions across our church buildings, there are many, smaller, cheaper interventions that can be used. I’m available to chat through possibilities with anyone who is looking to improve their carbon footprint, as are my colleagues in the Care for Church Buildings team. Do get in contact!” 

For further advice on working towards net zero for your church building, contact: 

Ed Cotterill at

Nicholas Cannon at

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