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The Great Light Switch

The Great Light Switch

# Global and Local Mission
Published by Ana Mota on Friday, 17 March 2023 13:00

Our Eco-church Journey Takes A Big Step Forward!

You'll probably identify with the starting point of our journey: rising energy costs, a desire to continue to be hospitable and a passion to care for our beautiful planet. Therefore, here at St. Denys church we have the long term goal to become an ecological friendly church. To become environmentally sustainable requires us to change both our thinking and our behaviour. We all know that changing is daunting, but with one little step at the time we can make change happen!

Now, where to start?

.... Let there be new lights! 

The first goal: Let's reduce the energy our lights use and switch to LED. 

"By replacing 20 old tubes in the Hall with 10 new LED ones we will still have enough light from fewer bulbs – a 90% reduction on energy consumption (and cost!) That’s from £1.20 per hour of lighting to 12p per hour.  Just think how many hours those lights are on over the course of a year." 

Light bulbs
  1. First Step: A fact-finding mission to discover what we've got & what we use & what it would cost to change

Two of our volunteer team (Mike & Rod) set out to count & measure our lights & the power usage, and to calculate the costs. If you're into facts, you'll like this list:

How many lights have we got?

    • 59 fluorescent lights in the Church Centre
    • 34 other internal or external lights
    • 45 lights in the church
    • Total number of lights audited on site: 138

How much does it cost to run the lights?

    • 59 fluorescent lights in the Church Centre
    • 2.2KW (£1.20) used with all current lights in the church hall on.0.2KW (12p) would be used if switched to LEDs

How much do new LED light tubes cost?

    • 1 light tube costs £10. And pays for itself within months.

2. Second Step: We slowly make the switch. Over 5 or 6 sessions, the team of volunteers switch the lights in the different parts of the church and centre.

What an adventure this was! To substitute all the lights at the church we had one scaffold tower assembled. Only by using a scaffold tower our team was  able to reach our high ceilings where most of the lights are attached. Not only the scaffold was used to replace the light bulbs, we were also able to capture the most gorgeous pictures of our lovely church as well. We will be sharing these beautiful photos on our website and Instagram account, keep your eyes open for these snapshots.


The savings in numbers: We already received electricity bills reflecting the light bulbs change.

With halogen bulbs our electricity bill was £750. After the big light switch, our electricity bill decreased to only £501!  This means that we saved over £200 with this change. Not only we are becoming more eco friendly, we are also saving pocket money. Win-win situation!

As part of our eco-church campaign we try to handle the waste wisely:

Our waste habits are changing and  here at St. Denys church we are employing the 3 Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle whenever possible. Reducing waste, recycling our waste and reusing waste!

As part of 'reusing waste', we have long cardboard tubes that can bow become a Giant marble run! Our volunteer Mike explains in more detail this very fun project:  

"We have almost 30, 6-foot long cardboard tubes from changing over all the lights (about 3 or 4 cm wide); they can of course just be recycled - but I think there's an amazing kid's activity / messy church thing in there somewhere if we wanted (then recycle them afterwards). Would you like to keep them for now? (Or at least have a look and see if you want them before we bin them). I'm thinking a giant marble run, or maybe some cardboard sculpting, but you might have better ideas!"

And here is our Louise volunteering by demonstrating how a giant marble run works!


Reach us if you are interested in building a giant marble run course or if you have other projects that can use 6-foot long cardboard tubes.