Just turn up
This Franciscan Friary consists of eight buildings, heated with a central 200kW woodchip burner fed automatically from the chip store. 10,000 litres of water are heated and distributed through a community heating system into 17 controllable heat zones. Chips are supplied from local sustainably managed woods.
Since the beginning of December 2014 the Friary has been relying on the burning of biomass (woodchips) for its heating and hot water supply. Sceptics warned that there were likely to be significant problems with woodchip burning, but four years on the system has been working almost faultlessly. The fuel is fed automatically to the boiler which heats water in a 10,000 litre tank, which is then pumped to the different houses of the Friary. The whole operation is programmed to achieve maximum efficiency and can be controlled by laptop from anywhere within the ite.Fuel isdrawn from the Friary’s own woodland and from the Dorset County Council woodland on the edge of the Downs just above the Friary, both sites being managed sustainably.
The insulation has also been upgraded: The large Recreation Hall has been internally insulated with 6" celotex on walls and floor. Another building has been externally insulated with celotex and wood cladding. Other alternative energy and energy saving initiatives have been undertaken over the past seven years. The chapel roof holds 44 photo-voltaic panels which supply part of the electricity needs and feed into the National Grid. Two types of solar thermal installations have been fitted, flat plate and tubes. We have an electric car, a Nissan Leaf, with a charging point. The friary has received a gold award as part of the Eco Church scheme.
All this is not just about saving money and keeping warm, but arises from the Friary’s particular Christian and Franciscan insight of creation as a precious gift from God, and of nature as a community of creatures, animate and inanimate, of which we are a part. A world in which we live at peace, harmony and reverence with all around us is one which gives glory and praise to the Creator and Redeemer.