Potential and Impact of Incorporating Roof Photovoltaic to Enhance Environmental Sustainability of Historic English Churches in the United Kingdom

Smita Katri, Kenneth Ip, Marco Picco, Arman Hashemi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The Church of England (CofE) is responding to climate change by taking measures to reduce their CO 2 footprint under its flagship programme-'Shrinking the Footprint', to facilitate the CO 2 emission reduction target of 80 % by 2050. Meeting this target will require both energy efficiency measures and zero carbon energy generation of which solar PV technology is a frontrunner as it has a substantially lower CO 2 footprint than grid's electricity, with no moving parts, low maintenance and a long service life. Conventional church roofs built along the East-West axis offer the ideal pitches and orientation for collecting solar energy. However, within the CofE's vast estate of over 15,000 church buildings, 78 % of these buildings are listed and hence care must be taken to protect the building fabric. With this context in mind, this study identifies the benefits and concerns associated with the application of rooftop solar PV on historic English Churches and evaluates viable technologies currently available. The specific design and procedural requirements have been investigated and the process map of the implementation methodology established and illustrated through a case study of an existing church. Results showed that rooftop solar PV system has the potential to reduce the GHG emissions substantially, ranging between 75 %-84 % for electricity and between 20 %-27 % for gas based on the current demand and the choice of technology option. Findings on the issues, design options and life cycle environmental impacts are analysed with discussion and recommendation of future adaptation at a national level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCentral Europe towards Sustainable Building 2019 (CESB19)
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2019
EventCentral Europe towards Sustainable Buildings - Technical University of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 2 Jul 20194 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
ISSN (Print)1755-1307


ConferenceCentral Europe towards Sustainable Buildings
Abbreviated titleCESB19
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution
of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd


  • English historic churches
  • photovoltaic
  • roof retrofit
  • implementation issues
  • carbon mitigation
  • environmental impact


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