Turning off the Cathedral Floodlights

Turn off that light! … well, the cathedral floodlights to be precise.

From the end of January, the cathedral floodlights will be switched off. Although the system has not worked fully for some time, the decision to cease floodlighting the cathedral has been taken more on environmental grounds than on the grounds of the costs of either repairs or continued use. Like all churches and cathedrals, Truro Cathedral has been challenged by the Church of England nationally to reduce our carbon footprint to zero by the year 2030. Whilst caring for God’s Creation certainly involves working to increase biodiversity and reducing pollution and waste, there is no question that the biggest contribution that any of us makes to the destruction of the earth’s biosphere, is the amount of carbon we put into the atmosphere through the activities of our daily living. Driving our cars and heating our homes are two of the biggest contributors to the carbon footprint of individuals and, for institutions and organisations, power use and heating of offices are similarly substantial. At Truro Cathedral we are currently collating the energy-use data that will inform our carbon reduction measures in the future, but for the present, it makes sense to start as we mean to go on – by phasing out energy use in whatever ways we can. Turning off the floodlights will, of course, also save us money which will be welcome as energy prices rise in the near future and will serve us well elsewhere in our operations.

According to my rough calculations, the cathedral floodlights as currently used, emit roughly 2 tonnes of CO2e per year. For comparison, this is roughly half the amount of carbon emitted by the average car as used by most people in the UK. Like most of these calculations, these figures are estimates rather than accurate measures, but even so, it is evident that this decision gives us a worthwhile start on our Cathedral’s journey towards reducing our carbon footprint to zero.

Canon Elly Sheard
Canon for Creation Care