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Hot cushions to keep worshippers warm

Posted on: November 8, 2013 1:27 PM
Environment officer, Martyn Goss with his hot bott cushion
Photo Credit: Diocese of Exeter
Related Categories: England, Exeter

[Diocese of Exeter] Two churches in Devon are piloting hot cushions to keep worshippers warm during services during the winter.

The re-usable, portable ‘hot-bott’ cushion will be used from today (Sunday 3 Nov) in churches in Broadclyst and South Tawton.

Each church has been given 50 cushions to trial, with the aim of keeping worshippers warm and comfortable during services.

The pilot is part of the Diocese of Exeter’s ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign to reduce carbon emissions. The Church of England in Devon is exploring a variety of new and efficient heating systems for church buildings. Three quarters of the more than 600 churches in Devon are listed buildings, and many are very old and large and difficult to heat.

The cushion contains a chemically-triggered re-heatable pad which remains warm for up to 90 minutes and can be held or sat on in a church pew or seat. The pad is later boiled in water for five minutes for future use and can be re-heated up to a thousand times. The pack is biodegradable at the end of its life.

The scheme is being piloted in two locations – Broadclyst and South Tawton on North Dartmoor for three month period from 3rd November 2013 to 26th January 2014. Both churches struggle with heating and keeping out the damp. During the pilot, churchgoers will be encouraged to test the cushions and, if successful, the project may be rolled out across Devon.

Diocesan Environment Officer Martyn Goss said, "This is a technology which has been designed for outdoor use in sports stadiums in Scotland, but we think it could have a lot of potential for church use in Devon where heating buildings can be expensive and inefficient."

Churches using the cushions should be able to save energy and on their electricity bills.