Cowley Group provide heating for churches and historic buildings

Heating makes up over 80% of a buildings energy use and carbon foot. It costs a lot of money to run, maintain and replace so it is important that its done right. There are many options to consider when it comes to heating churches and historic buildings. The fabric of the building must be given very careful consideration particularly where buildings are listed and part of our heritage.

Heat Losses

Heat losses are the main reason heating churches and historic buildings is such a challenge. Stone walls, lack of insulation and single glaze windows can lead to a very significant heat loss. Whilst it is a good idea to improve heat losses where you can, it is advisable to have a building surveyor with experience in historic buildings to assist. It can sometimes be a very expensive way of causing more damage than good. For example, adding insulation to an older external wall that was originally designed to be breathable can cause moisture to be trapped inside leading to serious damp issues.

Heat Source

Their are a number of different heat sources available. The most commonly installed in the UK is a gas or oil boiler, depending on whether your building is on the gas network. However there are an increasing number of renewable options becoming popular such as heat pumps and electric boilers. You can find out more about this here.

Heat Emitters


Radiators have been a common choice of heat emitter in churches and historic buildings for many years due to their simplicity and reliability. Their are also many different options and styles available making it very easy for the heating system to remain in keeping with the building. Their are also many low surface temperature options available now which is an important consideration as many churches are rented out to preschool groups and it is a requirement that radiators are safe for children to touch without burning themselves.

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating whether its a wet system or an electric system can be a cost effective way to heat a church. its also capable of working well at a low flow temperature which means that its compatible with heat pumps. Its not always a viable option however as installing retrospectively will inevitably mean replacing the floor. It also has a very slow response time and works best when kept on most of the time. So if your church is only heated for a few hours a week then something with a faster response time may be better suited.

Fan Convectors

These have been a good solution for churches for years as they have very high outputs yet take up little wall space. they are essentially a heat coil with a fan that blows the heat out into the room making them perfect for large open spaces as they dissipate the heat more evenly. their main downfall is that the fans do create a noise. They must be selected carefully to ensure that they can keep the church warm on a low speed and the high speed is only needed to heat the area up quickly from cold.

Infrared Heaters

Like under pew heaters these heat the congregation and not the fabric of the church. They are also have very fast response times which makes them very efficient if the building is used intermittently. However they can be very unsightly  as big orange lights dotted around the place and the heat is very direct meaning that the person closest could be far too hot someone a meter away has no heat at all.

Commercial boilers and heat pumps for churches and historic buildings

We provide heating in Churches and Historic Buildings in Surrey, Sussex, London and Kent

Contact us to find out more: