Church Cuts Heating Bills by over 50%

Description: Replacement of heating system in 1920’s Church

Client: St Hildas, Church of England, Old Trafford, Manchester

Heating System: 40Kw Atag Boiler (Supplied & Fitted by PH Plumbing, Manchester)

ThermaSkirt Profile: Deco BM2 & BM3 EC (Installed by St Hildas Parishioners & Rev. Malkin)


St Hildas Church, Warwick Rd, Old Trafford Was built in the 1920’s

The Challenge

Heating large, open and poorly insulated spaces is a challenge and a huge drain on resources for any institution, and this is especially true of Churches.

With smaller congregations, and fewer services, the intermittent nature of the heat load makes it especially difficult to create a warm and inviting environment to ensure those attending are kept cosy during their time in Church. With escalating fuel costs, it became apparent that the current heating system consisting of a large central gas boiler, coupled to an array of conventional radiators and air blowers was totally inefficient.

The Rector of St Hildas’, Reverend Ross Malkin explained;

“We were seeing fuel costs of nearly £40,000 per annum, and yet we were still receiving comments about how cold the Church was, which was unsettling for our largely elderly congregation. We briefly considered switching to a renewable heat source such as a heat pump, but being already on gas, this wasn’t really a cost saving solution. Instead, we decided to upgrade to a new boiler & see if we could change the radiators for something more suited to our circumstances.”

The Solution

It has long been recognised that radiant heat, as opposed to convected heat, is a far more targeted and efficient way of heating larger open spaces. Many of us will have sat outside a bar or restaurant and been pleasantly heated by the gas or electric patio heaters. Some of us will have been fortunate enough to have been skiing, and despite air temperatures of -5°C and below, have had to take precautions against sun burn, so powerful is the infra-red radiant heat of the sun on a bright clear day.

Infra red radiant heat warms objects and people far more effectively than by warming the air around them and so by searching “radiant church heating” Reverend Malkin came across ThermaSkirt.

Manufactured in the UK by DiscreteHeat Ltd, ThermaSkirt is a radiant heating system that is designed to replicate a skirting board profile. Made from aluminum, the warm water from the primary heat source passes through integral tubes on the back of the profile. The front face then heats up and radiates heat - usually from a low level all around the room. Alternatively, the electric Skirting version is heated by a specially developed heating cable that will not over heat, even if covered over by blankets, clothing etc.

Reverend Malkin continues

“We have our own in-house maintenance ability, comprising several parishioners and myself. Having reviewed the online ThermaSkirt videos and tutorials, we decided that whilst we needed a Gas Safe installer to fit the boiler, we had the necessary skills ourselves to install the ThermaSkirt”


ThermaSkirt was not only installed at high level at the eves, but also colour matched to the steps to the alter

The Result

Working with DiscreteHeat Sales Support, Reverend Malkin and his team were able to configure the design and layout of the ThermaSkirt, and the most effective way to install it. Using not only the walls around the perimeter, ThermaSkirt was also installed on the steps up to the alter, at the eaves pointing down on the congregation and even in the alter itself!
As well as the large open church itself, the ‘EasyClean’ version of ThermaSkirt was installed in several annex and meeting rooms. Despite not having any formal training by DiscreteHeat, the Reverend and his ‘makers’ were able to install and commission the system themselves to an exceptionally high standard

Being ‘above ground’ ThermaSkirt works with any floor construction or finish; tile, laminate, carpet or wood and of course can often use the existing radiator pipeworks or storage radiator electrics.

In this instance, the ThermaSkirt connected back to a multi-way manifold (as per underfloor heating) and controlled by 3 zone thermostats, although it can also be zoned and controlled like a traditional radiator system with TRV valves or localized 2 port valves.


Even the alter was heated from within by several rows of ThermaSkirt

To everyones mild surpise, the system is proving a great success. Originally intended to ‘take the chill off’, the system is proving remakably effctive and just as importantly, much more energy efficient to run. By heating the congregation rather than the air around them, the system can be on for much shorter periods to conicide with the occupancy patterns.

As a result, the system is using approximately 40% less fuel than the previous system. Understandably, Reverend Malkin is a big fan of the ThermaSkirt system;

“We are delighted with the performance and efficiency of the ThermaSkirt system, and just as importantly; how it looks. We have been able to disguise the system to blend in with the architecture of the Church so it hasn’t harmed the asethetics, but it has significantly reduced our running costs and improved the comfort levels for our parishioners”.

As a result, the installation is being fetaured in dispatches to other Churches and Diocese, as the Church sees a huge potential to retrofit ThermaSkirt in the many older places of worship andf Rectorys all over the UK.

UPDATE: According to Reverend Ross, as a result of all the improvements, the gas bill has been reduced by more than half.


As well as the main Church, several annexe and meeting rooms were also installed


DiscreteHeat Company Limited
1 Victoria Works Industrial Estate
Coal Pit Lane, Atherton
Manchester, M46 0FY

 01942 88 00 60

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