Carbon Footprint, Energy & Buildings

As a faithful response to the climate crisis, the Diocese of Newcastle is aiming to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. One of the major causes of climate change is carbon dioxide emissions, which act as a greenhouse gas, trapping the heat of the sun. ‘Net zero’ carbon means carbon emissions which are eliminated/balanced with the use of renewables and carbon removal.

Below you can find resources for how your church can play a part in the Church of England’s aim to become carbon neutral:

Where can you start?
 

Calculate your church emissions

  • The Energy Footprint Tool is part of the Church of England
    online Parish Returns System. Clergy and Church Treasurers complete this each year with information about the energy use of the church, using the church’s electricity and gas/oil bills. The tool calculates your churches’ carbon emissions from energy use and gives a carbon emissions (CO2) rating. This year the deadline for submissions of the Energy Footprint Tool is 31 August 2021.
  • 360°carbon try this carbon calculator if you would like to calculate your church’s greenhouse gas emissions in more detail, to include other aspects of your mission and worship such as travel, food and waste.

Practical Path to Net Zero for Church Buildings

This short guide has been developed by the Church of England based on information from energy audits of churches. The Practical Path to Net Zero for Church Buildings, sets out where most churches should start, and more advanced projects for churches who use more energy.

Housekeeping & Quick Wins for saving energy in your church

For some energy-saving tips that are quick and easy to implement which you can start to do in the next few weeks and months, take a look at this list compiled from the webinar presented by Matt Fulford from Inspired Efficiency, sustainability advisor at Gloucester Diocese, for the Church of England National Environment Programme Carbon Net Zero webinar programme. You can watch the full training session online here.


Inspiration and Training
 

Get inspired

The Church of England has collected some case studies of churches that have achieved net zero carbon for you to read other churches’ experiences. Take a look at our Worship and Prayer page for further ideas on how to engage your community and your congregation to tackle climate change.

Net Zero Carbon Church webinars

To equip churches in the journey towards net zero the Church of England Environment Programme have put on a series of webinars on low carbon technologies, these are “technical webinars for non-technical people”. The webinars are free to attend but require you to register in advance. To catch up on any past webinars, covering topics from solar panels to electric vehicle charging, recordings are available at ChurchCare on Youtube.

Net Zero Carbon Church

Every church building is unique and some changes are quick and easy, but other changes require consideration for what will work in your building, and potentially fundraising or planning. Have a look at these diagrams to see the types of changes your church could make to reduce your carbon emissions:

Outside of the church

Inside the church

For more information see the Church of England’s Net Zero Carbon Church webpage.
 


 

Energy audit

You could start by conducting a simple energy audit yourself using A practical path to “net zero carbon”  a short guidance note from the Church of England. It highlights the most common recommendations for churches and sets out clear principles for action.

To go further you may want to deploy a professional energy surveyor.

You can apply for an energy survey with the Parish Buying, who annually offer a limited number of subsidised surveys. The usual cost of an audit is £445 (+ VAT). 

Or, you can of course seek a local energy auditor to conduct a survey for you. Make sure that they have appropriate experience of historic buildings.

Switch to a renewable tariff

This is the simplest thing you can do to cut your net carbon footprint. Switch to 100% renewable electricity, for example through Parish Buying’s energy basket. Whilst this does not reduce the energy you use, it means it comes from a cleaner source.

Parish Buying for Net Zero 2030

Parish Buying has launched Parish Buying - Net Zero 2030 developing a suite of net zero solutions that will be rolled out during the course of 2021. These include pilot solutions replacing conventional utility sources with ‘green’ alternatives and approved supplier products for everyday use.


Guidance and Funding
 

National Guidance on Energy & Church Buildings

For specific guidance on aspects of your church building, search online on Church Care.

Sustainable Church Buildings

You probably already do a lot to maintain your church building - try to think about how you can incorporate into your existing maintenance choices that are good for the environment.

For more information on maintaining and reordering your church building to be more sustainable:

Funding

The Parish Resources website has compiled a national list of charitable grants for churches (scroll down to number 4), this is regularly updated and includes available funding from different organisations. It has a section of grants specifically for environmental projects.

Parish Buying have also put together a collection of funding options that provide support to faith organisations and organisations that are looking to reduce their carbon footprint: Parish Buying Net Zero - Financial Assistance

As well as looking at national funders, you should also keep an eye out for any grant funding that is available locally, please see the Generous Giving Fundraising page.

 


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