One year on: Church moves forward on carbon reduction target

18th February 2021

The first findings from a nationwide study to capture carbon impacts in the Church of England have been published, a year on from a vote committing the Church to net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) tool is a simple dashboard which has been piloted by churches keen to reduce their carbon footprint.

Data in the report reveal:

  • Five per cent of churches sampled were already net-zero carbon.
  • A 12.5 per cent carbon reduction has already been made across the country, when compared with a comparative, although smaller, 2006 study.
  • The estimated total net carbon footprint for the Church of England’s church buildings (based on energy use alone) is around 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases, measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or tCO2e.

See the full data (pdf)

The tool, launched in January 2020, provides advice to parishes who have entered their data about how to take further steps and an appliance-style energy rating showing how the church compares to others of a similar size.

The report suggests there is still significant scope for churches to install cleaner technologies to reduce their carbon impacts with just one per cent of churches presently having installed solar panels. The study also found that if all churches switched to a renewable electricity tariff, the estimated total net carbon footprint for church buildings would be 22 per cent smaller.

The lead bishop for the environment, Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury welcomed the commitment shown by churches across England who have used the tool.

He said: “Committing the Church of England to become net-zero by 2030 has emphasised the urgency of the climate crisis. It has inspired us all to pick up the pace in the care of God’s creation.

“There has been a magnificent response already, but it is sobering to realise how much more is needed. The Energy Footprint Tool, good advice and some excellent case studies are available to stimulate, encourage and help.

“We need to be working at this in every Church community – churches, chaplaincies, schools, homes and offices - as we move towards our 2030 target for the sake of the world God loves.”