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Last updated 17th June 2024

Climate resilience, carbon net zero and energy saving help for parish leaders

Diocesan Net Carbon Zero Action Plan

At the October 2023 Diocesan Synod, the Diocesan Environmental Officer, Rev Canon Professor John Rodwell, and Rev Carol Backhouse (Vicar at Lancaster Christ Church) shared the Diocesan Net Carbon Zero Action plan produced by Dave Champness (Project Manager) with the Diocesan Net Carbon Zero Steering Group.

The action plan is in response to the October 2022 motion that required the Diocesan Board of Finance: 

•To set up a Net Zero Task Force
•To produce a road map/action plan to 2030 Net Zero
•Establishing projects with specific targets and technologies and a strategy for resourcing
•Working with every church and property towards decarbonisation plans for its building

You can read the comprehensive action plan here

Climate resilience workshops and advice

As well as being good for the environment, being aware of your resilience in relation to climate change can also save money in the long term.

This is all useful as we work together towards becoming a carbon net zero diocese as part of wider Church of England aims to be carbon net zero by 2030.

We have gathered together some webinars and advice to engage with. 

Here are some ways you can find out more ... 

  • The Church of England has a webpage of advice on Climate Resilience with guidance and links to webinars. 
  • Speak to your local 'Resilience Team'; the local authority, the water company, and the Environment Agency. Your Inspecting Architect or Surveyor can also offer advice. 
  • Historic England has advice on preventing flooding here

Energy saving webinar on ‘quick wins’ 

We want to highlight a webinar that tells you where to start if you want to reduce the amount of energy (electricity, gas and oil) that your church uses. 

It includes practical steps like setting boiler/heating controls correctly, DIY draught-proofing, timers, water saving, procurement of energy and energy bills and basic housekeeping measures. All simple steps that don’t cost the earth.

Speakers are Matt Fulford from Inspired Efficiency and Annie Rey, Marketing Manager at Parish Buying.  

The video can be viewed here.  

Helpful tips and advice

Any questions? Email 

Heat the person not the building! 

For churches that are only used for services on Sundays or mid-week, it is more cost effective to heat the person rather than spend money on fuel getting a cold church up to temperature.

This could range from initially expensive options such as pew heaters or cheaper options such as rechargeable heated pew cushions

Lighting the way to cheaper fuel bills 

Changing light fittings to LED will save money on electricity bills, as will fitting sensors so that lights only switch on where needed. More advice here

Be vigilant with your security

As the rise in the cost of living hits home, it’s important not to incur unnecessary costs at this time.

So make sure you remain vigilant with your security measures as the nights draw in. As every place of worship and its location is unique, a tailored assessment and response, reflecting the individual risks faced should be undertaken.

Ecclesiastical Insurance has provided some simple steps here to help you develop your response in the event of an incident. 

Are you paying too much for energy? 

Use the bulk buying power of the Church to obtain competitive prices for your gas and electricity and check your bills and meters, you could be paying too much. 

Parish Resourcing’s energy basket has negotiated a twelve-month fixed rate which could save your church money on fuel bills, plus it’s 100% green energy, making that step to net-zero more achievable. See here for more details. 

Check on winter energy bills to make sure that you are not paying more than 5% VAT. Most churches should be paying just 5% and NO Climate Change Levy. The exceptions will be churches who hire their premises out commercially. Check any Feed in Tariff (FiT) charge on your bills is correct. 

Regularly check your readings, and look for patterns; is something being left on which shouldn’t be on overnight, or when the church is empty?

Smart meters can provide detailed use information to analyse where there may be patterns of unexpected use. If you don’t have one, speak to your energy company. 

Solar panels 

Installing solar panels can be expensive but with today’s energy prices, the cost can be recouped within six years.

Click here for a webinar on solar panels for churches.

Unlisted churches can have solar panels fitted with List B permission from the archdeacon. Listed churches will need faculty permission; see here for guidance. 

Maintain now, save later!

Good maintenance, such as gutter clearance, mending leaky pipes or replacing broken guttering and down pipes will prevent the church from getting damp and reduce energy bills.

Damp = cold = higher heating costs 

And remember to service the boiler and bleed the radiators to ensure your heating system is as energy efficient as possible. 

John Rodwell explores Heaven in the ordinary of parish life

'The Tissue of his Kingdom' is a new book by John Rodwell, Diocesan Environmental Officer and a priest of our diocese, celebrating the presence of God in the ordinariness of our human lives.

The book tells of the power and tenderness of God’s desire that we should find him waiting in our everyday experience, at work or play, in the highs and lows, among our laughter and our tears.

Listening to the heartbeat of human experience, the book assures us that our mundane predicament is not the end of the story, that the stuff of our being, any person’s being, can bear the weight and glory of the divine.

The 28 reflections run from Advent through to Creation-tide, the scriptures providing a frame within which our own experiences can be set.

You can see John in conversation with Fr George Guiver of the Community of the Resurrection, who have published this book, here on YouTube and buy a copy from the Mirfield Bookshop here.




Ronnie Semley, page created on November 1, 2022 last updated October 2023


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