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Carbon Net Zero

Carbon Net Zero


The Church of England has committed to work towards net zero carbon after a motion by General Synod. Our target date is 2030.

This is because we know emissions of carbon dioxide - and other green house gases, need to be reduced to arrest the damage we are doing to the planet. They are currently rising and are above the target for carbon dioxide 350 parts per million (ppm) at 420ppm [June 2022].

To do this we have to rethink how we operate our buildings.

Six principles are to: -

1) maintain buildings, 

2) buy renewable, 

3) waste less, 

4) electric not gas/oil, 

5) generate more, 

6) offset the rest.



How is Net Zero measured?

Energy use (oil, gas, electricity) + fuel (travel)= gross carbon footprint.

From that value we takeaway 100% renewable energy and carbon offset/sequestration.

This calculation gives us ‘net zero’ carbon figure.


Which energy providers count as renewable?

>> View this list issued by the Church of England

A fuller and more technical explanation, resources and film are available



Renewable energy generation

Generating our own electricity is a solution that should be seriously considered. The aim of the recent The way finder project is a pilot study looking at high energy use buildings and how to get them to net zero. It has advice for people responsible for all sizes of building.  

Net zero webinars - include the Wayfinder project [this is a pilot of renewables on a range of Cof E buildings and plans for net zero on these premises, commissioned by General Synod], heating, lighting, solar panels, EV car charging, and more.

They are available as a single YouTube playlist here.

Many of our buildings can be used more sustainably by adjusting in ways that are simpler. There are case studies and guidance available.

There are renewables case studies and you can search for local churches with existing renewables on the renewables map .

If your church is considering replacing a boiler and want to review  renewable options, please consult Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) colleagues as you deliberate.

>> CofE sustainable buildings national guidance

Smaller churches might also like to see a film from a group of rural churches in Leeds Diocese. Link: https://youtu.be/13LF_waQFpU   



Practical path to net zero

The practical path to Net Zero is a two page checklist and a great place to start.

Download the Practical Path to Net Zero here.


The Energy Footprint Tool or EFT

Measure your parish carbon footprint now to set a baseline measurement. This can be done simply using the parish return system, the resource from the Church of England. Go to your where you add your normal Stats for Mission return or see Energy Footprint Tool | The Church of England. This is currently closed for analysis and will be live from January 2023 to end of July 2023.

To measure your personal energy footprint see: WWF Footprint Calculator The UK average is just over 12 and to meet our target to get to net zero by 2045 10.5. We aim to reduce this towards a fair share globally which would be 1 tonne which would require a huge change of current infrastructures.


Carbon Literacy

Although embedded carbon footprint isn’t current measured, we need to know about it. A very rough guide it is related to cost, so make large expenditure decisions slower and research them thoughtfully.

This autumn 2022, we intend to increase Carbon Literacy amongst the Diocese of Derby leadership. This is externally accredited training.

Resources are available at: Home - Centre for Alternative Technology (cat.org.uk) and Homepage - Climate Stewards



Climate Stewards is one place you can use to calculate offset to get to net zero carbon.

Link to Climate Stewards: Homepage - Climate Stewards

The advice is to keep the percentage of offset as low as you possibly can. If you have got to Net Zero Carbon this should become your target.


Action Packs 

Routemap Net zero carbon routemap  now has specific tools for different organisations:


Where to get help locally

John Beardmore, is an engineer and adviser on renewables for the DAC email John. 



>> Parish Resources

>> Diocese of Derby funding resources


Map of renewables CoEngland.

Please add your example to the map. The CofE is seeking renewables, transport and community engagement case studies from this area. 

Last modified on Monday, 13 May 2024 14:13

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