Reducing emissions from schools

Children running towards a school building

Net Zero Carbon by 2030

Reducing emissions from schools

By 2030, the buildings of the Church of England will be bright and welcoming, consuming much less energy and emitting less carbon than they do now. And that will be good for the people who use the buildings, and good for the whole of creation.

So how can we reduce the emissions of schools to less than 10 per cent of baseline levels? Our Routemap to Net Zero Carbon by 2030 breaks down the journey into milestones to be completed by a particular year, taking it step by step with some easy wins now while laying the groundwork for long-term, more expensive investments that high-carbon emitting buildings will need to make after 2025.


By the end of 2022

  • Establish an execution plan at school and at Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) levels.
  • Diocesan Boards of Education will promote the Energy Toolkit and schools will commence data collection from DEC reports and utility bills and enter into the Energy Toolkit for schools.
  • It is suggested that Diocesan officers connect regionally to build capacity and support through the establishment of ‘Regional School Environment Groups’.

By the end of 2023

  • Dioceses are to identify school sites that have boilers approaching end-of-life and support schools through funding feasibility to identify opportunities for a more sustainable solution, committing not to replacing with like-for-like fossil fuel powered options.
  • DBEs will prioritise seeking public funding to commission energy audits and Heat Decarbonisation Plans to secure sustainable heating solutions in line with the 2030 target.
  • DBEs are to identify local opportunities through BEIS and the DfE School Procurement Frameworks to deliver smart meter installations across all school sites.
  • Where applicable, schools and DBEs are encouraged to develop or update a Travel Plan that includes ‘no travel’ options and the installation of EV charging points.

By the end of 2024

  • Revise your Climate Action Plans to include an Execution Plan that is developed using site energy audits and will include areas such as funding, vision and strategy, delivery method and programme.
  • Where applicable, schools to review and update travel and expenses policies to encourage sustainable transport.

By the end of 2025

  • All schools are encouraged to work with their procurement provider, and the DfE Schools Commercial Team, to switch to green energy tariffs at point of contract renewal.

    Timing of this milestone to be kept under review, depending on stabilisation of the energy markets and / or government action.

By the end of 2026

  • Revise your Climate Action Plan to include Heat Decarbonisation Plans.

By the end of 2030

  • Complete delivery of the actions in these plans (subject to funding).
St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School, Chedworth


For the Church of England, being net zero carbon means that the carbon emissions of our buildings and travel will be reduced to less than 10 per cent of our baseline levels. The remaining emissions will be offset in verified schemes that reduce carbon. That means overall, our buildings and travel will not contribute to rising carbon emissions: their contribution will be ‘net zero’.

Responding to the climate crisis is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation and achieve a just world.

Climate change hits hardest on the poorest countries and poorest people of the world. Meanwhile, the widespread destruction of the natural world is a crisis for creation.

Tackling climate change also supports our local mission. It witnesses to our communities that we are people who care about climate justice, now and for the future. Also, many of the steps needed to reduce energy use will make our buildings warmer and more welcoming, so they are suitable to be used more often by more people, and can save us money on our running costs

To find out more about the background to the Routemap, other actions that you could consider, and the support that is available to you, please download the Resources document by clicking on the link below.

Download the Resource for Schools

Tackling our carbon emissions

More resources