Towards "Net Zero Carbon" : Case studies

Here are some practical examples of what churches around the country have done to cut their energy use and work towards "net zero carbon". 


(1) Getting to Net Zero at St Michel's Church, Baddesley [Parish newsletter]

This parish church have achieved net zero carbon by updating their heating with a modern electric system, switching to 100% renewables, and then calculating their travel emissions and offsetting them.

Read their parish newsletter here.  


(2) Electric heating at St Mary's Church Chalgrove [official CCB Case Study]

This grade 1 listed rural church has fully electric heating; far-infra-red radiant panel heaters on the nave roof and aisle ceilings, and electric pew heaters in the chancel. 

Read the CCB Case Study here. 


(3) Solar panels at St Augustine's, Highbury [External case study]

This well-used, Victorian church in a conservation area in Islington installed solar panels on their chancel roof, as part of a package of energy efficiency measures.  

Read their experience here, in a case study written by their grant funder Cloudesley.   


(4) St James' Piccadilly tackle their energy use on their journey to Gold Eco Church [Church publication]

St James' Piccadilly is one of England first Gold Eco Churches.  Their slidehow illustrates the journey to this prestigious award, including how they cut their energy use and offset the residue.

Flick through their online slideshow here.   


(5) Britain's first zero carbon church? St Michaels and All Angels, Withington [conference talk and case study]

St Michael's Withington can claim to be the first zero carbon church in the country, after a project a few years ago cut their energy use, installed new heating, and put solar panels on the roof.

The project lead, Matt Fulford, spoke at the 2020 DAC/DEO Conference. You can watch his talk here and download the slides.    

Fitting the panels to the metal roof required an innovative fixing system, and you can read the case study here.


The solar panes are being fixed to the roof.


(6) Heated pew cushions at Holy Trinity Church in Whitfield, Northumberland [article from the HRBA]

Holy Trinity Church, Whitfield have a simple but effective solution to keeping the congregation comfortable; heated pew cushions.  By directing heat to where people are sitting, rather than heating the whole space, this has proven to be an efficient use of electricity plus the congregation are happy.  In combination with purchasing renewable 'green' electricity, it's cuts their carbon footprint.     

Read this article from the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance about the heated cushions.  

These cushions plug in and offer gentle heat to the person sitting on them.
Photograph courtesy of KovoSchmidt Ltd


(7) St Andrew's, Chedworth moves away from oil heating to fully electric [official CCB case study]

St Andrew's Chedworth have installed a combination of electric pew, panel and overhead heating, allowing them to move away from oil-fired heating to fully electric heating.  In combination with a switch to 100% renewable electricity, the church is now “net zero carbon”.

Three phase power needed to be installed, but this did not prove to be a barrier.  Operating costs are now lower, and church users are more comfortable.

Read our case study here

St Andrew's Chedworth has installed all electric pew, chandelier, and panel heaters.


(8) Bath Abbey moves away from oil heating to fully electric [CofE press release]

As part of their major building project, Bath Abbey is being heated from the naturally occurring underwater hot springs.   

Read the press release here.


(9) Portsmouth Cathedral cuts the energy use of Cathedral House [CCB case study]

This case study shows how Portsmouth Cathedral have taken systematic steps to reduce the energy use at their Cathedral House building, installed micro-CHP heating equipment, solar panels, and new energy-efficient lighting.  The works are planned as investments which will repay over time.   

Read our case study here.


(10) Blackburn school installs heat pumps under the playing fields [CofE press release]

A Church of England primary school has substantially reduced carbon emissions by installing a heat pump below its playing field. 

To fit the ground source heat pump, The Parish of St Laurence C of E Primary School in Chorley, Lancashire, had to install 4,500 metres of piping under its playing field, and drill seven bore holes to a depth of 150m.  

Alongside the heating improvements, all lighting throughout the building has also been converted to more efficient LED bulbs, and solar panels have been added to the roof. Steps have also been taken to make the building more airtight, reducing draughts and heat loss.

Read the full story here.


We'd love to know about your project, so please get in touch if you are proud of what you've achieved locally and think others could learn from it