As a Church, we have a target to meet net carbon zero by 2030. We are therefore developing a number of tools to monitor how we are progressing towards this target.
Last year we introduced the first of these tools – the Energy Footprint Tool, which measures the energy carbon use of churches.
We have taken on board feedback from churches from the first year of running the tool and are now launching the tool to collect your energy usage in 2020.
The easy-to-use Energy Footprint Tool will tell your church what your "carbon footprint" is, based on the energy you use to heat and light your buildings.
You can find it on the Online Parish Returns System.
Nationally, it helps us know our carbon baseline - where we are starting from - and how much progress we are making. Over 4,000 churches entered their information last year, allowing us to estimate that for 2019 the carbon footprint for the Church of England’s church buildings was around 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases (tCO2e).
You can read more about what we have learned from the first year in this report.
The EFT reopens on 30th March 2021 for the entry of 2020 utility bills.
It is available to all Church of England churches using the Online Parish Returns System. (St Albans churches can use an equivalent system that connects, contact your DAC.)
To find out how it works, there is more information below, and you can also watch a short instructional video, created by the Diocese of Manchester.
The system uses the information we already hold about your church to populate your answers.
This means churches will only be asked for a small amount of additional information. You will need to have the whole of last year's electricity and gas/oil bills.
The Energy Footprint Tool will tell your church the amount of carbon produced annually by heating and lighting your church buildings. There are two useful graphs that show you your efficiency scores: one for energy efficiency based on building size and one for attendance. It can take account of separate buildings such as church halls, as long as you have the utility bills for them.
You will need your utility bills for 2020; electricity, gas, oil, or whichever other fuel you use. If you have solar panels, information on their generation over 2020.
If you want to include a separate church hall or other building, then you need the bills for this too. If you want to exclude an area which is permanently rented out to tenants and sub-metered, you will want this information to hand.
For most churches, we already know the floor area. If we don't already hold this information, you will need a sensible estimate of the m2 floor area of the church, and any other associated buildings you are inputting, such as the church hall.
You will also need a sensible estimate of the number of person-hours that the church is used throughout the year. Please remember when entering this data that a good estimate is fine – these numbers do not need to be 100% accurate, and long as they are in a relevant ball park.
You may think that in 2020 our churches were closed for many weeks, so energy use was not normal, so why collect this information? We can assure you that entering your energy usage for 2020 will be useful for you and for the national church.
Inside the tool we have built a special adjustment for the time spent in lockdown, which will mean firstly, a sensible comparison for the efficiency of your church’s energy consumption compared with your data from 2019, and also gives us a way to make sensible comparisons in future years. We really would appreciate you completing your Energy footprint tool for 2020.
The tool also offers some helpful tips to reduce your carbon emissions. Using the tool each year will help you to track the impact of the different steps you are taking to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can use the Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon to plan your action, and our Net Zero Carbon church webpage to get informer. Refer to our net-zero carbon webinar programme and see how Parish Buying can support you.
The Energy Footprint Tool was created by the Church of England Research and Statistics Team in response to the call from General Synod in Feb 2019 to be able to measure the carbon footprint of the Church. It is a key step towards meeting our goal to cut our emissions and play our role in responding to the climate crisis.
If you would like to know more, please get in touch with Sam Nunney from Research and Statistics. [email protected]