Climate Change and our Carbon Footprint



Climate emergency
Measuring your carbon footprint
Offsetting your carbon footprint
Generating renewable energy for churches
Energy Audits and Parish Buying
Resources for church buildings from the CofE
The impact of coal
The impact of the forestry industry


Are your panels ethically sourced?

Bearing in mind the recent BBC article on solar panels linked to claims of forced labour in China please check that you source your panels from manufacturers that have signed up to the Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The Energy Footprint Tool

The EFT allows your church to calculate the carbon footprint of your energy use. It shows both 'gross' and 'net' carbon footprint. The gros figure represents all the energy you have used. The net figure deducts any electricity or gac which is either generated on-site or puchased from a green tariff meeting certain criteria.

The list of companies meeting these criteria in January 2023 is reviewed annually. To see the companies which are deemed to have met these criteria in 2022, see here (a pdf on the Diocese of Coventry files).

What is the Diocese doing about Climate Change

Read Helen Groocock'sreport at

Church of England Routemap to Net Zero Carbon

The Church of England now has dedicated Routemap webpages for each stakeholder group – cathedrals, churches, dioceses, schools and TEIs.  Each page contains a dedicated document - an Introduction and Milestones for … which is a summary of the Routemap and the milestones for that stakeholder group rewritten into easier to understand text.  The document concludes with pointers for where there is further help and information.

These pages can be accessed from the Routemap page Net zero carbon routemap or directly as follows:

These have been designed as digital resources, but can be printed double-sided as necessary

Church Investment in Climate Solutions: a paper by Operation Noah. The Bishop of St Germans in the Diocese of Truro, Rt Revd Hugh Nelson writes: ‘The choices we make about finance and investment both describe and shape the future we want to see. If the Church is serious about cherishing creation and getting to net zero, we need to align our finances to that goal. This report is an important and practical encouragement towards that alignment.’


Does your church want to know it's carbon footprint? Find out how, and why it's important.
Tuesday 24th January,12:00-13:00, BOOK HERE

Where to start, if you want to create a net zero carbon action plan for your diocese, church, school, or other organisation.
Thursday 2nd February,12:00-13:00, BOOK HERE

Sharing resources and examples to help you know where to start and how to plan to reach net zero carbon with your church.
Two dates:
Tuesday 28th February,16:00-17:00, BOOK HERE
Thursday 2nd March12:00-13:00, BOOK HERE

NEW! Use this Practical Path to Net Zero checklist to help your church to achieve its Net Zero Carbon 2030 target.

The Church of England will be supported in its ambitious aim of achieving net-zero carbon by 2030 through a new partnership with the Durham Energy Institute (DEI). Church of England to partner with Durham University in new project to support decarbonisation | The Church of England

'The country's greenest parsonages: Warm, cheap if a little noisy.' To read, click here.


Following the launch of the Church of England Net Zero Carbon Routemap this is the first joint update from the CofE Environment Programme and RAFT about Net Zero Schools. Welcome to RAFT (The Retrofit Action For Tomorrow Team). The following is from their first newsletter to Schools:

Top Energy Saving Tips for the Autumn

As the heating season begins, this is the time to check over the heating, lighting and ventilation systems in schools.

Some key considerations and easy wins for your schools to implement this term from GEMS (Good Estate Management for Schools):

  1. Get pupils involved in understanding where energy is used and where it could be saved.
  2. Label light switches to make sure only those needed are turned on.
  3. Check temperature controls and timers on heating systems. Check that timers are set to the school's actual hours of use and are set to the right date and time (particularly after the clocks go back on October 30th).
  4. Make sure boilers are serviced at least annually and adjusted for optimum efficiency.

See the full report here.

And a few from us at RAFT:

  1. Reduce thermostats and heating system flow temperature to the lowest level that remains comfortable
  2. Remove obstructions from windows and radiators to make the most of radiant heat.
  3. Fix any leaking gutters as wet walls will lose more heat than dry walls.
  4. Put draught proofing measures in place around doors and windows.
  5. Tidy up insulation in accessible roof spaces to stop heat from escaping.
  6. As suggested by David Ryder (below) - Consider turning off heating in the early afternoon, buildings store heat for a few hours.
  7. Monitor meter readings regularly to understand patterns of energy use. If you have an ASHP look at energy supplied and energy used to track the coefficient of performance over time.
  8. Make sure you understand your Building Management System and how to operate your heating systems.
  9. Don’t forget to sign up to Net Zero Schools UK Climate Change • Let's Go Zero (

More Resources to help lower your carbon footprint and cut costs

Carbon Dioxide Reduction Project Advice: Phil Hemsley, a member of the Church Energy Advisory Network, who coordinated the installation of solar pv panels at St George's Rugby has produced an advice sheet on Carbon Dioxide Reduction

Eco Church resources:  Lower carbon and renewable energy options.

Energy Footprint Tool for use by all CofE ChurchesThis allows you to calculate the energy footprint of your church for the past year.  In 2020, 39% of our churches submitted data alongside Parish Returns. In 2021, 51% looked at the EFT and 43% submitted data for their 2020 energy usage (compared to national average of 31 and 24% respectively and best Diocese figures of 58 and 58% respectively). To help you complete the form, use the Energy Footprint Tool: Instructions ManualChurchwardens and PCCS: To help you fill in your Energy Footprint return, look at this useful training video (10 minutes long): 

Climate Stewards are delighted to announce that their new church carbon footprint calculator is now live. This is a collaborative, web-based tool which enables churches to measure their carbon footprint from different activities – energy, travel, food, waste, water and other expenditure. 360carbon was commissioned by A Rocha UK and the Church of England, based on a pilot project carried out by Leeds Diocese in 2018. 

 The new site is free to use and is designed to work for all church denominations. The Eco Church scheme now asks that churches use 360°carbon to measure their carbon footprint as part of their qualification for an award. 360°carbon has been built in collaboration with the developers of the Anglican church’s Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), so that energy data can easily, and automatically, be shared between the two tools.

Ashden Climate Solutions in Action produce resources for Schools: see their Lets Go Zero Campaign and encourage your loacl school to get involved as part of your Eco Church Global and Community Engagement.

What Does "Net-Zero Emissions" Mean? 6 Common Questions, Answered 

Operation Noah: "We are inviting churches and Christian organisations to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuels and join a global divestment announcement on 18 May. More information can be found on our website:"

Data on Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions: for current and historic emissions data, click hereSoil C sequestration could be a significant greenhouse gas (GHG) removal strategy (Smith et al., 2019); a recent systematic review by Fuss et al. (2018) suggests an annual technical potential of 2–5 Gt CO2/year. What can we do in the Diocese and in Warwickshire to encourage agricultural practices that absorb more atmospheric carbon dioxide?

'Climate Emergency'

Church of England sets 2030 Net Zero carbon target (12th February 2020):

The Church of England’s General Synod has set new targets for all parts of the church to work to become carbon ‘net zero’ by 2030. At its February 2020 meeting, members voted in favour of a revised date encouraging all parts of the Church of England to take action and ramp-up efforts to reduce emissions. For more information, see the document on the Genreal Synod motion.

Look at Bishop Nick Holtam's address to the CofE on Climate Change.

So, what would a zero-carbon church actually look like? Perhaps what comes to mind first is clean energy from solar panels or heat pumps, and low energy lighting and appliances. Efficient heating is also key, aimed at making the people comfortable rather than heating the space. The building fabric is vital too; draughts need to be reduced, and insulation - where feasible and appropriate – installed inside roof voids. There need to be well-maintained gutters, to ensure the church isn’t damp and hard to heat. Church grounds are important too; from EV charging and bike parks, to carbon-capturing trees, and biodiversity boosting plants. The work of DACs is vital in helping churches move towards this vision, in the best way, and balanced with their heritage. Having good advice in these areas is key. (From the DAC Conference Annual Report September 2019, p. 30)

Read the Archbishop's lecture at United Theological College, Bengaluru, on 'Pastoral Care in a Rapidly Changing Society'.

BBC Climate Check for 2020:

See The Lord Mayor's Peace Lecture 2020 given by Professor Sir David King on Climate Change.

Watch this Youtube on simple personal responses to Climate Change: Sarah Newton MP for Truro talks about the 10 Pledges (set up by Luci Isaacson, DEG for Truro) in the House

"I'm only a kid; I can't do anything about climate change, right?"  Is the planet really warming? Is this due to humans?  Canadian climatologist Katherine Hayhoe suggests what you could do in this 17-minute TED talk HERE.

Ethical Investment in a time of Climate Change: see

Dr James Dyke: Why should we care about future generations? Essential YouTube viewing! How the way we live is like a glorified climatic Ponzi scheme at the expense of the grandchildren.

An impassioned plea from Greta Thunberg at the UN: You may find this YouTube clip uncomfortable to watch, but if the young are outraged by our slowness to respond to the climate crisis, how much more should we respond to the call of the Creator, Sustainer and Reconciler of all things (Colossians 1: 15-20)? A call to take our Eco Diocese status seriously. A call to all of our churches to sign up for Eco Church and to care for God's Creation.

Extinction Rebellion may not be everyone's cup of tea and 'rebellion' has a negative connotation throughout the Bible (see Documents: A response to Extinction Rebellion). However, there may sometimes be a call for more radical action and some Christians have been supporting this through Christian Climate Action. Reflect on Acts 5: 27-29 and Romans 13: 1-7.

 The Amazon is burning. How you can help:

Understanding the science of climate change: an excellent 10-minute YouTube resource on the last time the earth had a major warming episode, the 'Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum' presented in a way that is easy to understand at For a more detailed study, read Dorrik Stow (2010) Vanished Ocean.

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Measuring your Carbon Footprint and the CofE Energy Footprint Tool

The Church of England's national energy audit (2011 - 2012) audit helped calculate the average carbon footprint of our national churches by floor area (see Appendix)

Small church (<250m2) = 7 tonnes of CO2;   Medium church (250-649m2) = c.17 tonnes of CO2 *;   Large church (>649m2) = 40 tonnes of CO2   (*e.g. for a 450m2 church)

The 2012 Audit showed that Church of England Schools were responsible for over half the Church of England's carbon footprint.

Reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030 involves measuring what we use annually; to do this, we are using, as part of our Parish Returns, the Church of England Energy Footprinting Tool.   Please make sure that your church completes and returns this data as soon as possible.

For a more detailed and free-of-charge audit, Archdeacon Barry Dugmore has informed Diocese of Coventry PCCs of a scheme run for us by Green Journey ( 

Climate Stewards are delighted to announce that their new church carbon footprint calculator. is now live. This is a collaborative, web-based tool which enables churches to measure their carbon footprint from different activities – energy, travel, food, waste, water and other expenditure. 360carbon was commissioned by A Rocha UK and the Church of England, based on a pilot project carried out by Leeds Diocese in 2018. 360carbon is free to use and is designed to work for all church denominations. It will soon be linked from the Eco Church website so that churches are asked to use it to measure their carbon footprint as part of their qualification for an award.                             

Offsetting your personal carbon footprint

You can estimate how your personal carbon footprint measures up to the 2020 target set by the UK government using this World Wildlife Fund footprint calculatorFor a more comprehensive footprint calculator, visit

Climate Stewards helps you to offset your unavoidable carbon emisions by supporting community forestry, water filter and cookstove projects in Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and Mexico. Click on the website Offset page to calculate your carbon footprint and to find out how to offest it.

Example 1: a small petrol car driven 10,000 miles generates 3 tonnes Carbon Dioxide. To offset the carbon, send £63 to Climate Stewards, which is used to support projects. e.g. to plant trees in southern Mexico or in Ghana, thus capturing carbon and improving biodiversity.

Example 2: Two people, return flight from BHX to Rome economy class. This generates 1.1 tonnes Carbon dioxide. To offset carbon, send £22 to Climate Stewards. (Figures from Climate Stewards website, accessed October 2019)

Act on Energy encourages energy conservation by providing free and impartial advice to householders and small businesses in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Coventry, Solihull and surrounding local areas

Energy Audits and Parish Buying

Green Journey: many parishes will be using Green Journey to do a FREE Energy Audit. Green Journey is a Christian initiative focused on helping PCCs to take a leading role in the good stewardship of God’s creation.  The diocese has no formal partnership with Green Journey but is happy to be working with them to enable them to offer energy audits at no cost to individual parishes or the diocese.  Following a free energy audit, parishes may choose to purchase green energy contracts via Green Journey, allowing them to switch to a green supplier or to find another deal on energy that has also been generated in an environmentally friendly way.  Green Journey are also able to identify where PCCs may be incorrectly paying CCL (Climate Change Levy) or a higher rate of VAT than is necessary for their energy supply, and can assist with rebates.

NB If you plan to have a Green Journey audit, wait till you have had it and received your report before you sign up for a new energy deal. Check the pdf Green Energy Companies and the Energy Footprint Tool (2021) in the Diocesan Files.

GREEN ENERGY:  Has your church switched to a cheaper and 100% green energy supplier yet? Check out Parish Buying; thousands of churches have switched to Parish Buying.  For news about The Big Energy Switch, click to go to our Get Involved page There are other Green Energy deals available, but make sure that theses are truly Green Energy suppliers. See the Renewable Energy Hub.

Parish Buying's Green energy basket :

Parish Buying's LED lighting advice and offer :

The Big Church Switch: The Big Church Switch calls on churches of all denominations to switch to using energy suppliers that only put electricity into the national grid from 100% renewable sources such as solar, wind or waterflow; instead of supplying power generated from fossil fuels. This will save your church money! It will also help reduce carbon emissions, vital as we are still on course to exceed the global emissions target temperature of a 2 degrees C increase with all the increased climate instability associated with that. Help meet your Eco Church Buildings target!

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Resources for Church Buildings from the CofE

Renewable energy systems are becoming more and more common and affordable. Before you embark on a project, visit the Church of England Renewable Energy website at:

   Briefing note on Biomass:

   A Brief Guide to Solar photovoltaic Panels:

Useful case studies: 

Currently (8 September 2020) no churches in the Diocese of Coventry have solar panels. However, other Dioceses have started work in this area and have produced good resources. See, for example, the Diocese of Oxford at The EIG also give information at

Other sources of energy include ground and air source heat pumps; St John's Kenilworth has installed a ground source heat pump and St Mary's Tysoe has an array of Air Source Heat Pumps..Again, the Diocese of Oxford has useful information on this ay  Also see the scheme installed at St Mary's Church, Welwyn Garden City at on their GHSP. For more information on Ground Source Heat Pumps visit

If you would like to investigate these options further, your first action should be to contact Dr Will Jones of the DAC at for advice and further information.

Buildings and grounds advice from the main Church of England website:

Sustainable Buildings:
LED lights:

Heating (newly updated):

   Heating Principles:

   Heating perspectives:

   Heating checklist:

   Options appraisal

Roofs and gutters :
Project sustainability:
Sustainable lifestyle:
Funding advice:
Charitable Grants for Churches (see p.32 -58 for Environmental Projects):
This funding advice page includes a link to this useful grants directory :

Local funding advice from Low Carbon Warwickshire Network (April 2021)
Community Energy Warwickshire Fund

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The impact of coal

Image: open cast coal mining in the Canadian Rockies (Image: GNA, 1998

In 2017, carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels, including fuel used for generating electricity, were estimated at 365.9 Mt. This was 3 per cent lower than the 2016 figure of 377.9 Mt. The biggest change in emissions was from the use of coal, down 8.2 Mt (24 per cent) from 33.6 Mt in 2016 to 25.5 Mt in 2017. This largely resulted from a change in the fuel mix for electricity generation, with less use of coal and gas (as a result of the closure of two fired power stations, Longannet and Ferrybridge C) and increased use of renewables (2017 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Provisional Figures)

With the cost of renewables decreasing and the cost to the environment of continuing to use fossil fuels, we should be looking to switch to renewable energy suppliers. Global carbon dioxide levels are rising year on year and reached a record 415ppm in mid-May 2015. They were 333ppm in 1973.

See Operation Noah's resources for further information on decarbonising the global economy. See the World Wildlife Fund's site on PM Theresa May's pledge to 'end the contribution of the UK to climate change by 2050'. The Diocese of Coventry has gone fossil-free in its investments. We need to follow this up by moving from use of coal and oil as soon as practicable.

The impact of the forestry industry

A recent study in North Carolina by John Talberth, Center for Sustainable Economy, Oregon, indicates that the impact of logging is far greater than people realised because the international rules for reporting emissions used by the industry greatly underestimate them (Michael Le Page, New Scientist, 10 September 2019). Talberth reported that logging was the largest source of carbon emissions in Oregon in 2017 and 2018. Such studies carried out worldwide would indicate that logging was the third or fourth largest source of carbon emissions, exceeding agriculture significantly. However, climate smart techniques could largely offset this, by harvesting timber every 60 - 90 years instead of every 30 years as at present.

'Greenwash' by Drax Energy Company in North Yorkshire, destroying North American hardwood forests: see


On Monday 6th January 2020, Operation Noah announced that 20 Christian organisation were divesting from fossil fuels, as part of the Epiphany Declaration for Fossil Free Churches! You can read more about the declaration here:

Webinar: Church Investment in Climate Solutions: Financing a Liveable Future - Tuesday 22 November, 7.00-8.30pm

Operation Noah hosted a webinar launching the report ‘Church Investment in Climate Solutions: Financing a Liveable Future’ on Tuesday 22 November from 7pm-8.30pm. The webinar included an excellent panel of speakers, including Lorna Gold (Director of Movement Building at FaithInvest and Chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement), John O’Shaughnessy (Chief Financial/Investment Officer of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary and Founder/Co-Chair of the Catholic Impact Initiative Collaborative (CIIC)), Mike Sturgess (Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance in the Church of England Diocese of Truro), James Buchanan and Julia Corcoran (Operation Noah’s Bright Now Campaign Director and Bright Now Campaign Manager, authors of the report).

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How can you measure the floor area of your church? Use The Magic Map to get an estimate as follows:

 Simple instructions:

  • Go to (no registration required)
  • Zoom and pan on the map with your mouse to find the building required – or search by postcode if known
  • Either work with the default map layer, or if preferred untick ‘background mapping’ and tick ‘aerial’ in the layer menu to the left. Using an actual aerial image of the building may be more precise, especially if it’s not rectangular in shape.
  • Click on the measurement tool (ruler icon in the top tool bar)
  • Select ‘Area and perimeter’ (first tool icon in the measurement pop-up)
  • Click on each corner of the building in turn, double click on the last one to finish
  • Pop-up shows the area in sq.m

The Energy Footprint Tool uses conversion factors available at this site:   

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