Sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings

Moving towards a sustainable and carbon-neutral building requires us to reframe their use and maintenance.  For inspiration and encouragement in where to begin, browse through these case-studies from Eco Church South West or take a look at the Church of England's – pathway to net zero.

Fabric

Reordering and maintenance of churches whilst maintaining and preserving their fabric in line with heritage requirements and local planning can be a daunting task.  Each church will face different challenges based upon age, listing status and individual circumstances.  However, we have provided some guidance links below to help you, your PCC and your community to access relevant and up-to-date information on the permissions process and how to begin your sustainable project:

Lighting

Improving, upgrading or repairing lighting can significantly reduce your churches carbon footprint and potentially save you money.  It can require Faculty permission and must be carefully considered to be sensitive to the heritage of your building.  The following links contain current advice on sustainable and practical lighting projects:

Green Journey provide energy audits and advice for churches on potential savings. Visit the Green Journey website or call 03330 067117.

Heating

Heating your building can be a complex task, especially when trying to keep your congregation warm in an old building!   Below are links to current advice for consideration as you begin exploring sustainable heating:

*Forward thinking- new guidance is coming to reflect the new Net Zero 2030 target agreed by Synod in February 2020 so please bear in mind future recommendations will favour low carbon and renewable solutions wherever possible.

Renewable Energy

Switching to a renewable energy provider is an easy win for carbon footprint reduction and more and more churches are finding ways to install renewable energy technology on and in their buildings.  Here are links to aid discussions around whether or not renewables are an option for your church and links to renewable suppliers and energy basket schemes:

Energy Checklist

Are there gaps in and around the windows and doors? Are there cracked or broken windows?  Small gaps can be filled with black plasticine, under-door gaps can be fitted with a draft excluder.

  • Are lights and appliances being left on? Can you provide some polite reminders above switches to encourage people to turn them off?
  • Are you using a 100% renewable energy supplier?
  • Are you maintaining your gutters?
  • Are there any bulbs you can easily change to LED?
  • Are your boiler pipes insulated?
  • Do you have any dripping taps?
  • Has the boiler been serviced lately?

Note, you must contact the DAC and a professional electrician/gas contractor before commencing work that may require permission or a registered technician.

Sustainable projects advice

Becoming sustainable is a process over time. Incorporating sustainability in your projects from the start is an excellent foundation.  Here’s where to look if you’re just beginning:

Who to contact

Sara Emmett, Assistant Environment Officer