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9. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

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When about to undertake any works whether repairs or re-ordering, routine maintenance or thinking about installing new lighting or heating, make sure you have looked at the most energy efficiency option as well as thought about sustainability.

All funders will increasingly be looking at this element when assessing applications


Find out if your diocese/denomination has an environmental officer who can advise you. There may also be a bulk procurement of 100% green energy opportunity that you can opt into.

Information on increasing the energy efficiency of your church, renewable technology and other environmental issues can be found on the Church of England’s national environmental website Shrinking the Footprint. You will also find information on Government support and other possible funding for energy projects. There are also toolkits and best practice case studies covering issues from heating, to boilers, from lighting to waste and recycling, and transport to renewable technology.


In 2012, Churchcare is going to produce detailed guidance on heating covering efficiency, greenness, meeting conservation requirements and will also be looking at how to determine the most effective heating systems depending on different uses within a church building e.g. regular use, mixed uses, heating of different spaces within a building or infrequent, irregular use.

Working alongside Church of England procurement officers, the Church of England has set up the Parish Buying website which details national negotiated deals on everything from paperclips to photocopiers. It also includes a negotiated ‘national’ level affinity deal’ for 100% renewable energy tariffs with both ‘Good Energy’ and ‘Ecotricity’. These tariffs can be found on the new website at http://www.parishbuying.org.uk/

The Methodist Church has provided very useful information on renewal energy at www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/property/technical-and-conservation/regulations-requiring-action/renewable-energy and specifically on solar panels here www.methodist.org.uk/media/457787/solar-panels-guidance-0612.pdf.
Guidance on how to undertake an environmental audit can be found in Leaflet T15 here www.methodist.org.uk/ministers-and-office-holders/property/technical-and-conservation/technical-information-leaflets.

The United Reformed Church has a section on its website setting out its commitment to sustainability and information for its churches http://www.urc.org.uk/mission/church-and-society/climate-change.html

At the Great Britain Quaker Yearly Meeting in 2011, a “strong corporate commitment” was made to “become a low-carbon, sustainable community”. You can read about this commitment here http://www.quaker.org.uk/creating-just-and-sustainable-world

To download guidance, and the Sustainability Toolkit  on how your Meeting can respond to this commitment and read about what others are doing go to http://www.quaker.org.uk/sustainability

You can also download two new interactive online calculators so you can work out the carbon footprint of your meeting and also your personal footprint.

You will also find information on QPSW Sustainability Grants which are intended to provide support to Quaker, or Quaker-supported, projects focused on sustainability go to


The Quakers also own the Northfields Eco-Centre in Birmingham which is housed in a converted meeting house and next door to an existing meeting house. The Centre aims to teach people how to live more sustainably through groups, advice services, events, courses and lots of downloaded guidance. http://www.northfieldecocentre.org/

Eco-Congregation is an ecumenical programme helping churches make the link between environmental issues and Christian faith, and respond in practical action in the church, in the lives of individuals, and in the local and global community. http://ew.ecocongregation.org/

(RCAN) of village hall advisers provides an information and advice service for those who manage village halls and other rural community buildings. This includes advice on making buildings more energy efficient, found here: http://www.acre.org.uk/our-work/community-assets/village-hall-information-service/environmental-issues


The Churches Trust for Cumbria has collected together a lot of information. Some of it is local to Cumbria, but it will give you an idea of organisations you could contact in your own area


There are also some examples of churches which have adopted low carbon technologies which you can read about here http://www.ctfc.org.uk/cumbrian-case-studies.html


National Trust has been producing a series of case studies to review various building projects, following each one through from conception to completion. The focus of their Building Design Guide is to share information and best practice. The case studies feature many conservation projects, from adapting redundant buildings for new uses to the sensitive introduction of lighting into a Grade I listed building. In addition, a series of case studies has been produced to document the installation of energy saving systems and sustainable technologies within the historic environment.


There are also an increasing number of organisations who can advise and support community groups who are seeking to create their own renewal energy. Have a look and find one that is local to you. One such is Sharenergy which is a not-for-profit organisation that helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation: “we are currently working on various projects with hydro power, wind, biomass, biogas and solar from our base in the Marches … and throughout the UK” http://www.sharenergy.coop/

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