Energy saving in church buildings

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The Church of England has made a commitment that by 2050 it will have reduced its carbon consumption by 80%, with an interim target of 42 per cent by 2020. 

The Diocese of Gloucester has made particular progress in demonstrating its commitment to ‘go green’, being home to the first zero-carbon church in the country (St Michael and All Saints, Withington, listed Grade I).

From 2012 - 14 the Diocese of Gloucester invested in a major project with Ecotricity to instal PV panels as follows:

67 (38%) Clergy houses plus 9 Ann Edward Mews Almshouses. Exeter, Bath and Wells installed PV panels on a further 75 vicarages.  

45 (12%) parish churches

6 (6%) CofE schools

Gloucester Diocesan offices

In November 2016 Gloucester Cathedral became the first ancient cathedral in the world to be fitted with an array of solar panels!

The Diocese of Gloucester has undertaken several church energy audits to try and better understand how churches use and can save energy, as well as being part of national pilot schemes to Benchmark and record energy data.

There are nearly 400 churches in the Diocese of Gloucester. 90 per cent of them are listed buildings, 38 per cent being grade one. 52 churches were visited by Sustain auditors in March-April 2012. All churches in the Diocese were invited to participate with those chosen being the ones that expressed an interest. The findings are a valuable source of information for other Dioceses and heritage bodies. This report introduces the characteristics of the churches audited followed by the figures on energy spend and carbon footprint headlines before going into more detail about the recommendations made. Where an average figure is given it is the median average as the wide variation of results means this a more appropriate way of determining an average. 

Several parish churches have recently switch to using LED internal and external lighting with advce from Matt Fulford. Holy Trinity Parish Church, Longlevens, Gloucester has kindly provided a case study.

The Diocese of Oxford has published some helpful guidance:  solar PV, heat pumps and biomass.