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C of E Church Building Carbon Footprint Figures

Church of England Church Building Carbon Footprint Figures

– It is estimated that the total net carbon footprint for the Church of England’s church buildings (based on energy use alone) is around 185,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases, measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or tCO2e.

– This consists of 163,000 tonnes from church buildings alone (based on 44,000 tonnes recorded in the Energy Footprint Tool). An additional 22,500 tonnes is estimated for church halls and “other church buildings” (based on 3,400 tonnes recorded in the Energy Footprint Tool)

  • This figure is 12.5% smaller than the comparable figure given by the Church of England carbon management project for 2006.

Church size, location and usage

– The size of the church building has a large impact on its carbon footprint: generally, the larger the church means the larger carbon footprint.

– The top 13% of church buildings by size account for almost a third of the carbon footprint for all churches.

– Churches in urban parishes have a much larger carbon footprint than those in rural parishes.

– Church usage also has a large impact on its carbon footprint: the higher usage of the buildings    means the larger the carbon footprint.

  • Large-sized churches and urban churches were more likely to be classified as ‘high usage’.

Energy Types

– The most common types of energy used in church buildings are electricity (34%) and a mixture of electricity and gas (45%).

– A mixture of electricity and gas was the energy type associated with the largest average carbon footprint, though this was also the most common energy type used by urban, large-sized and high-usage buildings.

– Electricity alone was the energy type associated with the smallest average carbon footprint, though this was also the most common energy type used by rural, small-sized and low-usage buildings.

– 5% of churches had net zero carbon, with 99% of these having a renewable electricity tariff.

– If all electricity-using churches switched to a renewable tariff, the estimated total net carbon footprint for church buildings would be around 22% smaller (36,000 tonnes).

  • 1% of churches were using on-site solar panels, while fewer than 1% of churches were using wood chips, pellets, or alternative heating technologies.

Figures taken from the Church of England 2021 Research & Statistics Report, page 4.

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