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Understand your energy footprint to reduce it

The national Church of England Energy Footprint Tool (EFT) is now open for churches to enter their energy use from 2023. We’re asking parishes to fill in the EFT before 31 May.

Getting it done early means you are ahead of the curve, so if funding opportunities become available, either from National Church or from benefactors and funders, you’ll have solid data to make a compelling case, ahead of other churches. What could be better?

Thank you to everyone who completed their Energy Footprint Tool last year. 86% of parishes in the Diocese of Guildford completed it in 2023, up from 72% in 2022. For the last two years we’ve had the best completion rate in the country. Not only does that put us in a really good position to track our progress on decarbonisation, both as individual churches and as a whole Diocese, but it also enables us to clearly see which parishes are eligible for funding and steer them towards any of those crucial pots of money which make Net Zero a possibility.

Why do we need the EFT?

Reducing energy use is part of caring for God's creation and is one of the ways we can honour God and love our neighbours. By taking action here and now we love our neighbours across the world by doing our part in reducing the negative impacts climate change is having, especially on those least able to cope.

We have a local plan to get to Net Zero Carbon emissions by 2030, which is in line with the National Church of England's Net Zero Carbon plan. We'll be working with you to reduce carbon emissions, from the little things like behaviour changes in your office to the big things like heat pumps and infrared heating, taking advantage of all the funding opportunities we can. By filling in the Energy Footprint Tool we can measure our success, as well as pinpoint our next steps.

A staggering 80% of a church’s carbon emissions come from their heating.  So before considering solar panels or other technologies, it's crucial to look at low-carbon heating options. By first measuring and then reducing our energy consumption, we can work towards achieving Net Zero as a diocese and reducing all of our energy bills. 

Together, we can build a planet-friendly church for generations to come.

How to make your entry

Gather your utility bills, visit the Online Parish Returns System, and complete the Energy Footprint Tool.

You’ll need:

  • Names of your gas and electricity suppliers, and whether they supply 100% renewable energy or offset your consumption
  • Utility bills for whole of 2023, and/or meter readings from the beginning and end of the year
  • Bills for any energy purchases, including oil if you still use oil
  • Other heating systems you may have e.g. heat pumps, capacity of your solar PV panels (if any), and units generated during the year.

Don’t forget to enter data for any separate hall or other buildings on the site, as well as the church itself. You’ll need to enter:

  • Size of the church and any hall in square meters (but if you’ve done the EFT before, it’ll be on there already). The system is set up to give you ratings for efficiency compared to the church’s size and how busy it is.

You can also enter estimates of numbers attending services and using the buildings at other times, and details of work-related travel by church staff. This helps to get a full picture of how you’re getting on with improving your efficiency.

Watch this video demonstration on how to use the tool.

More help and support

Our new Diocesan Environmental Officer has started with us this week. Steve Collins, Net Zero Programme Manager, said: “A big welcome back to Alison Moulden. Alison has volunteered with us for many years and helped us make big steps towards caring for creation better. She has supported churches filling in their Energy Footprint Tools and becoming Eco Churches, as well as being part of a network of volunteer environmental advocates. It is only because of her tireless dedication to supporting churches that we have the best EFT completion rate in the country.”

As the Diocesan Environmental Officer, Alison will be helping us become net zero carbon by 2030. A key part of this will be to continue supporting parishes to become Eco churches, supporting a network of volunteer change advocates, and developing training for churches. She said: “I’m thrilled to be coming back to the Diocese and working on Creation Care once again. The work that has been done by parishes is nothing short of amazing, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again.” 

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