Net zero buildings and churchyard management

One of the major causes of climate change is carbon dioxide emissions, which act as a greenhouse gas, trapping the heat of the sun. 

‘Net zero’ carbon means carbon emissions, which are eliminated/balanced with the use of renewables and carbon removal.

So as a faithful response to the climate crisis, we are all called to reduce our carbon emissions. 

These are some great resources to help your church play its part in furthering the Church of England’s aim to become carbon neutral:

Calculate your church emissions

The Energy Footprint Tool is part of the Church of England's online Parish Returns System. Clergy and Church Treasurers complete this each year with information about the energy use of the church, using the church’s electricity and gas/oil bills. The tool calculates your churches’ carbon emissions from energy use and gives a carbon emissions (CO2) rating. 

360°carbon is a useful carbon calculator if you would like to calculate your church’s greenhouse gas emissions in more detail, to include other aspects of your mission and worship such as travel, food and waste.

Practical path to net zero for church buildings

This short guide has been developed by the Church of England based on information from energy audits of churches. The Practical Path to Net Zero for Church Buildings sets out where most churches should start, and more advanced projects for churches who use more energy.

Inspiration and training

The Church of England has collected some case studies of churches that have achieved net zero carbon for you to read other churches’ experiences. 

Net zero carbon church

Every church building is unique and some changes are quick and easy, but other changes require consideration for what will work in your building, and potentially fundraising or planning. For more information see the Church of England’s Net Zero Carbon Church webpage.

Churchyards and biodiversity

Caring for God’s Acre is a good starting point for a wide range of resources to assist with sensitive churchyard management.

Useful links

Please share with us images and stories of ways you are caring for and using your churchyards! We’d love to share them to inspire others.

Durham Diocese Net Zero Action Plan

The Diocesan Net Zero Action Plan was approved at Diocesan Synod in November 2023. It will be regularly reviewed to reflect our current carbon footprint.

Download the Diocesan Net Zero Action Plan

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