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More than 3000 churches use new app to become greener

03 September 2020

Church of England

The Energy Footprint Tool in use

The Energy Footprint Tool in use

MORE than 3000 churches have calculated their carbon footprint with the new Energy Footprint Tool app. The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke of it this week as“vital” to helping the Church of England to reach its carbon-emissions target.

The General Synod announced its goal of net zero emissions by 2030 in February (Synod, 21 February). Afterwards, the Bishop wrote to all dioceses (News, 21 February) about parishes’ using the Energy Footprint Tool, which was launched in April. It is aimed at helping PCCs to measure the carbon output and energy of their church buildings — more than 40,000 in England — and improve energy efficiency.

App users are asked to add information about their utility bills in digital form, before submitting information about the dimensions of the church building. The app generates an energy-rating certificate and suggests how the rating could be improved. From next year, it will form part of parishes’ annual statistics return. Eventually, they will be asked to log in on an online dashboard to track their carbon footprint year on year.

Bishop Holtam, the C of E’s lead bishop on the environment, said: “General Synod has committed the Church to an ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2030, and to achieve this goal, all parts of the Church must come together. We cannot take meaningful action in response to the climate emergency threatening our planet until we understand our own carbon footprint. Tools such as the Energy Footprint Tool, and collaboration between parishes, dioceses, and the national Church are vital to help us on this journey.”

Dr Sam Nunney, of the Archbishops’ Council’s Research and Statistics department, who was involved in developing the app, said: “We are thrilled by the response from parishes, many of whom have provided feedback and sent thanks for the ideas the tool presents to help improve energy efficiency. The reporting takes only ten minutes to complete and will prove to be a vital step to reach our church-wide net zero commitment.”

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