LincolnshireGREETHAMAllSaints(explorechurches.org)15

Environmental sustainability

Sustainability is usually associated used with the environment.

However, from a building point of view; there are four sustainable aspects you need to consider:

  • economic
  • organisational
  • social
  • environmental

Funders will expect to see evidence that you have thought about all of these aspects, taken action and set in place appropriate mechanisms for the long term.

The Churches Trust for Cumbria has produced a very useful publication, Sustainability Rosette which covers all the areas you need to consider.


Environmental sustainability

Here we concentrate on Environmental Sustainability. We are all aware of the need to cut carbon emissions to restore the world's balance. The majority of faith groups have signed up to commitments to reduce their carbon emissions.

So, whether it is your day-to-day building management, or with regard to specific projects or repairs you should always consider if there is a more environmentally sustainable way to achieve your objective.

There are a number of projects across the country, helping churches to ‘go green’, and all denominations have general advice about the areas you need to consider.

Quakers in Britain are often at the forefront of sustainability and the role faith groups can play.

The Church of England has set a target of producing net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The Church of England’s environment campaign contains information on their national campaign to encourage churches to reduce their carbon footprint. Its advice and guidance is equally relevant to all churches, chapels and meeting houses.

Their website has lots of information about increasing the energy efficiency of your church, renewable technology and other environmental issues. There are toolkits and best practice case studies covering issues from heating, to boilers, from lighting to waste and recycling, and transport to renewable technology. They have an extensive range of online net-zero church webinars.

They have also set up the Parish Buying website which details national negotiated deals on everything from paperclips to photocopiers. It also includes a negotiated deal for 100% renewable energy tariffs. Your denomination may have done the same thing, it’s always worth asking.

The Methodist Church has a lot of information about the environment and climate change and some handy carbon reduction tips.

Operation Noah is an ecumenical charity providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change. The website has a variety of free resources to use.

The SPAB has produced guidance on improving energy efficiency in older buildings.

Historic England has similar advice in how to improve energy efficiency.

It is also worth looking at the Historic Environment Scotland website which has specific information for anyone looking after a building in Scotland. has advice here

Eco Church is the successor to Eco-Congregation and offers an award scheme for churches in England and Wales that want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. They also offer resources for congregations on how to live sustainably and address environmental issues through their life and mission.

Their online tool will help you to do an assessment on your church to find out what is already happening and draw up an action plan which can be discussed by your management committee. Once everyone is on board there is a registration fee to go further with the tool, but once registered you will have access to a huge number of resources to help you achieve your environmental goals, and keep pushing them further.

Eco Church England and Wales

Eco-Congregation Scotland

Eco-Congregation Ireland