Greening church buildings

Ideas for Action – Greening church buildings

Guidelines on Caring for Church Premises

Church with a wind turbine

Church premises require care and resources to run and maintain them. Often such work is undertaken by a property steward or committee, sometimes assisted by a caretaker. These individuals or groups ensure that resources are used wisely to maintain the bricks, mortar and fabric in order that the worship, life and mission of their church may flourish.

A growing range of issues are involved in managing property including day-to-day running, maintenance, health and safety, accessibility and, at a time when caring for God’s creation is so important, environmental issues too. Because church premises can be fairly large, old and listed and have an intermittent usage, it is not always easy to identify which environmental measures are the most appropriate or effective for a particular church. Module 7, ‘Greening the cornerstone’, is designed to help property stewards and committees to consider environmental issues in their planning, decision-making and action. The suggestions given are based on good environmental practice and, in addition, some of the measures may offer long-term savings of both money and time.

‘Greening the cornerstone’ draws on the experience of churches who have adopted good environmental building practice. The module contains two main types of material: general good environmental practice, applicable to most church premises, and how to obtain a professional environmental consultation, to gain the best advice for a particular set of premises.

Download the latest version: Greening Church Buildings

Additional resources

Bat Conservation

Perhaps you need to contact the Bat Conservation Trust. Many churches play a key role in helping these endangered mammals by providing a safe environment for them to roost in. Some churches take an active role in conserving bats, taking part in monitoring programmes by counting their bats and supplying data.

Leaflet about Bats from the Bat Conservation Trust, Bat information paper from English Heritage and English Nature and Latest leaflet from BCT about churches

Energy Use

There is a seperate Community page. You may find some help and support on this page or you can call them on 08701 261 444. They don’t have big grants to give out but they might have small grants which you could put towards finding an architect who is aware of all the things that you could do (eg passive solar heating, rain water recycling, heating and lighting systems which could operate off renewable sources of electricity etc). They can put you in touch with experts in the field.

For congregations in the North East Scotland Kazia Buczak, a business advisor from the Energy Saving Trust, is there to help. Ssee Aberdeen Network page for more details.

You may find it useful to use their Find a renewables installer in you area online search tool.

When buying green electricity it is important to decide what you want the company to be investing in. The Government requires generating companies to produce renewable electricity under the Renewables Obligation, but currently consumer demand for renewables is less than is actually being produced. If your concern is for the company to provide a high percentage of electricity from renewable resources, you’ll need to know the fuel mix that the company uses. This site gives that information.

Matthew Rhodes from Encraft and has advised churches on energy efficiency and renewables. He has written a simple guide to help you through the first steps to making your church use less non-renewable energy.

Installing Renewable Energy

Reuse, Compost, Recycle


Sustainable building

Susdrain provides up-to-date guidance, information, case studies, videos, photos and discussion forums that help to underpin the planning, design, approval, construction and maintenance of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. Ex: Christ Church, Chislehurt in Kent collect rainwater on the roof and used it for toilet flushing.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

  • Climate Stewards– projects supporting small communities plant trees and restore deforestated areas. The website also has a carbon footprint calculator

Note on using the Ideas for Action

Ideas for Action have been designed to fit into church life and support and enhance church mission. They were designed collaboratively with churches to provide a resource that is not a textbook, but a toolkit, to suit all the different varieties of church life represented in the Eco-Congregation programme.

All congregations using our Ideas for Action should first register, and registered churches can also order printed copies. Find out how to register, or contact us if you’d like to know more.

All our resources may be freely copied and distributed within your church, but please accredit Eco-Congregation.