Ideas for Action – Greening church buildings
Guidelines on Caring for Church Premises
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
- Bat Conservation Trust – Bats in the belfry?
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.
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.
- Electricityinfo.org – Buying Green Electricity
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.
- Simple church specific heating advice from John Kibble – Church Heating | Notes on renewables | Notes on reducing energy use
- ChurchCare – Church of England’s national resource for support – Shrinking Carbon Footprint
- DegreeDays – Technical temperature information to aid heating efficiency calculations
- Energy Efficiency in Community Buildings – Detailed guide from National Energy Action
Installing Renewable Energy
- Ground Source Heat Pump Association– information about using Geothermal Heat
- Historic Scotland – Guidance on Microrenewables for historic buildings
Reuse, Compost, Recycle
- The Community Composting Network – supports and promotes community composting
- Donate unwanted items website ex: Freecycle | Gumtree | freegle
- Mobile phones and printer cartridges recycling ex: Oxfam | Action Aid |Christian Aid | Raise funds for your own church
- Stamps and coins reuse ex: Oxfam
- Tools in working condition reuse ex: Tools for Self Reliance | Tools with a mission
- Recycle Now – find out what and where you can recycle in your local area
- Zero Waste Scotland – Scottish Government funded project to help everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle – includes the following campaigns Love Food Hate Waste | Furniture Reuse | Home composting
- Landfill Communities Fund – church maintenance, repair or restoration funding available
- GreenSpec – all aspects of green design from materials, energy, design with lots of examples
- Green Building Press Newsletter – information about current renewable building projects
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems – methods used to reduce water use and prevent flooding
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.
- Sustainable Contruction – Energy Agency Advice
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 our resources may be freely copied and distributed within your church, but please accredit Eco-Congregation.