Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage
Living God's Love Values - Generosity, Joy, Imagination and Courage

Energy Footprint

This page covers:

  • Diocesan Grant Scheme for Energy Audits
  • What to do if your boiler breaks down
  • The Energy Footprint Tool

Diocesan Grant Scheme for Energy Audits

We are pleased to announce the first of the new Diocesan grant schemes to enable parishes to move forward towards the Church of England target of reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030.

The Energy Audit Grant scheme will provide parishes with £400 towards the cost of an energy audit to help provide detailed information about their energy consumption and advice on how to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions. Parishes who have already worked through the ‘quick wins’ outlined in the Practical Path to Net Zero Carbon and who are ready for expert recommendations for their next steps should apply for an energy audit through Parish Buying, the Church of England’s procurement service, and then apply for the Diocesan grant to cover £400 of that cost. At the moment Parish Buying are offering £100 off the cost of the audit, so early application is advised.

Download an application form using the button below. If you have any questions or to notify of us your intention to apply, please email Joanna Chandler-Clarke via dac@stalbans.anglican.org.

Energy Audit Grant Scheme Application Form


What to do if your boiler breaks down

For any church, the heating breaking – especially in autumn or winter – can be incredibly difficult and disrupt services and events. The obvious thing to do has usually been to replace like-for-like but a change to the Faculty Rules in July 2022 to support the Church of England’s Net Zero Carbon target and our responsibility to care for God’s creation means that the immediate reaction and next steps need to be well considered. A full Faculty is now required in order for you to replace a boiler fired by gas or oil, so here we set out the steps you need to take and what documentation you need to provide to the DAC to support any application:

  1. Let the DAC Team know so we can provide any additional advice and support
  2. Check whether the boiler can be repaired, even if this is only a temporary solution to buy you time to consider non-fossil fuel options
  3. Manage expectations – it will not be as simple as getting a heating engineer to install a new boiler before next Sunday. For the short-term, you could:
    • Bring forward any evening services so that it is not cold
    • Publicise the need to wrap up warmly or even offer blankets
    • If your electricity supply allows, use temporary electric heaters
    • Move major services or events to another church in the benefice (following discussion with the Archdeacon)
    • Offer a streamed service option for those who are vulnerable
    • If all else fails, ask the Bishop for permission to move services into a hall or another location
  4. You will need to think about:
    • Whether the pipework, pumps and other parts of the system are in good working order – otherwise adding a new boiler will likely cause leaks in the pipework, or debris from the system could clog the new boiler, unless you install a filter or plate heat exchanger
    • Whether your heating, when working, is effective to meet the church’s needs – if not now is the opportunity to consider alternative systems. To help with this step, take a look at the Church Buildings Council’s Heating Checklist. Their Heating Principles will also help.
  5. Replacing the boiler with a modern version may not be quick, easy or cheap. You may need to make changes to pipework, the location of the boiler, or flue arrangements. A new external flue may need planning permission from the local planning authority, as well as the Faculty. [Please note that you would only need planning permission, not listed building consent.]
  6. You must have properly explored other options – e.g. a direct electric heating system or air source heat pumps. A traditional gas/oil heating engineer may not be aware of the options that now exist or be able to design an appropriate system for your church. The Heating Checklist will help you to consider what heating you need for your usage, needs, future plans, constraints and funding. Ideally, you should obtain a professional options appraisal which look at the options for your specific context. If you would like details of professionals able to carry out heating options appraisals, please let the DAC team know but note that we are unable to provide recommendations.
  7. Provide a plan for how the PCC is working towards net zero carbon in the longer term, if not immediately. The Faculty Rules were changed due to the Church of England’s Net Zero target, so this should help show how you are planning to work towards that goal at a local level. Any work you do now should clearly contribute towards your longer-term aims, and should certainly not have to be redone in a few years. So, if you replace a gas boiler with a more efficient (hydrogen-ready) gas boiler now, can you make it smaller and supplement with radiant electric heaters; or can the boiler have connections ready for future underfloor or convector heaters? How can the system be designed with the future use of renewables in mind?
  8. You must show that you have had regard to the Church Building’s Council’s Guidance under the new Faculty Rules. If you have followed the steps above, you will already have used their Heating Checklist and Heating Principles documents to help shape your thinking. In addition, for any heating projects, you must show your regard for the Practical Path for Net Zero Carbon and Heating Options Appraisal. This guidance is there to help you to arrive at a well thought-through proposal which meets your needs and to work towards net zero carbon, if possible. A template document is available below to help you show how you have considered the guidance.
  9. Make sure you document everything you consider – everyone involved in the process, including the PCC, your contractor, the DAC, the Chancellor and any other statutory bodies, needs to understand your thinking and all the work you have done.

Template for supplementary document for heating applications (CBC Advice)


Energy Footprint Tool

The Energy Footprint section of the Diocesan Portal is closed for 2021 figures.

We have created a User Guide to help you through the process and you might also find the questions below helpful. We have also created a video if you would prefer to go through the Tool in that way.

How do I access the Tool?

The Energy Footprint Tool is available on the Diocesan Portal. Incumbents, churchwardens, Treasurers and others will automatically have access. If you do not have access to the Tool, please contact Joanna Chandler.

Once you have logged into the Portal, the Footprint Tool will be available as an option on the left hand side, labelled Energy Footprint.

What information do I need?

Complete energy bills for 2021 – this should be for gas, electricity, oil or any other fuels.

Visitor numbers and non-service attendance – attendance for services (both Sunday and mid-week) should be pre-populated from your annual returns, but you will need to add non-service and visitor attendance manually. You might need to discuss this with the PCC, or ask another PCC member to estimate average weekly figures. This should include general visitors and other groups who use the church, such as youth groups, pre-schools, Mums & Tots etc. You will also need to estimate how long is spent in the building by individuals on each occasion – including for services – which might also need some discussion.

The building footprint of your church – search the Church Heritage Record and find your church. Open the record for your building and go to the ‘Building’ tab along the top. In most cases, this should show you the building footprint of your church. If this does not contain a number, please contact Joanna Chandler-Clarke.

What results should I get?

At the moment, we are collecting data from 2021 and the form will not show you any results. This data will help us better understand energy usage across the Diocese and build a better national picture. We will then help you work towards reducing your energy footprint.

What about other buildings in the parish?

At the moment, the form is primarily designed for church buildings. Please do include the data from any church halls, offices or similar spaces if they are part of the same building as the main worship space, especially if they have the same energy bills, but make sure that the additional spaces are included in the building footprint, where possible. If you have separate buildings with separate bills, please fill in the Church Hall Registration form, available as a link in the Energy Footprint section of the Portal. We will then add the hall to our system so it appears in the list of buildings in the parish [please note that it may take a few days for us to update the system].

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