Net Zero Carbon Routemap

Some Basic Principles in tackling Net Zero Carbon (NZC) planning

The text below are key extracts from the National Net Zero Carbon Routemap with some observation notes from the Diocese team.


The Routemap focuses efforts on interventions for high-energy-use buildings to reduce gross energy consumption and gross carbon emissions, whilst encouraging low-energy-use buildings to take all reasonable efforts to reduce energy consumption and switch to a green energy tariff. It also focusses on business travel in church-owned petrol and diesel vehicles.

This should be reassuring. Despite the mentions of ‘should consider’, the Net Zero Carbon focus, and therefore yours and ours is on the following points (These will of course be more than demanding enough!)

  • a) large and busy churches
  • b) clergy housing
  • c) schools.

The Diocesan Net Zero Carbon Action Plan should include the following:

  1. make reference to the Practical Path to Net Zero [1]
  2. actively consider implementation of ‘quick wins’, [see list of "easy wins" below]
  3. how to decarbonise heat,
  4. how to reduce energy consumption and
  5. how to encourage behaviour change.

When considering your own action planning, do keep these five points in mind.

[1] The Practical Path to Net Zero might be summarised as:

  • Where do we start?
  • Where do we go next?
  • Getting to zero
  • Special situations

And for each of these there are the subheadings:

  • The building itself
  • Heating and lighting
  • People and policies
  • Church grounds
  • Offsetting

Highlights from the Executive Summary of the National Plan

  • Plan – review your buildings/estate, identify what needs to be done and when. Use this to plan suitable times for work, identify if projects can be aggregated for cost-saving or to obtain funding and to optimise funds, skills and resources. [Note: Planning is the particular focus of the next two years.]

  • Maintain – keep on top of routine maintenance to reduce energy consumption and hence carbon emissions. For our smaller churches, used only occasionally, maintenance is the key. [Note: This is just further encouragement to do what we are hopefully, already doing.]

  • Reduce – consider where and why you are using energy and whether there are ways to reduce energy consumption and travel to eliminate carbon emissions. This includes changes in behaviour and ways of working as well as changes to heating and lighting systems and the use of different means of travel. [Note: Reduce, decarbonise and behaviour change]

  • Opportunities – look for actions that reduce carbon emissions and also generate income (for example solar PV panels, electric vehicle charging points) and interventions that can deliver multiple benefits (for example reduced air pollution, community use, prevention of overheating in a warming climate). [Note: and benefits for biodiversity.]

  • Easy Wins - Consider the easy wins to reduce emissions in all buildings: [Note: Most of these quick wins are actually fairly easy.]

    • Establishing working groups, developing understanding of the issues and communicating them, sharing experience, and identifying and implementing policy changes.

    • Gathering data to enable the benefits and year-on-year reductions to be demonstrated.

    • Encouraging behaviour change – switching off unneeded lighting and equipment, choosing low-carbon travel options or avoiding travel.

    • Switching to green electricity and gas tariffs at point of contract renewal.

    • Replacing lighting with LEDs.

    • Reducing travel and encouraging walking, cycling, public transport and lift-sharing.

    • Developing replacement plans for equipment, especially ageing heating systems.

  • Harder changes - Plan longer term, more expensive interventions for those high energy consuming/high carbon emitting buildings: [Note: These are about planning at this stage.]

    • Developing an estates strategy for schools and clergy housing and investing in this.

    • Creating business cases, ready to apply when funding opportunities arise.

    • Installing insulation, appropriate to the age and nature of our buildings.

Page last updated: Friday 3rd November 2023 5:43 PM
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