Net Zero Carbon 2030
In May 2023 the Parochial Church Council of Otley Parish Church agreed to take up the Church of England challenge to be a Net Zero Church by or before 2030. A small group of 6 was gathered from the congregation to discover what other churches and community buildings have done and/or plan to do, to greatly reduce their carbon footprint. The group is committed to learning from others, as we are not alone in this challenge. For example, we have been liaising with Otley 2030, who are currently working with partners Otley Energy and Otley Town Council on a carbon zero strategy for the town.
What have OPC done so far?
OPC already had an Energy Audit (See it Here) carried out in Autumn 2022 and the group members have used the 360Carbon tool to calculate our carbon footprint for 2022 – please follow the hyperlinks to find the detail. These have helped the team to frame the size of the task of achieving net zero.
From data gathered by the churchwardens in the 40 days before Christmas 2022, combined with the 3D model of the Church on this website, the group has been able to calculate the likely areas of heat loss from the Church building, as shown in the graph below:
Further calculations show that insulating the church to the most recent Building Standard’s requirements could reduce the average heating required to less than one fifth of the current levels, whilst maintaining the same level of comfort. This level of insulation may not be practical in our ancient building, but even insulating just the roof would bring significant benefits.
Some of the steps towards net zero may be small, to improve the current efficiency of energy use – what we call “quick wins” (for instance filling in gaps to reduce draughts, fixing the guttering, cleaning heat exchange units).
The group has already been working on some quick wins; the four Parish Room heaters have been cleaned out since all had a completely clogged heat exchanger. See above photos of before and after cleaning.
Our church is the oldest building in Otley and is Grade 1 Listed; any changes that the PCC agree to will have to be in keeping with the historic nature of the Church and approved by the Diocese. Some steps along the way to net zero may be large infrastructure changes, such as an air source heat pump which may require us to fundraise/seek grants towards the cost. We will try and have some payback on our energy costs in any major works undertaken.
What are other Churches doing?
We are encouraged that other churches in the Diocese have already made good progress towards being Net Zero Carbon by 2030; All Saints Ilkley, Holy Trinity Skipton, St Chad’s Far Headingley and Menston Parish Church to name but four. Our neighbouring churches have kindly agreed to site visits so that we can see what they have done so far – you can read about it on their websites via the hyperlinks in this article. These visits have been useful and have led to recommendations to see more places where the C of E has reduced its carbon footprint.
We are hopeful that if the C of E is serious about churches being Net Zero by 2030 they will be flexible in their consideration of our plans. Please keep checking back here on the website for updates as we move towards Net Zero.
Find out more
Achieving Net Zero is a long and complicated task. Fortunately, the Church of England has provided many useful documents to help us along the way. Below are links to some of the more accessible documents that we are using.
Diocese of Leeds Toolkit: sustainable Heating in your church:
The above PDF document includes a link “Church of England – Environmental section” which has lots of useful information and yet more links! The following 2 links seem quite relevant to OPC circumstances:
Roadmap to Net Zero Carbon by 2030:https://www.churchofengland.org/about/environment-and-climate-change/net-zero-carbon-routemap/reducing-emissions-churches
There is a long list of Case Studies but this particular one covers a Grade I church (as is Otley Parish Church) with air-source heating and solar panels:
The following Diocese of Leeds DAC Environmental Policies and Guidance document is long, but pages 15 to 18 for Heating and pages 23 & 24 for Solar Panels (etc) are relevant. Whatever the PCC decides to do, the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) will have to approve:
The following guidance is very detailed and there is a lot of reading in the various sections. C of E comprehensive guidance on church heating including options appraisal:
Finally, The Diocese of Leeds has produced a Heating Checklist. Diocese of Leeds Church Heating Checklist https://d3hgrlq6yacptf.cloudfront.net/63dac5b59618e/content/pages/documents/heating-checklist-july-2022.pdf
If you would like to contact the Net Zero group please email: info@otleyparishchurch