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Last updated 29th January 2024

Church Buildings and help with reaching Net Zero Carbon

Advice and Guidance to assist parishes to meet Net-Zero Carbon by 2030

As good stewards of our church buildings, all PCCs should now consider the environmental impact of any changes to our buildings and churchyard. Below is some information to help parishes who wish to work towards Net-Zero or mitigate against environmental harm.


Energy Audits

Energy audits are surveys of a church and buildings which examines a range of different ways that a PCC can improve its energy efficiency. After the audit, the PCC will be presented with a report recommending ways it can reduce its energy usage and carbon output. This may be in the form of small changes such as the use of timers or changing energy supplier or larger improvements to heating or lighting. An energy audit can provide a useful starting point for PCCs who have a desire to reach Net-Zero but do not know where to begin.

Parish buying offers an energy audit through its partner Energy Basket. More information on audits and costs can be found here.

50 of the higest emitting (usually the biggest and/or most used) churches in the diocese will be eligible for a free-of-charge energy audit/de-carbonisation plan in 2024/25 funded by the national church. Eligible churches will be contacted in spring 2024.


0% interest eco-loan available to parishes wishing to invest in carbon-reduction projects

At their meeting in September 2023 the DBF Directors approved a 0% interest eco-loan scheme for parishes who are looking to implement a project in their church that will reduce the carbon emissions from their building(s) eg installing LED lighting, adding insulation, reducing draughts, replacing oil boilers, replacing gas boilers with infra-red/pew heating or ground/air source heat pumps etc.

Loans can be repaid over a maximum of 6½ years (potentially using the money saved from energy bills because of the investment).

Loans can be used for works in churches or other buildings under PCC control eg church halls.

The simple application form can be found here: Application form

For further information about the loan contact in the Finance Team

For advice on carbon-reduction works to church buildings contact the Senior Church Buildings Officer:

Church Heating

Church heating is the main cause of carbon output for most churches in the diocese. From the 1st July 2022, changes in legislation has made it easier for churches to install non-fossil fuel boilers and heating systems and more complex to install a heating system that uses gas or oil. Some of these changes include:

  • All PCCs are now required to have due regard to the Net-Zero advice issued by the Church Buildings Council before it replaces a heating system or boiler.
  • PCCs will need to undertake a feasibility study before a church heating system is replaced to prove that it has considered all options. 
  • All gas or oil boilers now require a faculty to install, regardless of whether it is a straightforward swap.

The Net-Zero guidance from the Church Buildings Council can be found here. A heating checklist in Word format can be downloaded here.

The DAC Heating Adviser is always willing to contact churches and offer advice on any proposals for heating schemes and boilers. Please contact Jen Read, Senior Church Buildings Officer for more details.


DAC Environmental Policy 

Jen Read, Senior Church Buildings Advisor explains the Blackburn DAC's environmental policy in this short video. 

Photovoltaic Panels (solar)

Photovoltaic or solar panels are just one option for churches looking to reduce energy bills and produce green energy. Here are some guidance documents for churches considering fitting PV panels on their church building:

  • Advice from the Church Buildings Council can be found here
  • Advice from Historic England can be found here.
  • The CofE Enviroment Team runs webinars on all aspects of reaching net zero, including PV panels here.

Other helpful advice for church buildings and Net-Zero

  • The Parish Buying site has created a page of resources for churches to help them achieve net zero. More details here
  • The Eco Church site contains many guidance documents on different works to churches.
  • The Church Buildings Council offers a range of guidance notes to help parishes to achieve Net-Zero, including advice on electric vehicle changing points, solar panels and LED lighting.
  • The Church of England Environmental Team offers a range of webinars on all aspects of Carbon Net Zero options for church buildings. 
  • Useful online resources to support environmental action can be found here.
  • A Practical Path to Net Zero can be found here.  A checklist can be found here.



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