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Carbon Footprint and Net Zero


You may have read that the PCC recently decided that the church should try to achieve net zero by 2030 as recommended by the General Synod. An important part of this is obviously to establish what our carbon footprint is in the first place. This work started with the initial data based on only electricity and gas usage presented in the 2021 annual report and is continuing in more detail.


As individuals there are tools available to help us assess what our own household contributions are. A reasonably simple introduction and explanation of these can be found on the Centre for Alternative Technology website (Carbon calculators, ecological footprints and offsets - Centre for Alternative Technology (cat.org.uk)).


The WWF Footprint Calculator is perhaps the simplest starting point, but you will still need some information to answer the questions from their four categories of food, travel, home and ‘stuff’.

How much you use your car (if you have one) – this calculator just wants to know how many hours a week, others request the number of miles (perhaps obtainable from MOT or service records).

How much use you make of trains, buses and planes (and what sort of lengths of flight).

How and to what temperature you heat your house and what sort of electricity tariff you are on (more complicated calculators will want your actual consumption figures from your bills). Also, which energy saving steps do you take.

The ‘stuff’ section just wants a brief insight into your consumption and recycling habits (again other sites ask more detailed questions and will therefore give a more accurate answer).


After progressing through the questions you will receive an estimate of your footprint and how it breaks down between the four categories. There is also the opportunity to find out more about things you could do to reduce your impact.


The National Energy Foundation calculator will give you a more detailed answers on your building and transport energy values if you want to explore these further and are able to provide the detailed energy consumption and transport mileage information their calculations require.


The Carbon Independent calculator poses 11 questions, although some of these are multi-part and gives you a CO2 figure answer for each which perhaps makes it easier to see where there might be the most room for emission reductions.


For a detailed look the EcoChurch literature suggests you might try Climate Stewards, although do note this a website offering to sell you offsets which, in general, as noted on the CAT website, are not without controversy.


You may find that these calculators produce somewhat different answers, partly because of the differing questions, but they will all hopefully give you some insight into your household footprint.

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