Why have a Church Energy Audit?
Whether you are concerned about saving on your church energy bills, having a warmer more welcoming church or reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the church an energy audit can help. It can help to focus the PCC’s attention on the church energy usage, which can be overlooked as an important part of the church’s stewardship and creation care.
The energy audit report gives quantifiable information about the energy use in your buildings and suggest actions which could be taken to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. This can equip your PCC to make informed decisions on the journey to become a carbon neutral church.
What will an Energy Audit cover?
Usually an energy audit involves an onsite energy survey, with an energy surveyor visiting the church for a couple of hours. From the information they gather they will write a report, the contents of which will depend on the energy audit provider, but you might expect:
- An assessment of your current electricity, gas or oil use and the carbon emissions associated with this
- A list of recommended actions to reduce your energy use for lighting, heating and renewable electricity generation.
- Some indication of the cost of the suggested actions, the likely energy savings and consequent payback period on the initial outlay.
- Advice on energy efficiency
How can I get an Energy Audit for my church buildings?
You could start by conducting a simple energy audit yourself. This Energy Checklist may help.
You can learn from others. A practical path to “net zero carbon” for our churches is a short guidance note from the Church of England that has dawn on analysis of over 180 church energy audits (over 60 of which were from churches in the Diocese of Leeds). It highlights the most common recommendations for churches and sets out clear principles for action.
To go further you may want to deploy a professional energy surveyor.
You could ask for a complementary energy audit from the Green Journey team. The Diocese of Leeds Green Journey Scheme is a package of energy services designed to help you get to grips with your energy use and understand what changes you could make to become more sustainable. Receiving a Green Journey energy audit is not conditional on switching your supplier with the Green Journey scheme.
Alternatively, you can apply for an energy survey with the Parish Buying, who are offering 200 subsidised surveys in 2020. The usual cost of an audit is £445 (+ VAT).
Or, you can of course seek a local energy auditor to conduct a survey for you. Make sure that they have appropriate experience of historic buildings.
How to make the most of my church’s Energy Audit?
The energy survey report should contribute useful information for your overall carbon reduction plan. If you do not yet have a strategy for becoming a net zero carbon church the report may be a useful starting point.
Once you have received your report, it would be advisable for the PCC to look carefully at the recommendations. It may not be practical or financially viable to implement all the suggestions immediately. Develop a staged plan over a 2-5 year timeframe, implementing the easy and cheap options first and working towards complex and costly projects later. Consider what additional assistance, advice and funding you may need.