Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) has released far-reaching new policy and guidance regarding sustainability in church buildings. It is the first time that the DAC has issued a formal policy and reflects the recent diocesan synod declaration of the current climate emergency.
At that meeting on 1 February 2020, synod agreed to bring forward dates for reducing emissions by 20 years.
On 1 February 2020, diocesan synod called on all parts of the diocese to work towards an 80 per cent reduction in emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases no later than 2030. Synod also supported an ambition for the diocese to be carbon neutral by the same date. The agreement brought forward the date from 2050 to 2030, meaning that a fast and extensive shift in our current practices will be needed. The DAC policy is part of this commitment to change.
Matt Fulford, DAC Advisor for Energy and Sustainability, said, “The climate crisis requires us all to take action to reduce our impact whether this is at an international level or at a personal level and our churches can not exclude themselves from being part of the required solution. Taking positive action on reducing the environmental impact of churches can also be a beacon in the community and act as a catalyst for others to follow. Historic church buildings can also be a challenge in knowing what the best actions are to take. The Gloucester DAC has now produced guidance for all churches to consider. The DAC now has clearly laid out not only what churches can do but what is expected of them when looking at important issues around energy.”
The DAC seeks to actively encourage the use of renewal energy in purchasing supplies and as a potential final step for churches to generate renewable energy themselves. Energy generation is something to look to when they are already efficient in other areas and the impact on the church building is minimal. There have been many examples of doing this week in the Diocese of Gloucester from the first PV array at St Michael’s Withington to the large array on the Cathedral roof.
The DAC is actively seeking to move churches away from oil heating solutions to low carbon solutions and has many examples of successful and highly efficient electric heating solutions.
We are encouraging all churches to have complete LED lighting by 2025 and wish to avoid extra emissions resulting from the installation of new external floodlighting. Opportunities to improve the insulation which present themselves in re-roofing schemes must always be considered. Sustainability issues should now be covered in the statement of need when applying for faculty, and issues such as sourcing sustainable timber and trees are also covered.
The DAC offers free advice to all churches on energy and sustainability matters.
Matt said, “This advice document clearly states the positive actions that all churches can take in being good stewards of creation at this time of climate crisis. The DAC is taking bold and positive action on providing guidance and clarity on what churches should consider when undertaking works. We should always be conscious of helping to support the diocese in achieving its environmental policy objectives.”