Church of England goes for 2030 target for zero carbon

Published by Giles Goddard on Wed, 12 Feb 2020 17:59
Vicar's Blog

Today the General Synod overwhelmingly passed a motion to set 2030 as the target date for the C of E to become carbon neutral - i.e not to put any more carbon into the atmosphere than it takes out. 

It's a very challenging target. I was involved in putting the original motion together. We set a target of 2045, which we thought was ambitious enough - but Synod had other ideas and our motion was amended by the Diocese of Bristol. Democracy in action. 

But for the sake of the future we have to act fast and this target will help us to move forward. 

St John's is ahead of the game! I am very pleased that our renovation plans will enable us to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, if we are able to raise the necessary funding. 

Here's what we're planning: 

Photovoltaic panels on the roof will power an air-source heating system that absorbs warmth from the outside and pumps it into the crypt, whilst any excess clean energy generated can be sold to the National Grid. New ceiling insulation, air-tight windows, repairs to the fabric of the church and a remodelled street entrance, meanwhile, will all help prevent heat escaping.

For now the nave, which will be transformed into a top-class performance space for concerts and events, will continue to use gas heating, but it has been prepared for a future upgrade to air- source heat pumps. In any case, all emissions will be oset through tree planting and other measures.

Here's what I said in an article in the Times today:

“We’ve been working on this for ten years and it shows what’s possible,” the Rev Canon Giles Goddard, vicar of St John’s, Waterloo, said. “We were determined right from the start that this project should set an example and be an investment in the future.

“It’s a Grade II* listed building so we can’t be completely experimental, but we’ve settled on a good mix of the old and the new, from preventing draughts to using the latest photovoltaic panels. We’re confident St John’s will meet the 2030 target but whether the whole Church of England will remains to be seen. It’s a huge challenge.”

You can read more about the plans in the article from the Times (paywall), published today. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this happen! 

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