The PCC at St Michael’s has been working to reduce electricity consumption. In early 2018, the old ‘tubular’ heating system was replaced by a more efficient electric under-pew fan system which also required less time to heat the church.
Later in 2018, almost all the electric light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs thanks to a generous donation. The reduction in consumption has been dramatic – 2017: 4,850; 2018: 3,379 kWh; 2019: 2,373 kWh; a 50% reduction in two years. All our electricity is now supplied from renewable sources, compared to the UK average of 49%.
The Diocesan Synod resolved on 16 November 2019 to target ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest. This prompted the PCC to think about our remaining emissions. For us these arise mainly from car travel by the congregation coming to church, and the clergy and lay persons who make the church function. These include trades people who come to church and the company who mow the churchyard. We also calculated how much paper we use and the associated emissions. The total came to 3.5 tonnes of CO2.
It is not possible for us to reduce this much further, but we can offset it. There are organisations who will do this by taking a payment and then applying it to one or more projects which are certified to reduce Carbon emissions either in the UK or other countries. The key is to make sure the organization is certified in some way. We chose Climate Stewards (https://www.climatestewards.org ) .
Now the next tasks are to maintain or improve on 2019 and get a better understanding of the options to offset our net carbon footprint for 2020.