Focus Area 1: Environmental action

About this focus area

Our environmental action work supports churches with a range of initiatives including energy audits and the Eco Church awards programme.

We are working hard to reduce our carbon emissions across our diocese; church buildings, vicarages, church schools etc. We have set ourselves some key targets to track progress.

Data displayed on this page are drawn from the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), internal Environment Action Team data, energy audit data, A Rocha UK’s Eco Award data and parish notifications (data from 2016 to Sept 2023).

Key target

Our key target is to reduce our carbon emissions. The diocesan environment team will give the first formal carbon emissions report to Diocesan Synod in November 2023. The report will be based on emissions across the diocese in 2022, compared to a 2019 baseline.

Target: Carbon emissions reductions from 2023: Diocesan target is to reach net zero by 2035

Energy efficiency can enable our churches to provide attractive places of sanctuary, fellowship, and communion - with a comfortable level of warmth and illumination - at a lower cost to the planet, and sometimes with financial savings as well. One of the significant barriers for churches, however, is knowing what positive actions they can undertake.

Our first diocesan carbon emissions report, presented to Diocesan Synod in November 2023, reveals that churches have managed to reduce their net carbon emissions by 11% since 2019.

Energy Footprint Tool (EFT)

One good starting point for churches to measure their current carbon footprint is by providing their energy information using the Energy Footprint Tool (EFT). Therefore, we also have a target to improve the completion rate of the EFT.

National target: 90% of churches to report their 2023 data (reporting in 2024)



We use information submitted using the EFT to measure carbon output of churches, monitor progress and to track the impact of steps our churches are taking to reduce their emissions. At a diocesan level it also helps us to:

  • Spot churches with heating system issues.

  • Identify which churches would benefit from an energy audit.

  • Discover examples of good practices to share.

  • Understand measures that are making a real difference by using EFT data alongside information drawn from other sources, such as the Articles of Enquiry.

An energy audit is carried out by professionals with experience of historic places of worship. They will look at a range of energy uses in the church building, from lighting to heating, and expert energy efficiency advice tailored to their building recommend the energy and carbon reduction measures available.

We have set ourselves a target to increase the proportion of our 810 churches that have had an energy audit or heating consultation.

Uptake of energy audits

Our goal is for 550 churches to have had an energy audit by the end of 2025, with an interim milestone of 300 audits completed by the end of 2023. We hope that the churches will adopt the suggestions from their audit, and this will be reflected in a reduction in their carbon emissions.

2025 Goal

Achievement to date:



2023 Goal 

Achievement to date:





Key energy saving measures taken by over half of all parishes during 2022, were to reduce the number of hours they heat their churches and changes to energy efficient LED light bulbs.


Eco Diocese

The Diocese of Oxford is a bronze level Eco Diocese. This means we are active in the A Rocha Eco Church scheme at a diocesan level and encourage engagement from all our parishes. This is part of our plan to achieve a culture change across our diocese in response to the wider climate and ecological crises. We will measure this culture change through parish participation in the A Rocha Eco Church Award Scheme.

The Eco Church Award Scheme

Our target is for 40% of our churches to be registered and 10% awarded silver by 2026. This will also mean the diocese achieves the Eco Diocese Silver Award. As of October 2023, 25% of our churches are registered for Eco Church.

We hope that 10% of our churches will reach Silver Eco Church standard by 2026. As of October 2023, 2% have.


Page last updated: Wednesday 29th November 2023 12:01 PM
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