Green energy suppliers
Over the past few years, ‘green’ tariffs have become increasingly popular with consumers. The Diocese encourages every parish to transfer to a green tariff for 100% renewable electricity (if this is possible in current circumstances).
The first steps to save energy and carbon emissions for churches and people include reviewing and managing your heating system and its settings, and changing the lightbulbs to low energy models, usually LEDs. Most of our churches have taken these steps already.
Buying genuinely renewable electricity is the next option to consider. So-called ‘green gas’, ie biomethane, is also available, but it is expensive and suffers from shortcomings which have so far limited supply and take-up.
Energy prices and supply crisis
You are advised to refer to Gas and energy supply and prices crisis before considering the information and advice on this page.
One of the simplest steps we can take in contributing to the effort against climate change is to switch to a ‘green energy’ supplier.
Every supplier has to meet a minimum government standard; the cost of doing this is built into the tariff.
But this only goes part of the way. Some suppliers go further, with specific ‘green tariff’ options.
In the past these green options have come at a higher cost. That’s not necessarily so now. It is beginning to be possible to combine the cost benefit with an environmentally sensitive option.
100% renewable energy
However it’s best to switch to a company exclusively offering a supply of 100% renewable energy that it has itself generated or directly paid for.
There is a limited choice of genuinely renewable electricity. Links to companies are at the foot of this page.
The alternative is to use the national Church’s Parish Buying scheme’s ‘Green Energy Basket’.
The national Energy Footprint Tool (EFT), part of Parish Annual Returns, deems these options (but only these options) as genuinely renewable, and therefore (near) net zero carbon for electricity. The criteria applied by EFT are at Green energy and EFT.
However strictly speaking, even this renewable electricity is not all renewable, as the energy used in ‘transmission and distribution’ (ie within the national grid), is also accounted for by the Church of England, including in the Energy Footprint Tool. This energy loss may not be fully compensated by renewable energy purchased by your supplier.
Nonetheless we still term it ‘100% renewable’ to distinguish from tariffs which only offer a percentage of renewable energy, while correctly accounting for the non-renewable element in calculations and the annual results of the Energy Footprint Tool, reported by the Church of England.
Very few companies offer genuinely ‘green gas’. This means biomethane, refined from biogas. See links below.
Other companies offset their gas through a variety of schemes. Purely from the point of view of your carbon footprint, it is better to buy genuinely green gas. This offers greater assurance for the customer.
However there are also other factors to consider, eg cost, and ethical sourcing. For example, some biomethane supplies may originate in factory farms and abattoirs. The time has yet to come when it is possible to discriminate on where your green gas comes from.
‘Green gas’, like renewable electricity, is also not actually 100% renewable. Its carbon emissions (CO2e) are about 1/4 to 1/3rd of natural gas.
How to switch
Nevertheless it may be worth switching to renewable electricity, if you can. Environmentally it is to be encouraged, and there may be a financial benefit too. Details are given below of companies listed by the Energy Footprint Tool.
Before taking a final decision on switching, you can call the Head of Environment and Sustainability to discuss the above advice and options for your church.
GEUK (was Green Energy UK)
SSE Solutions (SSE Business Energy); SSE Protect or SSE Choice (renewable electricity on a fixed plan contract).
Crown Gas & Power (100% option)
SSE Solutions (SSE Business Energy); SSE Green Gas Plus (100% green gas option).
Parish Annual Returns (for national Energy Footprinting Tool)
Energy Footprint Tool
Measuring your energy use.
Reviewing your heating system
Changing the lightbulbs
Environment and Sustainability, front page.
Head of Environment and Sustainability.