Trialling an Environment Officer post in Exeter Diocese


Exeter Diocese (the Church of England in Devon) had arranged energy audits of 34 churches and 4 church halls. However, few of these had implemented the recommendations for reducing their carbon footprints. It was surmised that the slow uptake of renewable and energy efficiency technologies is due to lack of targeted support, rather than availability of grants for the technologies. Hence the purpose of the project in 2009-10 was to trial an Environment Officer post, to support church organisations in implementing recommendations of energy audits. There are more than 500 parishes in the Diocese, so there is substantial potential for further work and carbon reductions.

Project activities

Primary activities, in order of priority:

  • Assess the audits that have already been done, by conducting interviews: what were the recommendations, what progress has been made, what appetite is there for implementation, what are the obstacles, what support is needed
  • Prioritise a selection of audits for progression and initial support in implementation
  • Build up databases of suppliers and grants
  • Build up advisory packs
    • suggestions for environmental policy, and guidelines for offices
    • how to get an audit done, and other energy/environment consultancy (questions to ask, suggested terms of reference)
    • lists of suppliers, how to get quotes
    • what grants are available, how to apply, and when and where to seek help
    • how to work with DAC, and related
    • project management, treatment of risk
  • Develop case studies of any environmental good practice and success stories: energy technologies, other measures to shrink the Diocesan carbon footprint, engaging with community, educating and encouraging congregation, etc; lessons learnt of what to do and what not to do
  • Develop website for publishing advice and sharing experience; use success stories to spread word and help advise others
  • Networking and co-operating with other organisations
    • e.g. Church of England central office, Exeter Cathedral, local councils, Exeter University
  • Possibly commission new audits, depending on available funding

Other activities supporting the Church of England’s Shrinking the Footprint programme:

  • Involved in co-ordination group
  • Run workshops to get churches thinking about what they could do
  • Links between churches and Transition initiatives
  • Talks
  • Press


  • Reduced carbon emissions and increased comfort in churches
  • Resources – advisory pack and database of suppliers and grants – available to all churches via website
  • Support networks and catalogue of best practice built up
  • Publicity for churches and Diocese
  • Model for other Dioceses and similar networks