Net Zero Grants – Church Demonstrator projects

Call for Expressions of Interest for NZ Demonstrator projects

The Church of England has announced funding for 100 churches for feasibility work and capital funding for net zero Demonstrator projects. This funding is separate from the recently announced Give 2 Go Green match funding pilot project.

The Demonstrators project aims to enable, inspire, and inform.  It will offer a group of selected churches and church halls of different building types, ages, usage, and geography a tailored package of technical support, fundraising support, planning/faculty support, and up to 25% of capital funding, to enable these ‘demonstrator’ churches around the country to achieve Net Zero Carbon. The funding is from the Church Commissioners Net Zero Carbon triennium funding.

Only 2-3 churches from the Diocese of Exeter will be able to take part, so please only contact us once you have fully read the information on this page and if you are sure that you meet at least one of the criteria below.

There is a two-stage application process:

  1. You’ll need to submit an Expression of Interest by the 10th January 2024.
  2. If invited to apply, you’ll need to submit the application by 30th April 2024.

Click here to download the Expression of Interest form.

Eligibility Criteria:

You must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  1. You are on our list of highest energy consuming churches.
  2. Your church has an oil-fired boiler.
  3. You have a report stating that your current heating system has less than 2 years of operating life remaining.

You can only be considered for this project if your project is:

  • Carbon-cutting: Do you have a viable, well-progressed and well-thought-through project which will allow your church/hall to either become net zero or to cut your emissions by a very significant amount?
  • Viable: Do you either already have planning and faculty permission (for stage 2 grants) or are you very likely to achieve the required permissions within the next year, with some help (for stage 1 grants)?
  • Fundable: Does your project either already have 50% of funding raised (for stage 2 grants) or there is reasonable confidence that your church will be able to fundraise for the project with support from the Demonstrator Project (for stage 1 grants)?
  • Inspiring: Does your project have transferable qualities which will inspire others? i.e. will the project, if implemented, help inspire and inform other similar churches in the diocese to take action?

Please only submit an EoI, if you are able to also meet these criteria by the end of April 2024:

  • be registered for Eco Church
  • have completed the EFT with 2023 energy data (EFT opens again in Jan 24)
  • have at least a basic net zero carbon action plan in place.  (A church energy audit or a self-guided audit following the Practical Path to Net Zero is acceptable)
  • either already be on a ‘green’ electricity tariff, recognised as net zero carbon for EFT purposes, or commit to changing at your next contract renewal
  • agree to take part in an evaluation of the project, and
  • [for stage 2 grants only] agree to being a case study church/hall, once works are completed.

Application Process:

  1. Interested churches submit an Expression of Interest to the Diocese of Exeter by the 10th January 2024.
  2. The DAC will provide informal advice on the proposed project by the 31st January 2024, giving the parish time to review and refine their projects in response.
  3. The Archdeacons, Net Zero Carbon Officer, and Church Buildings Officers will meet to assess EoIs, and shortlist 6 churches by the 31st March 2024.
  4. The Church Buildings Council’s Net Zero Carbon and Building Services Committee will review applications from across the country to ensure a variety of Demonstrator projects are covered, and will notify churches that they are invited to apply by 30th April 2024.
  5. Churches must submit their application by 30th June 2024.
  6. Decisions communicated by 31st August 2024.

You can submit an Expression of Interest for a Stage 1 or a Stage 2 grant:

Stage 1 support package Aimed at: Churches with projects which are fairly well-developed but not yet ‘shovel-ready’. The project must have DAC support. It must either have or be expected to achieve faculty. Projects may still need planning permission and/or still have some additional design work to do, plus fundraising.
Benefit: A package of technical support, fundraising support, and support with getting planning/faculty permission, valued at an average of around £25k per church.  The package would vary according to need, but could include:

· A grant to cover professional fees e.g. heating consultants, architects’, structural surveys, planning permission and/or faculty fees, plus project management if needed. Can include a NZC Action Plan, if needed. (Average grant £15k+VAT per site.)

· Nationally-procured fundraising support: around 6 days of hands-on fundraising support per church, plus free training, and access to a fundraising helpline. (Average value £5k+VAT per site, paid through a national contract rather than to the church itself.)

· Input where needed from the national technical helpline. (Average value £1k+VAT per site, paid through a national contract rather than to the church itself.)

Stage 2 capital grant Aimed at: Churches with ‘shovel-ready’ projects (ie have all the required design and permissions) AND have raised 50% of their funding (see explanatory note, Appendix 2).
Benefit: Up to 25% of their capital funding, to a max of £50k (including any unreclaimable VAT). Average grant expected to be £35k per church (including any unreclaimable VAT).

Click here to download the Expression of Interest Form

If you have any questions please contact our Net Zero Carbon Officer, Sophie Phillips on

Phone: 07889 542 631