Switch to green - FAQs

What is green energy?

Electricity can be generated from green energy sources that have less of an impact on the environment than fossil fuels such as solar, wind, and waterflow (hydroelectricity). We call these green energy sources because, unlike fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, they will not run out.

The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has been one of the UK’s largest contributors to the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which leads to climate change. The emission of carbon dioxide is significantly reduced by generating electricity from green sources, rather than from fossil fuels; therefore, switching to green sources is crucial to efforts to limit climate change.

Energy suppliers that provide electricity from green sources guarantee that, over the period of a year, every unit of electricity their customers use is matched by a unit being put into the National Grid from wind and solar farms and other green generators.

Why should we use green energy?

Using green energy enables you to reduce the carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere because of the energy you use, which is known as your carbon footprint. This helps to reduce climate change.

By using green energy sources like solar energy, we also reduce our dependence on fossil fuel gas and oil reserves, which are becoming more expensive and difficult to find. It also reduces our dependence on imported fossil fuels, improving our energy security.

The UK is cleaning up its act, with 24% of our electricity generated from green sources in 2016. Switching means money we all spend on our electricity bills turns into investment in generating more clean power speeding up the change.

Where will my green energy come from?

Depending on which supplier you switch with this will vary. Each supplier has details of their fuel mix and generation sources on their own website.

Is green energy more expensive than standard energy?

The cost of generating electricity from green sources in the UK can be more expensive than generating energy through fossil fuels and nuclear sources; although wind power is now one of the cheapest forms of energy available, with new solar power also being cheaper than coal and nuclear. The difference in generation costs is getting smaller all the time.

Some green energy plans do cost a little more - the money is often used to fund green energy production or environmental projects.

We recognise that some churches are not currently getting the best energy prices available and so they may still save money against their existing tariff when switching.

Switching to an energy supplier that sources 100% green electricity may not be the cheapest electricity available, but it is better for the environment. We encourage churches to consider both the cost to their finances and the cost to the environment when choosing their energy supplier, as part of their wider stewardship of resources.

Why should my church switch to green energy?

By switching you can practically demonstrate your care for creation.

You will also help show demand for green energy and show our governments and business leaders one way we can shift finance into clean, green energy that can help all God’s people to flourish.

As more churches join the campaign, together we will put greater pressure on governments and businesses to follow suit by investing in green initiatives.

Reducing investment in fossil fuels will lower carbon emissions and help to limit climate change which is already affecting the poorest communities around the world. By increasing investment in green initiatives we can improve the technology and infrastructure so that all communities across the world can utilise energy that is safe, clean and reliable.

Why is the Church getting involved in this kind of campaign?

Our vision is a world where everyone can live life in all its fullness, and where nobody is hungry, thirsty or gets left behind. This sounds ambitious, but we believe it’s possible. As Christians we are called to live in a way that brings about God’s kingdom - giving life, hope, and restoration to our earth and its people. When we use our time and money to care for creation, we join in with God’s work of renewing the earth, and stand alongside the world’s poorest people who are most affected by climate change. One way we can do this is to take small positive steps in our homes, churches, and communities - and like mustard seeds, these actions will multiply for real impact.

“Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering.” Romans 12: 1-2 (The Message)

How much of a difference does this make to our church’s carbon footprint?

When UK churches switch to green, they show demand for gas and electricity generated from green sources and to show our government and business leaders that we are prepared to lead in shifting finance out of fossil fuels and into clean, green energy that can help all God’s people to flourish.

Your church’s carbon footprint will be dependent on your current supplier and energy usage; and the supplier you switch to. There are a great number of ways your church can reduce its carbon footprint; see A Rocha’s Eco Church or CAFOD's LiveSimply award or the Eco-Congregation programme in Scotland and Ireland.

We switched to a green energy supplier years ago, are you saying I should now choose a different provider?

Not at all! If you’ve switched to a 100% green electricity provider already that’s great. However, if you are considering switching to a different provider you are also very welcome to use our service and see if you can get a better deal. You aren’t making a commitment until you see the final deal, so you have nothing to lose.

I’m not in a position to switch - what else can I do to help?

A Rocha’s Eco Church or CAFOD's LiveSimply award or the Eco-Congregation programme in Scotland and Ireland, can help your church work towards reducing its carbon footprint.

How did Big Church Switch start?

Big Church Switch was originally formed by a partnership between 2buy2, Christian Aid, Tearfund and the Church of England.  Due to its success and the need to help churches maximise their energy and other resources Church Buying was launched by 2buy2. 

Big Church Switch is one of the services provided by Church Buying. As a national buying group for the church and faith sector, we have extensive experience of advising on good procurement backed by assurance on sourcing high quality suppliers and best value contracts in not only energy but a range of other church spend areas.

Energy switching made easy

Big Church Switch is back for 2020