Why should we switch our homes or churches to 100% renewable electricity?
Tearfund’s 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. 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.
Switching to 100% renewable electricity is one of the biggest things you and your church can do to reduce your carbon footprint. 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 together 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. You will also be actively investing in the future - helping to show government and businesses that there is a demand for clean, renewable energy that can help all God’s people to flourish.
When we act together, we speak powerfully to those around us and in positions of influence. As more individuals and churches join the Big Church Switch, together we will put greater pressure on governments and businesses to follow suit investing in renewables. Over time, this will help to lower carbon emissions and limit climate change, whilst also improving renewable technology and infrastructure so that all communities across the world can access energy that is safe, clean and reliable.
Churches of all shapes, sizes and denominations are joining in and we’re excited about the potential we have as the body of Christ to make a difference.
How does switching help people in poverty?
As Christians, we’re called to put our faith into action by loving our neighbours and caring for the earth, our common home. Pollution from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas hugely contribute to climate change, which is affecting the poorest communities that Tearfund serves. More frequent floods, droughts and extreme weather means that the poorest people are increasingly at risk of losing their crops, livelihoods and homes.
This is why Tearfund believes tackling climate change will help us tackle poverty, and by our own actions we can send powerful signals to governments and businesses to make greater strides. Changing our energy supplier to one which restores creation, rather than damages it, is one powerful way to invest in a brighter future for all God's people, and help our sisters and brothers around the world flourish.
Here's how it works:
- Everyone's energy comes from the National Grid - which is a mix of polluting energy from fossil fuels and clean energy. A green energy supplier will match the energy you use with clean energy it puts back onto the grid. In the process, we start to clean up the fuel mix on the grid and lower the UK's carbon intensity.
- Energy suppliers either generate renewable energy themselves or buy it from renewable sources. By buying this energy, you are encouraging more renewable generation, increasing investment in clean energy.
- The energy companies that Tearfund recommend as part of the Big Church Switch are all ones which will give you a 100% renewable electricity tariff, and who source the majority of their total energy supply (over 80%) from renewables.
The more people that switch to these type of companies, the higher the demand, meaning that over time more clean energy will be generated. This will help to lower carbon emissions and limit climate change, whilst also improving renewable technology so that all communities across the world can access clean and reliable energy.
How easy is it to switch my energy?
We’re doing our best to make it as easy as possible for you to switch to clean electricity. You are of course free to choose any renewable energy provider you want, but we are also running a number of group buying deals during the year for both homes and churches so that together, Tearfund supporters have the best possible chance of accessing a great 100% renewable electricity deal.
You can switch your home usually straight away once you are happy with your provider and tariff, and be on your new contract within a few weeks. For churches this takes a bit longer depending on how the decision making process works in your church and when your existing contract ends, but our partners 2buy2, a church buying group, will guide you through the process step by step.
To switch your home – visit www.tearfund.org/switch and click on the ‘switch your home’ button for more details. When we are not running a group offer for homes, you can register your interest so that we can email you when those become available. If you want to switch right away, we will also list the details of renewable energy companies that meet our criteria (ie they provide 100% clean electricity from UK renewable sources) so that you can see what tariffs they offer.
To switch your church – visit www.tearfund.org/switch and click on ‘switch your church’. and you’ll be directed to our Big Church Switch site, run in association with church energy experts 2buy2. Enter some basic details to register your interest, and 2buy2 will be in touch with more information and to give you a quote. There is no obligation to switch at any time and they will make it as easy as possible.There’s a 3 minute video you can watch too that will explain the different steps involved.
Is it expensive?
The number of renewable energy companies offering 100% clean electricity has grown, which has meant that renewable energy is now much more competitively priced. When we switch together, we can also access cheaper rates, which is why we are organising group offers at various points during the year. For example, when we ran our first group offer for homes in February 2016, on average Tearfund supporters saved £223.
The price of your tariff will vary due to a range of factors (such as your consumption levels and where you live in the UK) so we encourage each home and church to research tariff prices before switching.
Visit www.tearfund.org/switch to access the latest information and the most up to date options for making the switch.
For churches, the tariff depends on how many churches are interested, so please do register your interest. You are under no obligation to switch by registering. Once we know the numbers of churches registered, energy buying group 2buy2 will receive tariff rates from interest energy companies. 2buy2 will select the tariff and company that best meets our criteria on price, sustainability and customer service. At that point they will be able to advise churches on how competitive the tariff is for renewable electricity and churches can choose whether to proceed.
Is there something I can do if can’t switch at the moment?
If you’re not in a position to change your household supplier, or you’ve already done so (thank you!), please ask your church to make the switch.
If you live in Northern Ireland, the tariffs on offer sadly are not likely to lead to more investment in clean, renewable energy, so we're asking companies to change that. You can sign our Renewable Northern Ireland petition to say that this is the kind of electricity you want and that you don't want to be left behind.
Who is involved with the Big Church Switch?
Led by Tearfund and Christian Aid, the Big Church Switch is an initiative to create a movement of Christians switching their homes and church buildings to 100% renewable electricity. We are responding to the concern of the Christian community about climate change, which affects all of us and particularly the poorest. The campaign aims to build pressure on politicians and companies to go further in their own renewable energy policies as a way of helping to combat climate change, by showing the kind of steps the church community is willing to take.
Christian Aid and Tearfund are partnering with a range of other organisations and denominations on the Big Church Switch to get this message out far and wide.
We will also work with energy buying groups throughout the year to organise group buying deals for homes - we ran two offers with The Big Deal in February and March 2016, and we’re working with church buying group 2buy2 on an ongoing basis to help churches make the switch together.
Christian Aid and Tearfund do not benefit financially from homes or churches switching to clean electricity through the Big Church Switch initiative. However the buying groups that we work with (for example, the Big Deal or 2buy2) to organise offers do take commission for each switch.
We switched to a renewable / clean energy supplier years ago, are you saying I should now choose a different provider?
Not at all! If you’ve switched to a 100% renewable electricity provider already that’s great. We value the work of all renewable energy companies who are working to tackle climate change and building a fairer, more sustainable world through their business and investment. Our aim is not to promote one company over another but to stimulate demand for renewables which will benefit all of us. However if you are considering switching to a different provider you are also very welcome to register your interest at www.tearfund.org/switch in our group offers to find out when we are running our next group offer.