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This is an old article from about 2005


scots footprint
Scots Church is a tiny dot in the north of Adelaide, but our footprint takes up all the city
blocks along North Terrace. Imagine how big Adelaide would be if every business was
surrounded by the land it needed for its footprint!

Recently, with funding from Uniting Foundation, we had Tiffany Schultz, from ecoconscious, help us do an ecological footprint analysis of our operations as a church.

Information packs describing the theory of the ecological footprint concept are available from the SA Government Sustainability and Climate Change Division (8204 2999), and a fantastic DVD or online video is available from the Victorian EPA here. We used a combination of the Vic EPA's office and schools calculators to do our calculation.

The importance of reducing our impact on the rest of creation has come to the forefront of thinking in many churches, whether they are concerned simply with the well being of other humans, or want to be more responsible members of the whole Earth community (quick illustrations.)

Our first step in the process of better living on the planet was to audit our church operations. Despite having a relatively small physical footprint, a fairly small congregation and few weekly activities, our footprint was enormous: some 36 global hectares, not including the manse. This equates to the entire length of North Terrace, stretching down to Rundle Mall (see photo above).

Most of this is due to electricity consumption, followed by the embodied energy and materials in the building and the need to maintain it, and lastly transport by members to and from meetings and worship.

Item/ Activity

Amount per year

Ecological Footprint

Greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equiv)

Price of Offsetting ($23/t CO2)

The Scots Church building and grounds

750 m2

10.9 hectares



Electricity consumption

60 000 kWh

19.1 hectares


$ 1380

Staff Travel

Lge car 13 800 km
Sm car 320 km
Plane 17 00 km
Bus 290 km
Bike 1300 km


1.49 hectares


 tonnes incl embodied energy


Travel to Committee Meetings

Car 3 846 km
Bus 1 722 km
Train 886 km


0.38 hectares




$ 83/ yr

Scots Sunday Congregation Travel

Car 14612 km
Bus 5408 km
Train 416 km

1.1 hectares


$ 131/yr

Total Travel


2.88 ha

16.3 tonnes

$ 375

We are now looking at reducing our footprint by sourcing our energy from Accredited Green Power, and reducing the actual energy use through retrofitting the property in key areas.

More details about exactly what we have done should appear here by September 2007, but feel free to contact me in the meantime (contact details at right).

The SA Synod's paper, New Times, mentioned the project in its beginning phase, along with other initiatives around the synod, and we hope to organise a follow up article once things are implemented.

Scots and other churches are also doing smaller audits of the ecological footprint of their Sunday worship services, which you can get the resources for here. A graphic of the footprint for our worship alone (winter figures) appears below. The circle at the top right is the ecofaith worshiping community, the rectangle is for the congregation which worships in the building. More details of Scots Sunday service results