Sustainability Assessment: Offsetting Carbon Emissions from Energy Use at the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC)

  • Ioannis Vourdoubas Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, 73100, Chania, Crete, Greece, Tel: +30-28210-35020, Fax: +30-28210-35001
  • Antonios Kalogerakis Institute of Theology and Ecology, Department of the Orthodox Academy of Crete, 73006, Kolympari, Kissamos, Crete, Greece, University of Cumbria, Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies, LA22 9BB, Cumbria, United Kingdom, Tel: +30-28240-22245
  • Kostantinos Zorbas Orthodox Academy of Crete, 73006, Kolympari, Kissamos, Crete, Greece, Tel: +30-28240-22500
Keywords: carbon emissions, energy saving, energy use, Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), renewable energies, tree plantations


Mitigation of climate change and development of ecological practices is an important goal in religious organizations. Current work aims in the investigation of the possibility of offsetting the net carbon emissions due to energy use in the Orthodox Academy of Crete (OAC), Greece. Energy generated by fossil fuels and renewable energy sources is currently used in the premises of the Academy. The total annual energy consumption and the energy sources currently used in the religious organization are initially estimated. Various future scenarios are investigated regarding energy consumption in the Academy, energy sources used and their carbon emissions, as well as the possibility of carbon emissions sequestration with various tree plantations. The annual energy consumption in the Academy has been estimated at 264,257 KWh while its energy consumption per covered area is 31.31 KWh/m2. Among various energy sources used, electricity has the highest share at 95.76%, while 32.47% of the overall energy consumption is currently generated by a solar-PV system installed on-site. It is indicated that the combined use of energy-saving techniques and technologies, the higher use of various renewable energy sources and the sequestration of any remaining carbon emissions with tree plantations could eliminate all carbon emissions due to energy use in the Academy.  The most appropriate sustainable energy technologies are solar-thermal, solar-PV and high efficiency heat pumps which are currently mature, reliable and cost-effective. Additionally olive tree orchards, carob tree orchards and Eucalyptus tree plantations could be created for carbon emissions sequestration. It has been concluded that with the reduction of the current energy consumption by 20%, the installation of a solar-PV system at 50 KWp, and the creation of an olive tree orchard at 14 ha, the net annual carbon emissions due to energy use in the Academy could be eliminated. The results indicate the way that the Orthodox Academy of Crete could zero its impacts on climate change due to energy use in its premises.


. “Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice”, World Council of Churches, 2019. Internet: [August, 20, 2020]

. “Sharing God’s earth and its riches justly – A reflection document of the Thematic Reference Group Economic and Ecological Justice”, Conference of European Churches, 2018. Internet: [August 21, 2020]

. “Sustainable Development and the European Union. The need to Develop New Strategies and New Lifestyles”, Working Group of Economy, Ecology and Social Issues, Church and Society Commission, 2002.

. “L’ approche chrètienne: Initiative Ecologique du Patriarchat Oecumenique”, Fondation pour le progrès de l΄homme, Paris, 1997, pp. 51-53.

. “Religious Buildings Initiative, Energy efficiency guide for religious buildings, Manitoba Hydro”, 2018. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. Z. Nikolic, V.M. Shiljkut & D. Nikolic. “Diesel-solar electricity supply for remote monasteries”, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Vol. 5, 041815, 2013.

. P. Ngamprapasom. “Renewable energy technology in Buddhist monasteries, M.Sc. Thesis, Murdock University, Western Australia”, 2010. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. B. Freyer, V. Aversano-Dearborn, G. Winkler, S. Leipold, H. Haidl, K. Werner Brand, M. Rosenberger & T. Wallnig. “Is there a relation between ecological practices and spirituality? The case of Benedictine monasteries”, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Vol. 31, pp. 559-582, 2018.

. B. Sawicki. “Ecological responsibility of Benedictine monasteries: a study of three cases”, Polonia Sacra, Vol. 21, 3, pp. 27-47, 2017. DOI:

. “Survey of Commercial and Institutional Energy Use: Establishments, Summary Report, Natural Resources Canada” 2013. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. “Green Venue Report. The state of convention and exhibition center sustainability, Green-view”, 2017. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. M. Santamouris, C.A. Balaras, E. Dascalaki, A. Argiriou & A. Gaglia. “Energy conservation and retrofitting potential in Hellenic hotels”, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 24, pp. 65-75, 1996.

. M. Santamouris, C. Balaras, E. Dascalaki, A. Argiriou & A. Gaglia. “Energy consumption and the potential for energy conservation in school buildings in Hellas”, Energy, Vol. 19(6), pp. 653-660, 1994.

. J. Vourdoubas. “Creation of net zero carbon emissions residential buildings due to energy use in the Mediterranean region: Are they feasible ?”, Civil Engineering Research Journal, Vol. 10(1), 555777, 2020. DOI: 10.19080/CERJ.2020.10.555777

. J. Vourdoubas. “Creation of hotels with zero CO2 emissions due to energy use: A case study in Crete, Greece”, Journal of Energy and Power Sources, Vol. 2(8), pp. 301-307, 2015.

. M. Karagiorgas. “Solar thermal systems in EU and in Greece”, 2008. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. “Transition pathways and risk analysis for climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, Greece: solar market, buildings, micro-generation and storage”, 2016. Internet: [July, 27, 2020]

. S. Tselepis, “The PV market developments in Greece, Net-metering study cases”, 31st European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Hamburg, Germany, 14-18/9/2015, DOI:10.4229/EUPVSEC20152015-7DV.4.26

. K. Papakostas, G. Martinopoulos & A.M. Papadopoulos. “A comparison of various heating systems in Greece based on efficiency and fuel cost”, 17th Symposium on Thermal Science and Engineering in Serbia, Sokobanja, Serbia, October 20-23, 2015.

. “Geothermal heat pumps - Ground source heat pumps, Geothermal Energy Council”, 2009. Internet: [July, 28, 2020]

. “Analysis on energy use by European hotels: online survey and desk research”, 2011. Internet: [July, 29, 2020]

. “Guidance and solutions to raise energy efficiency in the European Hospitality Industry, HOTREC, Hospitality Europe”, 2018. Internet: [August, 7, 2020]

. P.J. Lopez-Bellido, L. Lopez-Bellido, P. Fernandez-Garcia, V. Muñoz-Romero & F.J. Lopez-Bellido. “Assessment of carbon sequestration and the carbon footprint in olive groves in Southern Spain”, Carbon Management, Vol. 7(3-4), pp. 161-170, 2016. DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2016.1213126

. H. Du, F. Zeng, W. Peng, K. Wang, H. Zhang, L. Liu & T. Song. “Carbon storage in a Eucalyptus plantation chronosequence in Southern China”, Forests, Vol.6, pp. 1763-1778, 2015. doi:10.3390/f6061763

. D. Geraldo, P.J. Correia & J.F. Luis Nanes. “Carob tree as CO2 sink in the carbon market”, Advances in Climate Changes, Global Warming, Biological Problems and Natural Hazards, pp. 119-122, 2010.