The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its ENERGY STAR program, has recognized five congregations for their environmental and financial stewardship achieved through more efficient energy and water use. The award winners are:
Together, the five congregations achieved annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions equivalent to those emitted by more than 564 typical homes, while saving more than $752,500 on their utility bills.
The savings are a result of cost-effective efficiency improvements and practices to reduce energy and water waste, without diminishing comfort or convenience within the worship facility. In addition to capturing significant dollar savings to redirect to their faith-based missions, the congregations also know they are becoming betters stewards of the earth and its resources, in keeping with the teachings of their faith traditions.
EPA's ENERGY STAR program estimates that if all America's 370,000-some worship facilities cut their energy use only ten percent, it would save about $315 million to redirect to congregational needs, while more than one million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be prevented.
ENERGY STAR provides free information: Putting Energy into Stewardship guide, online tools, webinars and technical support to help the faith community reduce energy costs in worship facilities at http://energystar.gov/congregations.
Jerry Lawson is the National Manager of ENERGY STAR for Congregations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.