Building an Energy Audit
A great place to begin lowering the carbon footprint of your congregation is with a Building Energy Audit. These are no-cost facility assessments to find and prioritize ways to save energy and reduce costs with practical tips and ideas, such as:
- Updating or retrofitting equipment
- Controlling equipment for occupancy changes throughout the day
- Discovering money-saving solutions, discounts, and rebates
- Improving productivity and comfort
Interfaith Power and Light has partnered with EPA’s Energy Star to help people of faith achieve their goals to increase energy efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, and care for our common home with the updated EPA Energy Star for Congregations workbook. The workbook is a resource and planning guide for clergy, staff, and laypersons of houses of worship who want to increase the energy efficiency of their facilities by implementing realistic and cost-effective energy improvement projects.
Net Zero House of Worship Webinar
A great way to begin lowering your carbon footprint as a congregation is to invite a few of your church leaders to join in a Net Zero House of Worship webinar. Participants will learn what to do about:
- Electricity — How to recognize the major energy hogs — and what to do about them.
- Solar Power — Is solar an option for your congregation?
- Heat & Air Conditioning — Is it time for an upgrade?
- Building Envelope — How to make your congregation more comfortable & save money.
- Behavior — How simple actions can reduce your energy bill – and carbon footprint – by 10% or more.
Leading by example can be a powerful part of our moral responsibility to care for creation. By reducing the carbon footprints at our houses of worship we also lower energy bills and free up funds needed for other important purposes. For more info: info@massIPL.org.
Net Zero Environmental Stewardship Assessment
Net Zero Environmental Stewardship Assessments are also available to Massachusetts congregations through Mass IPL. Unlike a retail or commercial building, churches are quirky places – often older structures with patterns of use that vary from day to day or week to week. A Net Zero Stewardship Assessment provides the information needed to lower your carbon emissions (carbon footprint) and save money on your annual energy bill by identifying unique opportunities for energy reduction in houses of worship. It examines four areas: behavior, electricity use, HVAC systems and building envelope.
The Net Zero Stewardship Assessment report includes a set of specific recommendations, prioritized by the potential for carbon reductions and the time/cost of implementing them. Plus, MassIPL experts are available to discuss projects and guide you through them. If you schedule the assessment before the building audit with your utility, Mass IPL may be able to highlight specific areas for your utility to evaluate. The benefit might be more incentives from opportunities that utility assessors sometimes miss in houses of worship. The report also documents important information about the building for future planning. For more information, email: info@massIPL.org.
A Green Team (or Environmental Stewardship Team, or Creation Care Committee) is a core group of people in a congregation who are committed to raising awareness about the urgent need to protect God’s Creation and to work for environmental sustainability and responsibility.
Green Teams develop sustainability in church life by increasing energy efficiency and conservation, decreasing consumption and waste, and, if possible, encouraging the use of clean, safe, renewable energy. Your group may also choose to engage in issues of public policy and to advocate for ecological and climate justice.
A stewardship program that helps congregations reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities and engages their members in reducing their carbon footprint at home. The program educates, inspires, and saves money too!
Energy Star for Congregations
An average worship facility can save up to 30 percent on energy through no-cost actions, strategic investment, and smart operations and maintenance.
In addition to setting aside savings from your energy reductions, here are two other funds that assist with energy and envelope updates:
The Cornerstone Fund was created to help churches and non-profit organizations address a range of building-related needs, including energy-efficient and environmental improvements. Whether you’re planning new landscaping, installing new lighting or appliances, or replacing the entire climate control system, the Fund offers a variety of financing options for energy improvements to your building.
Unety Program for Houses of Worship: Another source of funding for environmental improvements
Houses of worship serve as places of sanctuary for us to meet with God and unburden ourselves from our daily troubles. Around the world when tragedies strike — in times of war, political conflict, and natural disaster — they serve as places of refuge. Learn how your congregation continue to be a refuge by helping to plan for the impacts of climate change.
Download Moving Forward: A Guide to Climate Action for Your Congregation and Community for adaptions resources. See pages 14-17.
Watch on YouTube a video presentation by David Pogue on his book, How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos. Watch here.
Pesticides and Native Plants