Saving energy is about more than saving money. It demonstrates commitment to environmental protection and helps earn the respect of your members and community. Research shows that more and more individuals support their faith’s renewal and strengthening of their traditional message on stewardship of the earth, which virtually all faiths teach. And with environmental stewardship being such a high priority for younger members, congregations are finding this value to be a strong common bond between those concerned with tradition, those with an eye on the future, and all who are seeking balance within their faith.
Energy Star allows congregations to gain recognition from your community by winning a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Congregations Award. Past award recipients have received national media coverage as well as notoriety closer to home.
Winners Will Receive
· An ENERGY STAR award plaque to put on display at your facility
· Public recognition announcements for your hometown news media
· A packet of materials and recommendations to help you promote your award
· Featured recognition on the Energy Star Web site
The 2010 Energy Star Congregations Awards are open to any congregation, private school or non-profit having increased the energy efficiency of its facility through energy management improvements during the last two years. Preference will be shown to facilities that have used Energy Star tools and resources to achieve success. The free online Portfolio Manager tool can help track your energy savings and demonstrate your success for the application. Free webcast training for Portfolio Manager is also available. For more information on Portfolio Manager, see www.energystar.gov/benchmark.
Applications will be judged on the following criteria:
· Cost-savings and results of energy- efficiency improvements and energy management efforts within the facility(s)
· Use of energy-efficient technologies or strategies
· Use of Energy Star resources such as Energy Star Guidebooks, Portfolio Manager and/or technical support. These resources are provided free of charge via the Energy Star website www.energystar.gov/congregations
· The accuracy, reliability and specificity of the information presented will be considered in the evaluation of all applications. All information must be verifiable
For Those Who Assisted in an Energy-Efficiency Project: If you provided products, services, financing, or grants to a small business, congregation or non-profit, then you can earn an ENERGY STAR Collaboration Recognition. You can even complete the application on their behalf. Now engineers, architects, designers, suppliers, finance organizations, utilities, development centers, contractors and others can earn recognition for helping winners achieve their energy goals. Collaboration Certificates will be presented to firms listed on the application of winning entries.
Visit www.energystar.gov/congregations today for an application
Meet Past Energy Star Congregations Award Winners
Since the ENERGY STAR Congregations Awards program began in 1999, 41 congregations have won the award. Winners demonstrated not only energy savings at their facilities, but also worked with their members to increase opportunities for efficiency at their homes and in their community. Highlights from selected past winners are presented below. To read profiles on all the winners, go to www.energystar.gov/congregations.
1. Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, Swarthmore, PA. Starting with an energy audit, the congregation developed a phased strategy that began with education and simple steps, then moved to larger upgrades (replacing old boilers, implementing heating zones, etc), and continued with education such as a study series entitled “Green Christianity.” Savings amount to more than $30,400 annually.
2. Dennis Union Church, Dennis, Massachusetts. Dennis Union Church was able to add 5,000 square feet of new space, renovate and add central air conditioning to their facility and still lower their annual energy bills. Thoughtful planning, assistance and rebates from local energy organizations, and technical support and information from ENERGY STAR made it all possible.
3. Congregation Or Shalom Orange, Connecticut. The Congregation began its journey toward energy efficiency like most congregations-with a desire to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating expenses. It continued with the involvement of many of the 350 member families who energized the project-resulting in savings of over $1,400 annually, based on a reduction of 6,122 kWh of electricity consumption yearly; much of this coming from lighting upgrades.
4. Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas. With more than 26,000 members and nearly 1 million square feet of space, the Church had become concerned about their total utility bill that exceeded $2 million annually. Coupled with wanting to save money for the ministry, Church leaders believed they had a faith-mandated role in protecting the environment. They focused on three critical areas: mechanical configurations, energy accounting, and changing people’s energy consumption habits. The result of their efforts has been about $725,000 in annual savings.
5. Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI. Instead of replacing their outdated 376,000 square foot Motherhouse, the Sisters focused on creating a sustainable environment that would conserve energy now and into the future. Reuse and recycling was a big part of the work, including 800 restored and reused windows, 500 reused doors, and over 100 historic period light fixtures retrofitted for CFLs.
6. San Francisco Zen Center, San Francisco, CA. The Zen Center undertook a successful fund raising campaign to pay for the installation of solar electric (photovoltaic) panels on the roof. The solar panels help power the facility, and they make it possible for the Center to “sell” solar generated electricity back to the electric grid. In keeping with their philosophy of care for their environment, the Zen Center completed other upgrades to improve energy and water efficiency.